Hey everyone! So, since I am on this world building kick of mine, I thought I would introduce you to a couple friends of mine, Zeke and Andrew. I worked with Zeke at the Boy's and Girl's club. He moved back home once he finished school, but not before we figured out we had something in common. We both write fantasy! He writes with his friend Andrew. I did an interview here, on their magic system and the like. Be fair warned, it is a bit of a long post! So I won't continue to lengthen it any longer:
Me: What made you two decide to write fantasy together?
Zeke & Andrew: It actually started when we went to see the movie Percy Jackson and the Olympians : The Lightning Thief, it was basically the most terrible adaptation we had ever seen (though we both enjoyed the books very much). On the way home we agreed we could write a much better script even with no experience. After a few minutes we decided instead we would write a book together and started creating the world and the characters that night. Since then we've spent many hours and late nights working on it! We are sure of one thing though, we will most definitely not be selling the movie rights without having some veto power withheld.
Me: What are some of the laws in your world, if you have gotten that far?
Z & A: The world we have created had a cataclysm in the past and as such the peoples of our world are mostly fractured with only a few large cities leaving just localized clans and villages scattered across the world. As we join the story in the book we are working on, things have just started to progress towards a centralized government and trade is starting to pick up.
Me: Explain your magic system, please!
Z & A: Our magic system was created mostly from scratch out of the two of us talking about what we wanted magic to be like in our world. Magic in our world is a driving force, most of the industry on our world is powered by magic. Most of the population in our world is able to do some form of magic. The experience of using magic would be comparable to jumping into a river with the user feeling a current around them in the air as they are casting. For a more powerful caster it is like a river while a lower level caster would feel like they are in a stream.
The magic in our world is separated into two main categories, Arcane and Elemental, each category is used by a different Species one being humans and the other we named Deynaturan
The humans use Arcane magic in our books which in turn is separated into 4 subcategories which are warmth consisting of Sun and Stars and Cold consisting of Lunar and Shadow.
The Deynaturans use Elemental magic which also consists of warmth, being Fire and Earth, and Cold, being Air and Water.
Within each of these subsets are a whole range of skills that a spell caster can call upon.
In order to limit the use of magic we worked out a system where each time you cast a spell it has to be within your abilities or you run the risk of a rather unpleasant backlash. When casting a warmth spell, either sun for arcane or fire for elemental, if you go past what you can handle you will unfortunately burst into flame from the inside. This also applies to cold with the consequence being freezing instead. With this in place it leaves us able to have some interesting spell combinations. An example would be if you cast a fireball you normally couldn't handle you can counteract the warmth by adding an ice spell into the mix. This technique only works to a point of course, with failure ending in a rather unpleasant death.
We could go on about the magic system of course but that would take ages and well...we also want you to be curious enough to buy our books when they come out and find out for yourself!
Me: Since you're still in world building stage, what things have you found easy? Difficult? Have any advice?
Z & A: The easiest thing we had to create was the geography of our world and a map to go with that.
We were horrible at coming up with names! We could spend 3 hours trying to think of a name just to do it again 5 minutes later because we needed a new name. We finally just thought up a list of names and pulled from that as needed which helped us move a lot more quickly.
As for advice I would suggest you do a map first, once we had a map we could decide where people came from and that would affect the character greatly ie: clothes, speech, or occupation. As an example logging would take place near a forest, or fishing would need some type of a body of water. Along with that to the south would be a warmer climate than to the north. A map was helpful as well to plan the course of events including where we wanted the characters to travel to and what places they would go through on the way. With that knowledge we were able to outline the book with relative ease.
Me: Do you think it is easier to work as a team? Do you think you could have tackled something like this alone?
Z & A: Sometimes working together can be a bit frustrating but more often than not it is helpful. We catch each other making simple mistakes quite often which helps to keep things together. Along with that we have a very different background when it comes to Fantasy and Science Fiction; Zeke grew up reading fantasy written for a more adult audience or high fantasy such as The Lord of the Rings or Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams. Andrew on the other hand grew up reading books based in Mythologies (Greek, Egyptian, and Norse) as well as reading more young adult fantasy.
We probably could both have written something independently but working together has given our writing more depth with the give and take we have together due to our friendship.
Thanks so much for your time, you two! I appreciate this in-depth look to world building from another point of view. I find we have lots in common when it comes to structuring out the basics.