The paperback version will be available through Amazon in another day or two, with digital versions coming shortly after that! Merry Christmas!
This novel, third in the Into the Wonder series, will also give readers their first bird’s-eye view of the faery geography in which most of the action takes place, thanks to my awesome design guy, Dave Jones:
You never know what you’ll find tucked into an old book.
In the 1960s, the British illustrator Pauline Baynes was working on a color map of Middle-earth, the land of wizards, elves and, of course, hobbits. While she was drafting the map, she worked closely with J.R.R. Tolkien, who sent her a copy of a map from a previous edition of Lord of the Rings, covered in notes revealing details of Middle-earth.
Baynes tucked that map into her copy of Tolkien’s trilogy, where it stayed for decades, until, just recently, it was found at Blackwell’s Rare Books, reports the Guardian.
Kassan Warrad’s latest post at Mythic Scribes seeks to ground fantasy races (orcs, elves, etc.) in real-world evolutionary framework. This is ground I covered in fleshing out the various groups depicted in Into the Wonder—and for the same reasons Kassan suggests. Namely, to achieve a greater level of lifelikeness:
A systematic approach to defining your races will help shape the underpinnings of your world. How are the races related to one another? Do they share a common ancestor? Can they interbreed and produce viable, fertile offspring?
These questions help define your races’ distinct sociopolitical boundaries. The world will feel more authentic, and many readers will appreciate the invested thought.
At the bottom of all of this is the issue of relatability. Do members of these groups have the same sorts of goals, aspirations, and emotions as the readers (who are all, at least in theory, human)?
The question of who counts as human is a theme underlying my third novel, Oak, Ash, and Thorn, which will be coming in February 2016.
Lisa Walker England has put her finger on something that I have been groping toward for a couple of years now. There are just too many details of a well fleshed-out world to ever fit comfortably in any number of novels. In her recent post at Mythic Scribes, Lisa challenges us to think in terms of other sorts of texts that might be useful in conveying that information. Namely, she suggests
- Fable Collection
- Comic Book
- Fight or Magic Manual
I’ve worked out some of the basics of a bestiary for my Into the Wonder series as well as a fairly extensive essay on magic. Those who’ve read Children of Pride know that I’ve also written a handful of indigenous fables. (The idea of the kinds of stories faeries might tell their young children captured my attention at some point in the writing process.)
I was surprised History wasn’t one of Lisa’s suggestions, but perhaps that is such a common companion piece that it didn’t really bear mentioning. She also mentioned in passing the idea of a Law Code. In fact, the laws of the fae are an important plot point in my work-in-progress sequel, The Devil’s Due.
Good stuff all around. It’s a blog post well worth reading!
As Alice Leiper explains, the best way to build diversity into your fantasy setting is, well, to world-build it.
By considering diversity from the outset, you can create a world in which diversity is natural and normal without it feeling “unrealistic”, by developing geographies and cultures organically rather than defaulting to pseudo-medieval European.