World Building: Foundations
Behind every great story is the foundation it lays upon. Those little glimpses into the past, the hints at reason peppered on a page, the intrigue that hooks us and draws us into the story. This week's #AuthorNook Writing Q invited authors to share those foundations of their worlds and how they crafted them. There were so many incredible responses! It was a pleasure reading through the histories, lore, and mysteries of everyone's worlds.
This week's blog goes a little further into exploring these foundations. Four #WritingCommunity authors go a little deeper into their worlds' history and lore. They are truly intriguing, filled with rich details, flawed characters, and socio-political intrigue. I am amazed at the level of depth and detail these authors have gone to with their stories.
I hope you enjoy! Join the conversation in the comments if you wish. Feel free to ask the authors any questions you may have, or discuss the foundation of your story.
In The Drift, the human race has evolved, and there are now three sub-species: Homo Sapiens, Homo Illuminatos, and Homo Corporis. In the beginning, the Corporis used their extreme beauty and athleticism to amass incredible wealth and power, changing the world to their liking. Beauty was prized over intelligence. Sports overrode schooling. As time went on, they became increasingly violent, crass, and cruel, tormenting the other species—especially Illuminatos, who were viewed as know-it-all geeks. Except, eventually, Illuminatos’ mental abilities grew, and powerful telekinetics and telepaths began to fight back against their oppressors. This triggered the worst war the world had ever known: The Evolutionary War.
Seventeen years before the beginning of The Drift, the Evolutionary War began. While it lasted only three years, the consequences were devastating. A global population of eleven billion dwindled to under two billion. Parts of Earth were forever scarred, nature itself broken in such a way the environment became fatally unpredictable. No one could inhabit these Abandoned Lands and survive. In the end, the seven most powerful Illuminatos, the Council, won the war through a single assault so devastating the Corporis feared genocide and surrendered. Each member of the Council took a section of the planet to control. Unfortunately, drunk on power and harboring long-held bitterness and hatred, their rule became one of oppression and violence. Their first order was to murder the Corporis generals and claim the most powerful Corporis, the Elite, as their possessions by branding them with a unique mark. These once proud warriors became slaves required to serve their master or be tortured and killed.
After the war, every city became segregated by species, with education completely denied to Corporis and Unevolved. Access to other necessities, such as healing centers, was also limited. Without opportunity for education, Corporis were forced into the most backbreaking and dangerous jobs, working to death for little to no pay. Often, they resorted to prostitution and illegal street fights to make enough to survive. Meanwhile, the Unevolved became the forgotten, frequently homeless and seen as little better than rats. An Illuminatos could steal from, rape, or murder a member of a different species without punishment, but the smallest infraction by a Corporis or Unevolved would result in death.
Thanks to the Evolutionary War, the entire world had become a dystopia.
Casie is a science fiction, fantasy, and romance author, who published her debut novel, The Drift, in March of 2021. When she’s not writing, she’s baking or kickboxing. She currently lives in North Dakota with her husband and daughter.
Find Casie on Twitter @CasieAufenthie or Instagram @authorcasieaufenthie
The world was built by the Paragons. It was almost destroyed by them too.
Though humanity once walked in stride alongside the Paragons of elemental creation, it was not long before they too desired power akin to the seven Gods. Near the end of the Golden Age, a decade long fight named the Mortality Wars raged across the world in the face of a great migration. Humans fought for the right of control—they no longer abided the Gods that had lifted them up. The Paragons in turn, fought for their right to live. Such turmoil and destruction finally ended when the daughter of the Sun sacrificed herself.
Eras, the Paragon of Light, having been the first God to be born into Jada, allowed the humans to finally destroy her mortal body. In selfless appeasement, and in desperate compromise. What was a means to stop all wars sadly only created another.
Exios, the Paragon of Night, grew enraged by humanity’s mistake. Driven by his inner grief and utter despair, without the Light of his partner, he found himself lost in the Dark.
