Long ago, and seemingly in another lifetime, I created a world for the fantasy stories I’m only now telling. My word, that was before I considered the act world building. To this day I’m often amazed at all I assembled in my fever of furious enterprise. The Laws of Magic, for instance, is a list that contains a dozen items and continues to grow.
Over several years I developed a history, cultures, geography, and even drew a map. Of course, in a land where there’s magic it was central to my endeavors to establish magic’s operation (an entirely different undertaking from The Laws). Afterwards, I was relieved the information was recorded for easy access and was backed-up.
And then something happened…
Over time I realized that I’d created something more, something unintended, something more valuable than I’d ever imagined…
I suppose I should have expected it, for does not the sky touch the earth? One culture touches another. The ocean touches the shore. Characters interact.
My reference parts, when added together, were more than their apparent sum.
The resources we fashion help us create more in the future and for the fantasy writer it’s a tremendous gift. The pieces don’t become a muddled stew, but instead meld and combine to produce that which we hadn’t foreseen. We invent flour and later realize we’ve the ability to create pizza dough or cake.
The sun rises, the birds sing, and the world we conceived evolves before our eyes…
An example are the reaper storms that sweep across the otherwise relatively dry Baris Plains like Earth storms cross the prairie where I live. Electricity doesn’t exist in Ontyre like it does here, for it equates with magic.
There’s internal magic that exists in people, flora, and fauna. Likewise, there’s magic that exists in the air that’s divided into two forms. Natural magic is the more benign form that witches tap into to conduct their spells (it’s external to them). The other form is raw magic, which is wild and unpredictable. Most lightening descends from the heavens as natural magic. Like in the world we live in it’ll kill you dead if it strikes you or it might start a fire.
Ball lightening, on the other hand, is born of raw magic.
If you come into contact with it you’ll wish you were dead, for ball lightening is magic run amuck, mindless spells thrust upon the unsuspecting. Almost always it’s lethal, but sometimes…
Reaper storms came into being when I had characters crossing the eastern plains and wondered what threats might exist there. Thus, I reexamined geography, weather, and magic structure. Further, because I realized that in the past a few survived ball lightening, I went back and made changes to the Old Empire history. In the future…who knows? What’s known is that for those who encounter reaper storms on the open plains it’s a terrifying experience.
Has anyone else created something new from old parts after their world building was completed? I’d love to hear about it.