Monday, January 30, 2012

The Basics

All novels start with a premise, a "What if?" In this case, my premise is "A young man becomes a ruler of a country in peril from within and without and must use his skills to not only hang onto his own life, but his country."

Here’s what I do know: This novel is the first of several under the umbrella of what I am currently calling the Death Throne Saga (Like everything else in this project, that is subject to change) and is tentatively called The Thief King. I don’t know how many books, or what occurs in them at this point in time.
Now, what genre of novel?
I’ve decided its going to be a fantasy novel. Not high fantasy, per say, more like mid-level fantasy.
Now, a few thoughts:

  • Magic: While there is magic, but it isn’t going to be the central theme of the novel. But I will have to figure out how magic does work in this world, so even if there aren’t a lot of magic spells being thrown around, when they are, they are consistent every time. Maybe there’s one form of magic. We’ll see.
  • Fantasy creatures and races: There will be fantasy creatures, like trolls and other things like that, but at this time, there won’t be dwarves, elves, orcs, or other Tolkin-inspired races in this novel. For one thing, they are common, fallback races that need little development but frankly are overused by fantasy authors. As of right now, I see three human-based countries central to this novel’s conflicts. That doesn’t mean this world doesn’t have any fantasy races, but I want the basics of this world built and solid before I start adding new races to it.
  • Technology: The Middle Ages-based fantasy era have been done so many times, I decided to raise the technology level to 17th -18th Century levels. It means researching the that time period and seeing what was the norm for that era and tweaking it a bit. For example, I have an idea for a flintlock that can shoot more than once before it needs to be reloaded. That means taking a look at how a flintlock is made to see if my idea could work.
I can’t limit myself to one period in time or area when it comes to technology. If I find a good idea from 16th century Asia, I will use it somehow.

But there are many questions I need to find the answers for, as part of the creative process:

  • What sort of world is it, climate-wise and location-wise?
  • What religions are they and how much impact do they have on the characters?
  • What form of government are there, and how strong are the rulers?
  • What are these countries histories, and what effect do they have on the people, places and events from the book?
  • What military does each country have and how large and useful is it?
  • What sort of culture do these countries have, and how much of an effect does it have on some of the questions above?

As you can see, it isn’t going to be easy to come up with this, but it’s hopefully going to pay off in the end.

More later!


1 comment:

  1. The main thing to keep in mind about a system of magic is that it should COST the practitioner something: schooling time, part of one's soul, sanity, ostracism, etc. For example, the book I'm writing now has a race of people with special "gifts," and they have been ostracized and hunted down near to extinction.

    Another bit of advice: Don't shoot for a series right out of the gate, especially if it's your first whole novel. It's fine to write a book with "series potential," but I wouldn't suggest writing a whole series until you've got your long-form storytelling chops down. And if you're going to write a series, make absolutely certain you plot the whole thing out first, or at the very least have a good sense of where you're headed. You're likely better off focusing on writing a good novel FIRST, with a satisfying enough end (but leave the end open for a sequel). Then, if the first book is well-received (or if you can broker a three-book deal based on the first ms and outlines of the next two books), you already have the forward motion for the next book.