Friday, April 5, 2013

History, Mythology, and Maps

I know I haven't updated this in forever, but that's mostly been because I've been involved in other writing--and heavily involved at that. As I near the finish of the first part of The Proanadi, I realized that I needed to really nail down the history and mythology of the races and kingdoms involved. There were plenty of sections when I hinted at both events in the past and various gods, but most of that, I admit, was made up on the spot, and all of it wasn't very well thought out.

So for the past few weeks I've been really digging into the past and the religion of the kingdoms that take a major role in The Proanadi, and what I've found is pretty cool. For one, I made a comprehensive timeline spanning from the beginning of civilization as the world knew it to the present day--well, more like ten comprehensive timelines, each from a different kingdom's viewpoint. I'll put them together soon, with all of the events of the nations in one place.

Second, I made the various pantheons of deities that each race pays homage to. The way gods work in the world of The Proanadi is similar to the way Tolkien's world of Middle Earth and the Undying Lands works. A higher power created the gods and set them in the world as stewards, each watching over a particular aspect or function in the world. In the misty past of Serragon, the world on which The Proanadi takes place, groups of stewards who were like-minded gathered together and made races that also shared their mindset. These races split into groups themselves, and the stewards split with them, until a few dozen separate groups of cultures, with their own gods, had developed.

Now that I had this foundation in mind, the things I wrote in my novel had meaning. The things the characters were talking about had depth, and the gods that they spoke of had history and a foundation in the culture of the kingdom. It was pretty cool.

Not only that, but I've also updated my world map--extensively. Originally, the two areas where the book takes place in (Torius/Azatharia for Nimlar, Daelis, and Striker; and Umhati for Poddle, Daegoth, and Tahlavel) were miles and miles apart. I had a big problem trying to figure out a way to get them going towards the same place.

But a month or two ago, I had an idea. I started a hotseat game of Civilization V, in which every civilization represented one from my story. The map that was generated--with a little tweaking--was absolutely perfect. It landed the Crossroad Kingdoms just north of Umhati--solving one problem--and gave me great locations to set the various nations in.

Since then the world has really come alive with history, mythology, sociology, and geography. And I love it. This is one of my great passions--creating a race's culture and constructed their past. I find it immensely satisfying to build the backstory for a story's world, almost as much as I like writing the story itself.

Well, that's my update. Sorry that there's nothing mind-bogglingly monumental in this post--I'll try to think of something a little bit more stupendous for next time.

Thanks, and good reading!

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