Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.
World building is something I enjoy doing. I’ve been a cartographer of imaginary worlds since kindergarten, which is also when I discovered Dungeons & Dragons. Role playing is an important part of my creative process, putting myself in a character’s shoes and dancing around, so I shouldn’t be surprised by the correlation. I have file folders full of maps, sometimes geographic, political, and story trail maps for a world with a barely imagined plot.
While NaNoWriMo was underway this past month, I read lots of advise about writing. I was struck by one idea that worlds are one of the most important characters in a novel. I apologize that I cannot recall where I read it so I can properly attribute it. The idea is that everything in a story is colored by the world setting. The world should also be featured in each scene in some way in order to provide a rich backdrop for the action at hand. Working through my rough draft this week, I found that incorporating the world into each scene is making the actions of my characters seem more natural and less forced.
This idea that the world is a character also led me to develop the environment of the Dreamless City further. Rivenloss is a world city, spanning what is left of the civilized world for hundreds of miles. Beyond its towering walls is a wasteland rife with behemoths and leviathans where only the brave or foolhardy dare to tread. Inside the city walls are generations of cultures intertwined into my best approximation of an old European city, where hundred of years of history color every church, bridge, and statue. I also included steampunk elements in the world, so there are fun steamworks and cogworks techs popping up in scenes, as well as some revolutionary fervor necessary for punk to be punk.
I don’t want to say too much while the story is so nascent. If I do find a good map, I promise to share it with you.