Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Turunda & The Devoted Trilogy - World Building Prompts - Presenting Turunda['s maps]

Penultimate installation of my Great Western Woods' #WorldBuildingQuest compilation, bringing together all my prompt question answers from Instagram to one convenient place, introducing the world of The Devoted trilogy.

Read chapters 1-5 of The Zi'veyn, the first book of the trilogy, for free on Kindle, Kindle app or in your browser right here.
Buy The Zi'veyn and book two, The Sah'niir, from all Kindle stores for £2.49 each, and in paperback from select Amazon stores. UK & DE Amazon ship right across Europe.

[#WorldBuildingQuest Week 4]

I originally planned to put the entire presentation on here, but I changed my mind when I realised that that tidy post was better suited to my author website. It doesn't really offer anything I've not already covered in the previous compilation posts, but if you're interested in the full introduction, check it out here ^^
Otherwise, I'm using this post to go over the other creative aspects of The Devoted trilogy.

   Unsurprisingly, in a story that involves a lot of travelling, experimentation and inevitable destruction and upheaval, I needed a map to keep track of things. It started as a rough drawing of the continent (shown below) since multiple countries are mentioned and at war, and then a zoom-in on Turunda itself, on lined paper in ball point pen. The necessary locations were marked - Rathen's home, the capital city and a few forests and rivers, and then a few towns and villages dotted along them or nearby.
   As The Zi'veyn came together, more locations were added and others were named, either through the characters passing through, an off-hand mention, or in one of Salus's reports. These two maps are those of The Zi'veyn.
   The locations grew further during The Sah'niir, and further still during Hlífrún, though the latter was more a point of naming some of the more obscure forests or some location within them, and for obvious reasons, I'm keeping those maps, and those of book three, private until the two books are released.

   To make book-ready maps, I scanned in my paper copies and drew over them in Paint Tool Sai (£20) with my tiny Wacom Intuos Art tablet (£80). I actually used the continental map first, and rather than draw around the original map of Turunda, I blew up the continental map and redrew Turunda from that. At a glance, the two paper maps seemed to fit. I discovered otherwise after scanning and trying to overlay the original on the digital drawing. It took some juggling, but I fit everything in where it should be. It just took a little rotation here and there.
   Drawing the forests and mountains took time and a few references (such as Djekspek/Herwin Wielink's), but I got there, and it came together to look rather good, I think! I'm proud, at any rate.
   As for labels, I originally only named and marked the places relevant to the story, but my husband complained that a few places were mentioned and not labelled, so I added them in once The Sah'niir was completed. It started to look cluttered, so I decided to add even more to off-set it. It sounds stupid, but I think it worked. I named passive locations like Banmar Dells, Sotwolds and so on, and made those labels quite light, then labelled every settlement and separated the dots of cities, towns and villages with different hues and sizes: cities are marked by big, solid dots; towns are marked by big, light dots; villages are marked by small dots. The only settlements labelled for each book are the relevant ones, however, but every single dot has a name and a purpose. They may not all be mentioned, and may never all be labelled, but they're all there.

   Various countries display different cultures - the same is true of our own world, of course, even those who are close neighbours. Skilan, Turunda and Kalokh all embody quite similar things, a mishmash inspired by both England and Scandinavia (ie that which is most familiar to me, and that which appeals to me). The Scandinavian traits, however, are far older than the English ones, and it shows in the wildlings.
   Doana, Qenra and Ithen, however, are of more African influence, and moved north into Arasiin centuries ago near the end of their empire's expansion. Since then, though, they've become a quiet, peaceful people, and Doana are especially watchful.
   Ivaea and Kasire have similar cultures of horsemen on the plains, with the deserts in the south uninhabited but for a few scarce wind and earth tribes. The humans across the world were subjugated by the elves, who equally had their own cultures and ideas which the humans inherited, and they never cared to live in the deserts. The various elemental tribes carry their own cultures and inhabit those places the elves had no wish to, rather than live under their subjugation.
   Which brings me to the creatures. They're all inspired by various folklores and inhabit the appropriate places, such as the crocotta of Ethiopian folklore found mainly in Ithen, while the wildlings are wide-spread wherever there are forests and, in Turunda, are inspired largely by Scandinavian folklore, and a little bit of Cornish. I had great fun researching them and giving them general personalities. I love my huldra, but, if I'm honest, I think it's between the ditchlings/Arkhamas and the askafroa for my favourites. Where magic is used among them, it's of a whole different kind, revolving instead around nature and symbiosis than anything in their blood.

   Creating cultures can be a tricky thing, because it does of course impose itself on day to day life within the world itself. If you go too far with it, it has the potential to become a cumbersome read - some writers can get away with it, but I think it's well beyond my abilities. But, if you put in too little, it can become difficult to distinguish between different peoples and between worlds, be it various worlds you've created, the world another has created, or the one we live in. There has to be something there, and the very least is the variation in spelling, pronunciation, or the formation of names (of both characters and places). The tribes have some of the thickest cultural details, and I've shaped their names around the elements they worship. The wind tribes, for example, I've tried to give airy names with few hard consonants, while earth tribes have much harder and more abrupt names.

   Which also lends itself to the creation of language. The elves are extinct, but given the nature of the story and inclusion of a historian among the main cast, I needed to create them as though they were still wandering the streets. They were generally difficult because I had to show their culture and their language in a more passive way - the reader won't learn about them simply through observation like they would the humans or wildlings - which meant small but relevant tidbits rather than a full history lesson (though I'm sure Anthis could have happily hijacked the book with a history lesson, as he is wont to try to do). Using their ruins as landmarks and reclaimed settlements, and their language in some settlement names and surnames, I think I've managed to get it across without being tedious, alongside the general theme of the story, of course, which involves closer looks at some such places and Anthis's professional studies and...erm...other things...

Here's the complete prompt list. The hosts were building their own world together at the time, and using this very prompts list themselves to outline it. They're a great range of questions to ask yourself while building your own, and I will be referring back to it when I move on to make something new.
I would add economy too, though. It's a good idea to establish the currency within your world, but an even better idea to establish the economy - knowing what costs what helps to establish reasonable rewards for bounties (be they the hunter or the hunted), individual wealth and its social impact.


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