Where To Begin

Posted: May 20, 2009 in writing update
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Once more I am having quite an old debate with myself – where to begin. It is an old, old debate. There are many stories I want to tell in my writing about my worlds, but I want to choose a good one to begin with, to garner interest in the world and to share some of the concepts behind the world, as well as introduce secrets that will gradually be revealed.

As I may have mentioned before, I am a big history buff. A lot of that is evident in my world and my writings. I want to show the passage of time, as characters and events become myths and legends over the course of history. Yet at the same time I don’t want to spoil some of the surprises in store.

Which all brings it back to – where to begin.

There are four main periods of time, so far, that I have focused on for ideas, scattered over a broad period of time. I want to explore them all, in short stories and longer stories and whatever else I can.

Logically you would start at the beginning, but in this case it really won’t work. The beginning here is the pre-human world, which I refer to as the Age of Myths. It is heavily influenced by such works as the Silmarillion, various creation myths and even the Old Testament. The Silmarillion is perhaps my favourite fantasy book of all time and I would really like to write a book in that style for this period. Problem is that you would never do that as a first book – it would never sell. It would be a book written for myself and, in the unlikely event of major success, the die hard fans. Cahuac and the Sun is an example of the style of work I am aiming for, though chronologically the story dates from after the period in question.

Following on from that we move on to what I call the Age of Heroes. It deals with bronze age human cultures, specifically early Maedari and Chelosians, and the wars between them. This draws on and is influenced by the ancient Greek works, such as the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, Herodotus and Thucydides and by the ancient Celtic tales, such as in the Mabinogion. It is a period of chariot riding champions, as exemplified by Awn in The Bronze Man. It is certainly a less commonly explored area for fantasy, which is both a strike for and against it. Also, while I do have a few short story ideas for the period, there are as yet no ideas for a novel.

The next period, and really the one I started out with, has no name. It is a much more conventional fantasy period, straddling the late medieval/early renaissance, with the burgeoning of science and exploration, the invention of printing presses, experimentation with gunpowder. it does not, nor will it have, Knights and heavy plate armour. It doesn’t fit the climate nor cultures. This would logically be the place to start, but there is a problem. There is a story I want to tell first. It has been in my head for many many years. If I tell some of the other stories planned for that period, it will spoil some of the plot. The problem is that I really want to do this one properly, but your first book is normally not your best one. Hence the dilemma.

The fourth time period also has no name, but it a bit further on, with the advent of Napoleonic era technology into a fantasy world. Very much so different than your standard fantasy. I am very much looking forward to writing in this time frame, but the worry is that once more it may be too different from conventional fantasy for a first book. Plus there is a chance it may give away some of what is going on in the aforementioned book.

So, there you have it. My dilemma. I am going to have to have a long think and read through of notes to figure this one out.

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