Building a Scary New World

I don’t think I’ve done any kind of worldbuilding since my roleplaying days, or at least since I wrote that dark fantasy trunk novel 15 years(!!) ago. It’s just not something I’ve needed to do, as all of my work so far has been self-contained and fits easily into the real world. Even Muy Mal has been more of a free-form reality that changes as needed for its stories.

However, as I was editing what I’ve written of Powerless, I started to realize I needed to get some geography correct. For example, characters mention the location of their houses in relation to a common geographical point, and then there are at least three more major points of interest in the same town in the novel. Add to that my decision a couple months back to set Top Secret Novella in the same fictional town and things get even more complicated.

Maybe it’s my fantasy roots coming to the surface, but I realized it would be of huge help to sit down and draw up a map of this town and surrounds and start drafting up its history and a timeline for the events in both Top Secret Novella and Powerless. This weekend I grabbed my Lap Desk and started drawing, frequently referring to the satellite and terrain features on Google Maps to keep things kosher. I added the important points, then threw in some bonus features and key elements related to the town’s history.

I had an absolute blast with it. I checked a few historical facts and was very happy to discover my ideas for the town’s history would work. I researched a major feature of the town and learned several things which will help me give this feature life in Powerless. I started throwing in locations and landmarks that gave me ideas for future stories taking place there. It may not be as extensive as the worldbuilding that goes into creating a fantasy world or a sci-fi environment in the distant future, but in the end it will be at least as helpful.

Even better, another long-form story idea hit me last week. I decided it would work best as a novel, then realized it could fit right in to the town I just created. It doesn’t even have a working title yet, but the characters are coming to life and, because of these characters, the fictional region surrounding my town just got a little bigger.

So what’s the name of this cool little place? Call me paranoid, but I’d rather not say yet. Things may change for the new novel, and one possible climax for Powerless may render the town’s future a moot point anyway.

And hell, I still have to sell the damn books. This is going to be a unique sandbox for my solo prose work, and there’s no point in laying out the details if I can’t get the work published.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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