Thursday, June 26, 2014

Forgetting Fallenwood

Today's special guest is Leslie D. Soule, an author who loves to try new genres and Sacramento, California is her hometown. She has an M.A. in English from National University and is a member of the English Chapter of the Sac State Almuni Association. She is currently working on her fantasy quadrilogy, The Fallenwood Chronicles.


We asked Leslie how she went about building Terra Illumina, and here is her response:
            So the question has been asked regarding how I managed to build the fantasy world that my quadrilogy, the Fallenwood Chronicles, takes place in. My fantasy world is called Fallenwood, but the older name for it is Terra Illumina. “Terra” of course, is the Latin word for Earth, and “Illumina” is a play on the word “illuminate” – to light up. Together, they suggest that Fallenwood is an enlightened realm. However, the colloquial term “Fallenwood” suggests that this is no longer the case, and that something terrible has happened. This example shows how just playing around with language in general has helped immensely in shaping the fantasy world I created. Words have a great deal of power, and language has always been a great source of inspiration for me. 

            I had to figure out how I wanted Fallenwood divided up, and decided to go with kingdoms controlling different regions of my fantasy world. For this to work properly, I soon found that a visual would prove helpful. Maps are important because the placement of the various kingdoms in relation to one another determines who is allied or at war, what resources might be fought over, etc. A visual is an enormous help for this, and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. For my official Fallenwood map, I took a piece of poster board and taped it to the closet door. Then I drew a rough outline of the land portion of Fallenwood, and divided it up into the six kingdoms that make up Fallenwood. Why six, you ask? Well, so that when it comes to war, if three kingdoms take each side, it’ll be a roughly even battle. But you should feel free to add as many kingdoms as you like. 

            If you’ve already written a novel prior to your map-building, you’ll need to consult it as to where your cities go, where the kingdoms are located, etc. If you haven’t written anything yet, you can leave the relatively blank map up there and add as you go. I suggest sketching in pencil so that if you need to erase something or move things around, you can, but again, it’s entirely up to you. Once you’ve got a map down, you’ve got your world, but you haven’t populated it. Personally, I’ve found that characters take time and a lot of effort to create, but TYPES of characters do not. So this is a good point to start thinking about whether you want your story to be Tolkien-esque (original plants & animals & types of humanoids), or not, or some combination (original animal types but Earth-like plants), etc. As far as this goes, I decided I didn’t want to delve as far into creating Fallenwood as Tolkien did with Middle-Earth. The plants in Fallenwood are earthly plants. The animals, with the exception of fantasy creatures like unicorns, dragons, and wyverns, are earthly creatures. There aren’t really any humanoid creatures. There are humans. You choose what works for you. It’s just something to think about. 

            Then, as anyone who’s read Orson Scott Card’s How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (buy it!) knows, you’ve got to come up with a system for how magic works in your fantasy world. He insists that there needs to be a price for magic, every time that it is used. So for Fallenwood, this comes in the form of a life-long Curse that varies from person to person. The next thing I’d think about is what kind of story you want to tell, what characters you want to have in there, and where you want things to go. But once you’ve got your map, your creature and/or human/plant types, and your system of magic, you’re fairly well set. Best of luck!


What happens when Ash accidentally makes her way through another portal, this time into the Other Realm, and forgets she ever went to Fallenwood? More importantly, how much of one's identity is made up of memories? Fallenwood 2 is the continuing journey of heroine Ash Kensington. Struggling with a deep sense of grief, sorrow, and overall confusion, Ash tries to work her way through to a deeper, underlying meaning. This search leads her back to Fallenwood, where the mystery unravels itself as she realizes that a very sinister force may be underlying everything…


Ashley woke in a cold sweat. She remembered nothing of her time spent in the magical realm known as Fallenwood. Without the remembrance of her journey in Fallenwood, Ashley awoke as her former self, without the benefit of the lessons learned during her journey. That journey never existed, and her memory bank filled itself with everything she’d known before she left. Ashley began living a normal life, as though Fallenwood didn’t exist at all. Now, visions slipped away into nothingness and she believed she’d only had a series of incredibly vivid dreams and nothing more.

Yet the heart keeps a remembrance of its own, and without Prince Edward, a cold loneliness sank to the core of Ashley’s heart. Her mind couldn’t define the source of her heartache, so she blindly sought its cure.


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Twitter: @Falcondraco

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