Over the course of the last year, I’ve had quite a few people ask me about this story world of Terrene. Where did it come from? How did we get the ideas for it? How does one build a magic system from scratch? Why are our dragons different than the traditional dragon? What’s an airship like there?
Glad you asked!
I’m hoping to start a mini series of posts on Terrene and interesting bits about it. Some things that will be seen by the readers, some things that are just fascinating background facts that have no need to be in the books–but are cool to know anyway. If you ever have a question, or want to know something specific, drop a comment and ask! I’d love to share the world and all its joys while I edit Renegade Skyfarer. Because, honestly, editing isn’t the most fun. But talking about the world keeps the love fresh and sparkly.
Mike is the one who dreamt of this world and had the bones of the story. When we first got married, we went on walks around the neighborhood and would stroll out to the theater and back, and he’d share aspects he’d thought of, or talk about the magic system, or wonder aloud about this detail or that.
At that time, it was cool, but something that we wouldn’t be working on for years–or so I thought. (because who could be a mother and an author at the same time? I didn’t think such a thing was feasible) So we’d talk about it here and there, but that was it. Then I met Jamie Foley, and she encouraged me that writing and being a mom was possible, and that sparked something. Something big.
Suddenly, all Mike and I could do was talk about this nameless world. He’s the strategist, and so he knew what would happen to what characters and some key pieces of the world, like the Barrier. We knew the reason for the Barrier being erected, we knew that the Barrier was magic, but we didn’t yet know what kind of magic, how it was created, or exactly where it was on the map. Those details were my arena to play in, as I’m the creative writer, the overactive imagination, the one that has a semblance of prose.
We learned that the Barrier is like a purple curtain that sways in the breeze. It ripples, it moves, but it has limits, just as a curtain on a rod does. Seven sages wove this together with time, death, and Void magic, and thus no one from Terrene can cross it, let alone touch it. To touch the Barrier would be to touch death. The Void reaches out to connect to the being, and with that link, ages them to the point of death. The Barrier is truly the Barrier.
And so we slowly built the world. We figured out what the outline would be, and then asked ourselves questions. The crew is on the airship, the Sapphire. How does it work? Is it all magic? What are the limits to the magic? (because everything has limits) What parts are mechanical? How much is steam-based, and how much is magic-based? I spent several weeks researching engines, pistons, boilers, feedwater pumps, and condensers, trying to get a feel for what the engine room would look like in a traditional setting. Then I started figuring out what would be steam-based (consulted with an engineer for probability of several of those systems), brainstormed what parts would use stones based off my consultants answers…
Basically, for everything of the world, we had to ask ourselves: Why is it there? How does it work? What are the limits? The strengths? The weaknesses? Where does it come from? When is it found/used/made? Why is this important to Terrene?
Many a night we’d be wanting to fall asleep, but instead were talking about the Void. Or the stones. Or the dragons. Or the airships (that was more me). Or the characters and their backstories.
But those are for another post.