The Importance of:

A story-encyclopedia.

How much do I value a single document filled with pertinent facts? Immensely. What is in there? Names, titles, phrases, places, ranks, etc, things that actually show up in the story proper. If I name a cat, it will go into the encyclopedia. If my military commander issues an order to move, the word itself will go in the encyclopedia.

Why am I so adamant about this? I spent five years working on a project as big as LOTR, building the world from the ground up. By the time I put it aside, I had almost 100,000 words of writing, and hundreds of documents pertaining to the world itself. Probably a hundred characters, ranging from the main characters to ancestors, and a detailed bio on each of them. I put it aside because it was so hopelessly tangled that it was more frustrating to write than it was enjoyable. It was too big. I honestly need a desktop just for Shadow and Soul so that I can keep it all straight. I haven’t trashed the project, I’m building a little in it all the time.

But when I started INHERENT, I was drawing heavily on the world I’d created for other characters. The Asran had been in Cume, where INHERENT takes place, and left indelible marks on it through their wars and power. Sviera is descended from the Asran, while the Dragons are remnants, gate-keepers. And Alakon is an Asran prince. Having finally constructed a workable shell for Shadow and Soul, I needed to start comparing the worlds and finding the similarities and differences.

Basically, imagine the continent of Cume as Europe. Except the Church, the nobility and the soldiers up and left for America instead of the outcasts. En masse. The only things left are peasants, a lot of history, and barely anyone to remember that history. Except the villains. Some of the villains are still there too. So the peasants make their own new culture, overlying the old one. That’s the relation between the Asran and the newcomers, and between the two continents. (Yes, I am drawing heavily on the relations between America and Europe here, as well as America herself, for this. Later, I hope to do something Asian. That would be even more fun!)

The problem comes that culture has a habit of shifting over time in the mortal races. The Asran are basically immortal, and so they are caught in a time-bubble. Alakon is in for some shocks when he gets back to Cume. And with the cross-referencing between INHERENT and future SHADOW and SOUL stories… It could get confusing fast.

That’s where that little encyclopedia comes in so handy, as I can just move it to reference in later stories.

Shendashtin is a corruption of Shen Tashtin (Shen-fortress), and is built on the ruins of an Asran citadel of that name. Amarog is a shortening of his proper name, Karamarog, a name familiar to the Asran, while Erotheri-Erotherimas. All things I will need to know later. Eventually, I should have some sort of wiki set up for all this crap.

Until then, I have one quasi-organized document I can check in to see if I gave Kar a surname, or if Morg Kallis is Heaven or Earth. This saves a lot of confusion, back-reading, and editing.

The importance of a story-encyclopedia=priceless!


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