Building a Fantasy Universe

Building a fantasy universe is one of my favorite aspects of writing a novel, and today I realized I need to go on a date with that love again. It’s hard work, time-consuming, but when the pieces start coming together you can almost feel like that universe might exist somewhere beyond our own. Let’s hope so, because the next few lives I might want to jump into my characters’ skin. I digress…

If you look at the rotating banners above, each of the three represents a different universe in my arsenal. Though, to be fair, Outsider has the potential to slip into the Timekeeper universe. For several years I’ve lived and breathed in both the Hàlön and Timekeeper worlds. I love them both and never want to leave, but do I stay there if the tales in each aren’t garnering any interest?

The answer is yes. Especially the Timekeeper universe because none of the tales there are connected, except by a very thin thread–the Well of Arånor.

For Hàlön, the answer is a bit more complicated. All the tales and parallels intersect at some point, some rooted more in fantasy and others hard sci-fi. Blending the two together has been such an eye-opening experience, but I’m digressing here.

Outsider has no true universe yet. I know the gist of the story in my head, and wrote it (manic laughter) a few years ago. After much learning, I looked back and withered a little inside. 7K words jumping from idea to idea does not a story make.  While I’m in the holding pen with the rest of the PitchWars hopefuls, I decided to break this tale out and get it properly written. It is so weird to be back in the drafting phase, to the point where I’m a bit stumped on how I want to open the tale.

So I’ve decided to try something new and exciting: the snowflake method. I love the idea of it, but I’m hands-down a pantser. Then, once I have something tangible to work with, I start with the beat sheets, plotting, and slicing & dicing scenes to move them around in a perforated timeline. But, as I stated before, Outsider has no universe, and that’s what’s got me tripping over tree roots. Hence why I’ve decided to use the above method and start building.

I need to know what universe this story lives in, or if it’s going to be a new place to cultivate and grow. As far as the story goes, the entire thing will take place in one tiny hidden corner of the world.

Wish me luck. I’m off to build a universe. Can’t wait to see what surprises this one brings. 🙂

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