New Year, New Start

It’s been just over four months since I’ve posted last, and I’m here to fix that. Before, I was talking about all sorts of different general world building topics, and that was great. I still want to do that, but I need to start over. Four months is a long time to be away from the internet and social media. After four months, I may as well have been a slumbering giant hidden away in the deep hills for centuries. That’s how fast the internet moves.

The main reason I’ve been away is that I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal issues, mostly health related. You see, I have some mental health problems. I’m not diagnosed, but I’m dead certain that I’m bipolar. I can write 10,000 words in a single day and then be so depressed I want to scream for the next week. I can do a thousand or two thousand words steady for three to four months and then crash into a major depressive episode as soon as I’m about to finish the first draft. It makes being steady, stable, and generally functional quite difficult. Writing has always been the way that I am the most stable with this problem, but it’s hard to keep up when the bipolar switches, as I call it when my mood suddenly changes, can happen on the flip of a dime multiple times a day.

Why am I bringing this up in a public setting on a blog about world building? Simple. It’s my blog. It’s my writing, my world building, and my work. Just as when you create your world and write your stories, the issues that you face will go into that. The fears, desires, hopes, and dreams will go into your writing. In a way, my elves are actually inspired by my manic episodes. When I’m manic, I don’t want to sleep. I hate the idea of sleep. I wish to high heaven that I didn’t have to sleep. So I made my elves not have to sleep more than once every five days. I also have so many things that I want to do with my life, so many grand goals that I feel I can’t accomplish in the time allotted to us humans, so I made them live hundreds of years.

Yes, my elves were inspired by my manic fits, and so my own mental health issues, my own problems that keep me from working have been worked into my writing and world building. I realized, though, that my elves were becoming too much of a wish-fulfillment race. They were too perfect, so I gave them the heritage of being descended from gods who are so dark and brutal that they can also be consider demons. There’s more to the dark, brutal heritage of my elves, but I don’t want to spoil Wrath of the Fallen, the novel I’m planning to publish before long.

Essentially, I am going to be coming back, but things are going to be a bit different around here. I won’t just be talking about general world building, but rather about the myth making that goes into it. Culture, art, and society are all founded on shared beliefs, whether they’re moral beliefs, worldview ideas of how the world itself works, or ritual as seen in holidays or religious rites. So, I know I don’t have much to say right now, but here I am.

An update and some busy news

Sorry to just put up a quick post here. I have ideas for some great posts coming, and I’m also going to be putting up a Youtube channel where I actually talk about world building. Right now, though, I need to take a quick break from blogging. Don’t worry! Everything’s fine. More than fine, in fact.

What’s happening is that I’m finishing up my novel. The past few days have been spent writing straight through. I did nearly 10,000 words just yesterday! That said, this draft of the book is complete. I’m sending it on to my editor so we can hammer it out, and I’m going to start getting it together and ready to publish.

I’ve decided to self-publish. I know, it’s a lot of work, but the key is that I have a book I’m confident will be ready to be worth publishing. As the year progresses, I’ll get resources together, find a graphic designer, and work out production costs. Now, that said, I have been living on disability for a while, so I don’t have the funds necessary to do this on my own, so I’m planning to do a Kickstarter when it comes closer to time. I’m not sure how much I’ll need to get it done just yet, so I’m just going to research some more and work on getting a quality manuscript together.

Currently, the novel is called Wrath of the Fallen, a high fantasy adventure about Tanok, an elf who comes to hate his gods only to discover that his reasons for hating them have all been true. Complicating matters is the fact that his wife and brother-in-law are a priestess and priest, and that Tanok has just been called by the mysterious enemy of the gods, supposedly to save his people.

At 110,000 words, Wrath of the Fallen is in its final stages of completion, and I’m hoping to be able to publish it online, both in ebook and print book form, at the beginning of next year. I’ll keep you updated!

A Bit of an Update: Renovations

So, I’m going to take a bit of a break today from talking about world building for an update. I’m planning on renovating the site a bit. Don’t worry, the blog is staying. I’m just going to be adding a few things. We’re going old school 90s style web design. Frames! Garish gif animations of cartoonish clipart! Midi files you can’t turn off!

Uh, no. I hated that web design even in the 90s. I hope it dies.

Seriously, though, I’ll be trying to streamline the look a bit while adding some static pages (read: not blog posts). First of all, there’s going to be a bestiary, a list of the different mythical and legendary creatures out there, including the modern fantasy creatures, each with suggestions on how to incorporate them. They’ll basically be set up like my blog posts, only likely a bit shorter. Yes, I know that other sites have bestiaries and mythical encyclopedias, but they’re all just dry, rote descriptions. What I’m planning is to actually talk about how they might work in your own worlds.

At the same time, I’ll be doing a small encyclopedia of pantheons. It won’t be as extensive as I’d like, simply because there are other sites that do just that, like Encyclopedia Mythica or Godchecker. The first is great for a more scholarly, but often basic, description of myths, legends, gods, and heroes (and a bestiary of its own), whereas the second is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek role call of the different gods throughout world religions. That said, I’ll be expanding the list of links to resources as I go and find more sites that could do better.

Another thing I’m planning is to do reviews, both of the resource sites like I mentioned above and of fantasy and science fiction books. I will look at the aspects of the world of the book, but also the story itself. So, if you have a book coming out that you want me to review, send me a message at @Thomas_B_Austin on Twitter. I’ll just say upfront: I can’t afford to buy the book. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it goes.

Also, if you have fantasy or science fiction artwork for your own world that you want me to display, send me a link. Points go to artistic quality as well as to originality and, you guessed it, interesting world building.

So, here’s a list of the things I plan on having once Cartography of Dreams is updated:

  1. Blog about world building topics and advice. (Same as it is.)
  2. Bestiary of legendary creatures as well as modern fantasy and science fiction.
  3. Pantheon list with articles on deity domains and attributes.
  4. Book reviews with emphasis on world building. (If I can.)
  5. Expanded list of internet resources.
  6. Fantasy and science fiction artwork from around the internet.
  7. A more professional appearance. (Unless you like it as it is.)

Eventually, once I can get some better recording equipment, I’d like to start up a Youtube channel or podcast. All I have right now is the microphone and camera on my laptop. Do you have any suggestions, things I should add in the meantime?