An Inside Look at Revision: Creating a World, Part 1

Aubrey: Remnants of Transformation is available on Amazon and Smashwords. With every chapter, I posted notes about the process of revision.

Aubrey's World:

World-fantasy has never been my strong suit. Actually, setting in general has always been a weakness in my writing. All the way back to my first submission (age 18), editors would return manuscripts with the statement, "Interesting characters! Good dialog! Except it isn't clear where the story is taking place."

The problem is simple: setting for its own sake doesn't interest me. It is simply an excuse for characters and dialog. Even when the setting exists fully fleshed out in my own head, writing about it slows me down . . . do I really need to tell everyone else what the place looks like?

Not exactly a Tolkien attitude!

Of course, one can write fantasy and NOT create a completely separate world with its own language, such as an alternate version of  Portland, Maine or northern England. And I used this approach for my short stories "Birthright," "Devil's Minion," and "Grave Bride".

However, despite my love for historical research, using a contemporary or historical setting poses the same problem as creating an entire world: I end up spending way more time on setting than interests me. (To be fair, I don't much like reading about setting either--with a few exceptions.)

I came up with a compromise: nearly every fantasy story I've ever written takes place in a single world (unnamed). My theory is that if I keep doing this, by the time I'm 80, I'll have a reasonably well-fleshed out world!

I created Sveholt/Svetland for a novella (unpublished) based on the Emperor's New Clothes: this novella produced Martin Keayne and his five sons who show up in several stories and in the Roesia Chronicles as does Svetland. Svetland is the most modern and most democratic of the countries.

Wallaiston and its neighbors provide settings for two published stories: "Masquerade" and "Tested" which will soon appear the Fourth Roesia novella. Its most important neighbor is Hanswe. Wallaiston and its neighbors are part of the Confederation of Questing Kingdoms. Suvaginney, Roesia, and Svetland are not members.

Refuge is the setting for unpublished stories "King of Refuge" and "Flight." It is a tiny independent city-state (once a monastery) run by Martin's son Clementus (and his three wives).

I refer to Suvaginney in numerous stories. It is the most despotic of the countries and practices some forms of ritual killing. It is referenced in "Flight" and is the nominal setting for "Brutal Rituals," published by Space & Time. In the Second Roesia novella (Simon's story), Simon buys supplies from Suvaginney, an error in judgment that causes problems for the protagonist, Hannah.

Ennance comes up in several stories, including "Brutal Rituals".  Simon visits Ennance in his novella. It is a kind of wealthy vacation-land: French Riviera meets Brighton Beach meets Monaco.

Published stories "Golden Hands" and "Lodging" and a soon-to-be published story "The Monster and the Slave" all take place in Lucorey. This kingdom is a kind of medieval thug-state.It plays a major role in the upcoming Fourth Roesia novella.

Roesia, home to Kingston, is Aubrey's country. I'll discuss Roesia more in Creating a World, Part 2.

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