When writing the Palace of the Twelve Pillars trilogy, a need arose to create creatures and a world for them to inhabit. Now I know there are a lot of articles and lessons out there on how to build a world and I’m sure they are really good for some people, but for me not so much. Having said that I regret not planning my world and beings a little more.
I am a pantster. For those of you that are writers you know that a pantster is someone who does very little planning. They write their stories on the fly as it comes to them instead of outlining and planning every minute detail. Unfortunately, I have never been able to plot my stories out. Along with that the planning of a world and its beings are something that happens as I write the story.
At times this can be a big disadvantage, especially if it’s November and I am participating in National Novel Writing Month. In that case it definitely helps to have some sort of plan. That being said, the one time when I did try and outline, because I thought I knew where the story needed to go, my characters decided to strike the second week in. It wasn’t until I threw out the outline and let the characters tell their version of the story, that I was able to resume writing.
I started this post planning on telling you about the world and the races of people that make up Ramajadin, so now I will pick up that thread. First of all Ramajadin is similar to Earth in a medieval period. So no cars or technology. Swords and bows are used for fighting, people ride horses and dragons. Two glaring differences are of course, dragons and magic. I am not saying that magic doesn’t exist on Earth, but it definitely does exist on Ramajadin. There are rules regarding the use of magic and that is one of the things that creates conflict throughout the trilogy, as one of the protagonists does not want to abide by those rules, and the other who does becomes convinced that he didn’t, that he somehow broke the rules.
Here is an excerpt from the glossary I put together for the trilogy that explains the places and the peoples that inhabit my world:
Ramajaden- The fantasy world where this all takes place
Crato- country on Ramajiden
Mahorg- country on Ramajiden
Hyogo- A small, neutral island country in Takan Ocean to the north of Crato and Mahorg, also the prison.
Wryzburg- royal city of Crato, where the Palace of the Twelve Pillars is located, home to King Theodric, Queen Lilia, their children and grandchildren.
Tra Umu Forest- located in the northeastern corner of Crato, and home of the Kningrad.
Has a magic force field that hides the location of the Kningrad and the Cave of Njori.
Imherp- small territory in the Northeastern corner of Crato, ruled by Eyvindur and subject to Crato. The Tra Umu Forest is located there. The home of the Kningrad and location of the Sanctuary of Nine Dragons.
Freiberg- Freiberg was the royal city of the Kningrad, located in the Tra Umu Forest, in the far northeast corner of Crato. Since it was within the boundaries of Crato, King Eyvindur and the citizens of Freiberg are allies of King Theodric.
Thael- Small kningrad village that is guarded by magical spells so no one knows where it is.
Anna Mountains- Mountain range in the northern part of Crato.
Mt. Evercidara- is the Holy Mountain of Asha.
Cave of Njori- Cave located in the Anna Mountains, used for spiritual journeys
Jena- village on the border of Crato and Mahorg
Geissen- a village in central Crato, near Dietfried Academy
Grilwood- the Mantion nation located in the northeast corner of Mahorg.
Valkan Mountains- Mountain range in the northeast corner of Mahorg. It is home to the Mantions.
Dun Dealgan- royal city of Mahorg, Palace of the Three Crosses and King Waldrom’s home is located there
Tralee- capital city of the Mantions in the Valkan Mountains. Cave complex that is home to King Shigeo and Princess Gudrun along with Wizard Melvane when he is not in attendance on King Waldrom.
Dundalk-mining village of the Mantions found in the Valkan Mountains. Mantions take captured people here to work in the mines.
Ndor Forest – Forest in the center of Mahorg it is said to be haunted and magic doesn’t work there.
Mt. Dablaya – Sidramah’s mountain, located in the Valkan Mountains.
Cave of Kobata – It is located in the Valkan Mountains. Followers of Sidramah go there to commune with their god.
Edenderry- A small Mahorganite village located in the Ndor Forest. Princess Gudrun, when masquerading as Lady Magda reports that she comes from there.
Harable Valley- valley straddling Mahorg and Crato where Waldrom and Theodric and later Waldrom, Brandan and Joachim battle.
Creatures and explanations:
Treaty of 856- Treaty reached between the countries of Mahorg and Crato in the year 856. The treaty forbids the use of the magic of Sidramah and limits the use magic of Asha also established peace between the two countries and the exchange of youth for training.
Adept & adept magic- user of the magic of Asha, magic is only used as a last resort to heal and repair, when all other means have been exhausted
Wizard & wizard magic- user of the magic of Sidramah, opposite of adept magic, relies on dark emotions of the user.
Mantion-aligned with Sidramah, short, muscular creatures with pointed ears, live in caves and work in the mines when they can’t find slaves to do it for them
Kningrad- usually tall winnowy creatures, aligned with Asha
Flaithri School for Adepts- School for adepts hidden by magic in the Valkan Mountains. Apprentice adepts are sent there to finish their training and study with adepts.
Dietfried School for Heraldry- School for young people of Mahorg and Crato. Any person displaying traits of a knight or adept are sent to this school for their initial training. Once they complete their training here they become apprentices for either adepts or militias.
That should give you a basic idea of what I’m talking about and how things fit together. Like I said above, most of this was thought of when I needed something; like a race or a city. I suppose some planning went into it, like that it would be a medieval setting as opposed to contemporary and the races of Humans along with the names of the characters were based on the countries of Germany, Ireland and Japan during the medieval period. The rest was pretty much come as you go.
So the moral of this story: While a little planning helps, for some people too much planning can be a hindrance. I will admit it does help to have some idea about things, but for this writer, not too many is the way to go.