For a time, the world seemed lost as well. Exios was the strongest Paragon alive and in grief, only grew stronger still. His act of wrath and that of revenge began to quite quickly destroy what remained of civilization.
It was only when Peros, the youngest of the Paragons and the embodiment of Faith, devised a plan did the torment stop. With the combined efforts of the remaining five: Fumus of Flame, Oces of Wave, Saaos of Wind, Zetis of Land, and Peros of Spirit, Exios was finally put to an end. In consequence, they too left the mortal realm.
Thus, humankind was left to themselves.
For a time, dwindling communities found themselves once more; they began to rebuild—they began to try again. Without the connection to the elements, however, they struggled once more. That was until a gift was given to them.
Almost a few hundred years after the departure of the Gods, seven children were born with golden eyes. Though their original eye colour would return, at the coming of age of ten years old, these children would find themselves chosen. Each given a small portion of power, these heirs to the Paragons held a connection the Gods had originally lacked; humanity. These demigods took over the Paragons place in the world; with their great influence and infamous nature that came with their assigned powers, it is inevitable that each chosen heir becomes responsible for the course of humanity within each cycle. For better or for worse, they are leaders.
Six cycles of the Descendants have come and gone across the world of Jada, by the time my story begins. The wars fought thousands of years ago still linger within the soil—against each oral tradition shared amongst all communities.
The history of Jada and that of the Paragons of Old greatly impacts the characters of my story, and that of their cultures.
An Empire, once a small colony driving the insurrection against the Gods, still stands today in the name of Fetrin. Greatly inspired by humanity’s triumph, its old culture clings onto the idealisms of humanity’s duty and independent nature. In real life, it is loosely inspired by a combination of American landscapes, American colonization, and my own indigenous background.
Across the Battletry Sea, of which had been accidentally created through many battles against the Paragons, lives the Kingdom of Jades. Having been the last country to house Eras and Exios in its midst, the relatively new kingdom still holds great resources to its name. Unlike the Empire of Fetrin, Jades remembers the Paragons in dutiful piety and dietic memorabilia. In real life, this country is roughly reflective of my own country of Canada, with the capital, God’s State, being an imitation of my hometown, Squamish.
As for the characters, they are affected as well; through timely coincidence and lucky encounters, the Descendants of the seventh cycle are together once more. My protagonist, Theodore, (also known as the Lost Prince of Jades) has only just begun to learn of his secretive past; he is the heir to Light. And as the 3rd Act of War against his kingdom pushes him out into the real world for the first time, after 22 years locked up due to his father’s paranoia, he’s chanced with a task only fit for a prince. He will save his kingdom—his king father. He will live up to his title and that of his assigned origins of being the Paragon of Light. Theodore will stop this war.
And thankfully, he is not alone, despite their group being less than desirable choices to lead: Emare, heir to Flame is far too prideful of his powers for a young, inexperienced soldier.
Hemae, heir to Wind is just as chaotic and free-spirited as their namesake.
Cyrus, heir to Land is just as naïve as Theodore when it comes to his powers; for his family, however, he will try.
Icre, heir to Wave is afraid of the same oceans that belong to her—for an Indigenous heir, she only fears her powers all the more.
Aamiria, heir to Spirit is the perfect choice by first glance; within, she still holds a doubt unlike any other.
Makime is not a God’s Chosen herself—simply a human, and Theodore’s knight. But her inner drive and relentless strength only adds to this new, dynamic group.
And last, but certainly not least, is Alexius. The heir to the Night. Theodore’s protector.
Unlike his counterparts of chosen nature, Alexius has no control over the Dark. Exios’ despair returns with each cycle—each Descendant carries on the trauma that was Eras’ death. Alexius remains an incomplete, broken heir to the Night. He lives tethering on a threat that one day, Exios’ rage will consume him as well.
Theodore himself seems incomplete too, despite being the heir to the Sun. As the 3rd Act continues across the country of Jades, the Paragons of New stand together in naïve, yet determined resolution. They were all chosen for a reason—they are all history reborn anew. What future comes to the world next lies entirely within their hands.
