One of the things we’ve used UJ for is world-building. I’ve created some shorts in a fantasy world, Cevalon, that I conceived long ago. I’ve sketched out a space opera universe as well, under the tentative title “Gods of the Sky”. And there’s the Drunk Vampire Hunter stories, and Catakuri, and various serial novels, such as the recently finished Ulysses and the Fugitive.
Each of these are going to get their own books on Gumroad going forward. The Singles Collection is the omnibus for everything else: all the tragedies, dystopias, monsters, metaphysics, and screeds we’ve published in the last few years.
For fantasy fiction the only typeface you need is the 1894 version of Bradley. Less fussy than Morris Troy and less shouty than American Text it was designed by Will Bradley for a Christmas issue of The Inland Printer. It is the font of wizards, winters and sensitive Goths. pic.twitter.com/a8mTq8Gqku
And it’s entirely in line with the whole Pulp Revolution indie scene, in which classic pulp fantasy tropes are lovingly dusted off and embraced. Cirsova Magazine is a good go-to (I’ve bought an issue; it’s excellent if you like that sort of thing), all hail the spirit of Robert Howard.
It’s a bit over the top, frankly, and I don’t know if I’d want to use it for my big fantasy project that I keep telling myself I’m going to start. But I might like to throw down a longish novella for 2020, along lines earlier alluded to. Since this would be a self-pub, I’m fine with playing up the glorious pulp-cheese of it.
You might ask why I’d even think about such a thing when the story’s in outline form. I say unto you, the spirit of composition matters. I think in the next few days I’ll start jumping on the first chapter.
I have often mentioned my interest in epic fantasy, and that I have been working on my own homebrew world, in fits and starts, for a long time. I have put in some drawing time using the aforementioned Fantasy Maps drawing guide, and I’ve already started constructing a story on my new map. It’s part of the overall world of Cevalon, which I’ve been expanding to include more lands beyond its shores and a more clearly spelled out mythology & history.
And as part of getting myself back into actually writing in the world, I’ve outlined a new small project to start on for the new year. I actually started it without an outline, then junked the start and went back and did the scut-work. I was trying for a first-person narrative, which is usually fun, but for some reason didn’t work for me. A bit of Robert Howard (“The Black Colossus”, to be specific) and I decided to avoid a self-overhearing ironic approach, as is common to the Drunk Vampire Hunter stories (which really need a post of their own), and play it a little more straight. It’s kind of an experiment in world-building.
What’s it called?
The King’s Ransom.
What’s it about?
A bastard prince finds redemption in rescuing his full-blood brother, the King, from fiendish enemies. A trio of scheming princesses round out the family as a kingdom beset by enemies human and demonic dances on the edge of chaos.
It’s got the shape of a novella at this point, but who knows. I’ve got an outline.
There’s an entire subculture of fantasy map-making and world-building, because Tolkein and Gygax together hammered into the genre of epic fantasy literature and gaming the need for a world to have an all-encompassing backstory, including a theogyny.
I’ve been farting around with a fantasy world of my own devising, known as Cevalon, since I was about 14. I’ve even written a novel set in that universe, which I still find interesting, and may, with some extensive editing, see the light of day. More likely, the first novel of that series will be set several thousand years before that. Because I’ve got backstory. I’ve even got the theogyny. It’s a riff off the Hindu Trimurti, with a Mother/Creator Goddess, a Protector God of Craft and Knowledge, and a Destroyer God of Fire and Renewal. There’s a bit of family drama between them, and the Destroyer God is that touch more Satanic, but…
Some of the stories I’ve written for Unnamed Journal, the Tygg and Drea stories — The Dying Goddess, The Barbarian on the Shore, and most recently The Sword in the Cave — are set in this universe. They take place on the periphery, so I’ve kind of expanded the geography of the world. This is as it should be.
For my birthday I got a How-To guide for drawing fantasy maps, which has inspired me to go back to my old maps and kind of rejuvenate them. This has been in my mind for a while, but I will enjoy nerding out all over it.
When you finish a big project, you’re allowed some downtime. Now that The Sword is in the hands of readers, I’ve been letting myself do nothing. Now it’s time to get the juices flowing again.
I’ve got some stuff to write for the next UJ, and I might squeeze out a novella before the year’s out, while doing an edit on The Sword. That’s doable in the next few months, and doable gives me momentum for the next big project:
It’s sword and sorcery. It’s high fantasy with a Robert Howard flair. It’s going to be rad.
Doing a bit of research for a later novel set in a fantasy world of my own devising, I finally got my mitts on a cheap translation of (selections from) the Rig Veda. I do this because my world has a Trimurti of deities in differing similar roles to Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The written-but-unpublished first novel from this world, The Island Prince, makes mention of them.
Anyway, I’m reading the hymn known as the Golden Embryo, or the Unknown God, and I do find some striking similarities in the phrasing between it and the first chapter of Genesis. Both start with “In the Beginning”, both reference a “dome of the sky” and both speak to a mastery over the waters.
The difference lies in the Vedic uncertainty of which god did it – each line ends with “who is the god whom we should worship with oblation?” – when the Bible is quite certain who did it and in what order. Also there’s no mention of living things. Whoever this originator of creation – named Prajapati (“Lord of Creation” in Sanskrit) – might be, he’s not here connected with lower beings, save by the act of worship.
I rather enjoy the rhythm of the hymns as well. Stuff to absorb for later works.