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A Fantasy Life – Part 5

January 28, 2008 by in category A Fantasy Life tagged as , with 1 and 0
Home > Columns > A Fantasy Life > A Fantasy Life – Part 5

By Janet Quinn Cornelow

Alternate life forms living within our bodies that cause gallstones. MRI’s that can tell what we are thinking. A gay gene. Footprint casts of Big Foot.

Fantasy? Reality?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell anymore. As writers we have to be careful abut writing certain things because they won’t be believable – unless we’re writing fantasy.

I’m getting ready to start on my fourth set of Augeas stories set in a fantasy world filled with magic. Dyna, the picture for the month, is a young Ancient One with the power to see what is happening around her in her mind. I talking about seeing things outside on the street when there are no windows or on the next block over. Her power saved her grandmother, Carissa, and several other Ancient Ones from Dorjan’s thundering hoards.

When I wrote the first stories, I was in a hurry to finish them. A story of 8,000 words seems like not such a big undertaking. After all, it isn’t a 100,000 word manuscript. Wrong. Short stories aren’t as easy as they seem. I came up with an idea and hurriedly built the world of Augeas and the Ancient Ones. I came up with the name Ancient Ones because they lived to be several hundred years old. However, that’s really not a good reason. There were a few other things I had to change with the second set because I hadn’t planned ahead.

So why are they called Ancient Ones? They aren’t all old. They have to start as babies because they don’t get to come into the world full grown. They are all magical, but that doesn’t make the name fit.

As I start on the fourth set of stories, I decided it might be time to explain why they are called Ancient Ones. Just as soon as I figure it out. Are they an ancient culture that the humans started calling Ancient Ones? One story mentioned they came from the mountains, except Gideon comes from the mountains and he’s a human. Are they aliens who came from another planet? Did they come from an alternate universe? Why did they come from either? Were they explorers who couldn’t get home? Were they outcasts running for they lives? Or, were they an ancient civilization around Augeas before the humans who had to leave the area because of war or pestilence and have now returned to help the humans? And who knows the answers?

When starting these stories, I probably should have figured this out before I started. It’s harder to build in things once certain parameters have been established. I know who knows the answers. A very ancient Ancient One who is the keeper of the stories. He hasn’t told me what the stories are yet, so I’m not sure why they are called the Ancient Ones.

1 Comment

  • Anonymous
    on January 28, 2008

    On the other hand, once you have a chunk of the story down, you have a much better idea of what you need to know about the world you’ve created.

    If you do all your worldbuilding before hand, you may spend a lot of time, for example, on the history of the culture’s dietary restrictions, only to have the characters never sit down for a meal.

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