Jayce jokingly describes himself as the “native protagonist no one asked for.” Living in his traditional lands of the Coast Salish in Canada, he spends his time attending University, chasing after dogs part time, and working on his manuscript for his WIP, ‘Losing Ground’.
You can find Jayce procrastinating on writing at @nativeprotag on twitter.
Erift’s Journeys is something I’ve been working on since I was a child. One of the biggest themes that play into the series is how Magic is hidden within our current-day, real world. In that regard, the history of the world is largely the same as we know it today. However, what we know might not be true.
When the original wielders decided to seal Magic away, they knew it had to remain hidden. Many of Earth’s original habitants departed for another world and those that remained sought to recreate the past. Records were forged and faked as history was rewritten to hide any evidence that Magic ever existed in the first place. I bet you didn’t know Magic was used to build the pyramids or to create the heads on Easter Island. The final step was to erase the memory of all who remained so Magic could sleep forever, as would the malicious powers that attempted to abuse it.
However, humanity is a curious race, and their desire to excavate and explore eventually led to unearthing ancient magic.
It’s this discovery that kicks off the events of my series. It’s because of Earth’s forgotten history and power that my characters begin their journey. Magic is awakening, and with it, something else is set into motion. What if the discovery of this lost power caused the downfall of nations or wars? What if Earth is nothing like we perceive it to be? Perhaps Magic should have remained forgotten.
Many of my characters are revealed to be talented with Magic and their skills are deeply rooted in its history. They want to find out why they have these abilities and why they’re being involved in the events unfolding. My MC, Joseph Erift, is especially vulnerable to this. He goes from an average high-school student to being thrown headfirst into an adventure where Magic is real and an ancient power is beginning to awaken.
I wanted the series to make readers question our world and everything happening, much like my MC is forced to do. The first book sets the stage so readers will learn and grow as he does, until the true history of Magic, as well as our world and his involvement, comes to light at the end of the series.
Thankfully, he’ll have friends who travel and learn with him.
J.T. Tenera originally started Erift’s Journeys as an 8th grade language arts project. He received 110% on the project and was told he had an amazing imagination. Now 34, he’s hoping to introduce readers to a fun cast of characters they can learn and grow with during an amazing adventure.
You can find J.T. on Twitter @PickledAuthor and his website eriftsjourneys.com.
I set the fantasy story world of my novel a couple hundred years in the future, after the end of the age of technology. In this imagined future, resources are plentiful but people are scarce, and the few people who remain work cooperatively in small communities, trading their talents or labor hours for what they need. Because of the damage caused by the economic, environmental, and societal issues present before the world died, in the future, there are no politics, power, money, religion, or greed. To ensure no one repeats the mistakes of the past, scholars are tasked with studying the books and records from Before. The story world’s history is always present in their minds, hearts, and landscape; woven through how they treat each other, how value is determined, and why they make the choices they do.
It was enthralling to think about what items and artifacts from our society would endure, and what future populations would think about the things we deem important today. To dream of a world different from ours where artists are valued, and art is the most desired commodity sparked so many ideas. Plus, it was dang fun to imagine a crumbling version of today’s world, grasping for which buildings, cities, objects, and customs would survive the death of technology.
Jami Fairleigh is a writer, urban planner, and hobby collector from Washington State. Her first novel, Oil and Dust, is available now, and she is currently working on the sequel, Graphite and Turbulence, available March 2022. She shares her life with a husband, a trio of well-mannered horses, a pair of dubiously behaved parrots, and one neurotic dog.
Find Jami on Twitter@jamifairleigh or at jamifairleigh.com.
I do hope you've enjoyed this week's Author Nook! Please remember to join the #AuthorNook discussion on Twitter every Tuesday and the blog post here every Sunday to read more from featured #WritingCommunity authors and artists. - Laken 🌹