By Steven A. Guglich
Join me on this journey of creating the world of The Veil Saga…
As a fantasy and science fiction writer, story is the most critical part of writing. Story is about someone’s journey of transformation… someone overcoming obstacles and becoming more than what he or she was. But there is more to the story than just the story. There is the world in which the story takes place. There are peoples with varied cultures and belief systems that drive them to do what they do. There are economic systems in place that may or may not differ among the races and cultures; but, as we all know, the love of money is the root of all evil. There are political systems that some become a part of to affect change in their world, and others manipulate for their own self gain. World building is an essential part of writing, especially for those who write science fiction and fantasy.
The world of The Veil Saga takes place in our modern world where humans exist and regularly interact with each other. But there are parts of our world that are hidden away by the Veil. There are races of enchanted beings who have concealed themselves to escape the brutality and poison of humans. These are the races and cultures that I needed to create. It would be easy to just say they are elves or dwarves, but those would just be names. To truly understand why the elves and dwarves behave as they do, I had to start with what they believed and how they lived. Isn’t that how life works? We act and react, listen and respond, create and destroy based on how we were raised and what we believe. We either continue to follow the beliefs of those who raised us or we become influenced by outside entities and experiences which change our lives. To make the world of The Veil Saga seem real, I first had to know why the elves, dwarves, gnomes, and other enchanted species did what they did. But, I didn’t actually start there.
I had the idea for the story of The Last Enchantment: Book 1 of The Veil Saga and the personalities of the characters mapped out in my head. I’m a pantser (a person who writes without an outline; a person who does something by the seat of their pants). So I started writing and writing and writing and the story was coming along really well. I had written over 35,000 words which included a prologue and 18 chapters.
One day, a fellow writer friend of mine, Carlos Bowe, asked me to beta read the first three chapters of his fantasy novel, Bringer of Dreams. When I read it, I was blown away by how rich and real his world felt. He wrote as if he had truly walked in this land. I asked him, “You must have really done a lot of world building?” Carlos replied, “I’ve been working on this thing for a long time. Dude, at one point I actually built the entire city in my living room using pizza boxes.”
Carlos’ skill in world building really paid off because, as a reader, he made feel as if I was really there with his characters. I could see the landscape and the city clearly in my head. It was Carlos, without even suggesting it, who inspired me to halt writing The Last Enchantment.
So now, I am inviting you to join me on this journey of world building. Each month I’ll update my progress and tell you a little more about the races and cultures of those hidden by the Veil. And I will ask for your input and feedback as the world of The Veil Saga unfolds for my readers.