Brick by Brick



When I think of great fantasy worlds I consider a few at the top when it comes to the sword and sorcery dance. The Riftwar Cycle by Feist, Brooks’ Shannara series, Weis & Hickman’s Dragonlance books, and Tolkien’s tales of Hobbits. Now there are thousands of fantasy book series – probably more like tens of thousands – and that’s great. Each one is different in its own right, but world building for a fantasy series is serious business. Each brick you lay as a creator carries with it a ripple effect over the entire planet (or series of planets). Does Magic exist? To what degree? Are there gods and goddess distilling their power for those who choose to believe? What political powers exist? The questionnaire form could be hundreds of pages just to have the coveted series bible you’d need to keep from getting lost!

The newest endeavor in my mind is going to thrust not from sword point, but from the right arm of a blacksmith, forging her own destiny. First though I must lay the bricks of the new world and decide what exists and what doesn’t. Step two is the brazen attempt to figure out what perspective to tell the story from. In most of my previous books I’ve begun by writing small pieces. Call them blurbs, short stories, or whatever I can vomit out through my fingers at the time – there must be a breath of life into a main character. Finding their voice is critical, but I have to decide whether or not they are interesting enough or if they’ll find their way to the foreboding character graveyard where good ideas go to marinate in the black hole that is my external hard drive. Not all characters are worth writing. Not all ideas are good – in fact many are shit – but it takes time spent with them before I notice.

This is not to distract from the oncoming work with the latest finished piece. There will be time to review feedback, make changes, prepare it for queries, and find out if anyone else thinks it’s worth half a damn. The work goes ever, ever on. Having a piece done and not hurtling towards publication is a strange sensation. It was more of an exhale than I have ever done before, and so I find myself picking at the edges of my mind on what to do next. I have spent the better part of this year toiling in the mud of my own process, hoping that I am making the mortar I need to make the next brick stick. Only time will tell if I can be successful, but as my greatest enemy, I must never relent to the war it wages on me.

I believe I have the inspiration I need to make the next leap, but will I soar or fall?

Addendum: I bet you were waiting for a podcast! Well truth be told I am working on the setup for it, but I’ve found it’s far more technical than I expected. This isn’t something I cannot overcome, but the debut episode is still a little ways off. I have most of what I need, but I am at a loss of what to speak on. There are so many topics and perspectives to take on the world of writing or my current state of existence. Most importantly I want it to sound good and be useful to those who might hear it. I’ve compiled a list of topics I’ll pick from. Until then keep watching this space.