Aspirations for 2019

Since I actually succeeded in my aims for 2018, I’ve decided to set myself some ambitious goals this year:

  1. Create up-to-date maps and descriptions of the Nine Courts.
  2. Write up-to-date character profiles for all the Ankaykari.
  3. Re-write The Web of War and publish it on the website.
  4. Draw political maps of the five continents of Udaris.

I’ve already made a start on all of these (yes, even the political maps of the continents – you may recall the map of 10th century Tanurea that I drew in 2017), so hopefully I’ll be able to get them done by the end of the year!

Looking back on 2018

This has been an amazing year: for the first time ever, I’ve achieved all of the objectives I set myself in January!

Writing

I put my success down to the decision to take a break from writing The Ruler of Ruins. There doesn’t seem much point in continuing to work on it while The Web of War and The Sceptre of Ice still need extensive revision.

Also, I just haven’t felt inspired to write about the history of the Ankaykari; instead I’ve been writing stories set in the mundane world. I say ‘stories’, but actually they are more like online novels… needless to say, the two I’ve been publishing on my website are not complete, but they will be one day!

The problem is that there are so many stories I want to write, and I feel excited about all of them, so I tend to move from one to another. This is one of the benefits of not having any regular readers aside from Maggie, who is patient and understanding and says that it’s important to follow my inspiration. After all, writing is my hobby, not my job!

World-Building

2018 has been a fantastic year for world-building! Without any self-imposed writing goals to eat up my time and energy, I’ve achieved so much more than I thought was possible.

All the continents of Udaris have finally been re-mapped and the rotating globe is complete! I’ve also created a new map of Askamar and started re-drawing the maps of the nine courts. I’ve re-designed the dragons. I’ve made a timeline and polished the reference section. I’ve finally created portraits and profile pages for of all my main characters. I’ve even done a bit of work on languages.

On top of all this, I discovered World Anvil this year. I haven’t actually done much with it, as I like having my own website and I don’t feel like maintaining two online platforms for my conworld, but I still think it looks like a really cool place.

Art

Yes, I’ve even done some art! With lots of help from Maggie, of course. And Maggie has painted some wonderful new pictures, too…

Blogging

One of the most exciting things this year is that I’ve met some fellow world-builders on WordPress: Jasne, Mnransdellgreen and Ede. I’ve had lots of fun reading their posts and getting feedback from people who share my hobby!

With all my world-building, writing, and art, the blog has been busy. Hopefully I’ll keep it up next year too. There’s loads more world-building I’d like to do (it would be great to actually map some cities in Udaris) and of course I plan to keep writing!

A new map of Arunisa

Over on World Anvil, it is ‘World Ember’: a month in which world-builders attempt to produce 10,000 words of new content, with prizes for those who write the most, produce the best articles or participate in the community.

I’m not actually taking part myself, as I’d rather relax during the festive season. However, I have taken a break from writing to do some more worldbuilding.

For some time now I’ve been meaning to work on my Arunisa article (Arunisa being one of the main settings for my stories!), and now I’ve finally updated it with a new map and expanded content.

Here’s the old map:

And here’s the updated version:

A map of Arunisa created with CC3
As you can see, I’ve given Arunisa more territory and I’ve also included more of the surrounding lands.

‘Snowfall’

Here’s a beautiful new picture that Maggie has painted of Danira, based on an old drawing that she gave me for Christmas many years ago. Danira hasn’t appeared much on the website yet, but she’s another of my favourite characters to draw and write about!

Danira loves nature and the changing seasons of the northern lands (right now she’s living in Arunisa, but the place she regards as her mundane homeland is the tropical island-kingdom of Wayaiqua). I think she must have just stepped through a portal in this picture, since she seems dressed for a warmer climate.

Still writing…

It’s been a while since I last updated the blog, but I have been doing things. I’ve made new maps of Barezeth and Imbire, and I’m working on a new map of Ebzazire, all of which I shall display on the blog at some point.

Mainly, though, I’ve been working on Yaresora’s Marriage. You could probably have guessed that, as the blog often goes for long periods without an update when I’m writing. There are seven new chapters in the library since my last update; I think I’m over a third of the way through the story now!

A galaxy of conworlds

I always knew conworlding must be popular, because there are so many world-building books on sale. However, I was amazed when I discovered World Anvil. I’m not sure how to describe it, other than a galaxy of conworlds.

Once you’ve created a free account, you can publish articles about your conworld, interactive maps (how awesome!!), timelines and artwork, all beautifully displayed. There are also templates to help you world-build. For those willing to pay a monthly fee, there are even more features.

It looks like the website was created sometime in 2017 (there was a timeline of World Anvil’s history, but I can’t find it right now), and within a few months it already had 2,500 paying members. That’s incredible, that so many people love to build their own worlds! What’s more, the site seems to be expanding and improving all the time.

Naturally, I’ve created my own account, if only so that I could try out the templates, create an interactive map and be part of a huge world-building community. If you want to see what I’ve done so far, you can find ‘Askamar and Udaris’ here.

Askamar Re-Mapped

As you might know, there are two parts to my conworld. For the last year I’ve been working on the mundane world of Udaris, and I’ve made loads of progress with it – most notably by creating new maps of the continents and finishing the rotating globe. Now I’d like to do the same for the magical realm of Askamar!

I started by creating a cross-section to show how Askamar works; it’s not a globe like Udaris, but rather a plane. Since there’s no sun, it’s powered by magic that fountains up from its depths and spreads across the sky before slowly sinking into the sea (this is why the sky is red in the Inner Lands, purple in the Midlands and blue in the Outer Reaches).

A cross-section of Askamar

A cross-section of Askamar (not to scale, obviously – the land is much bigger than that, and the Sea of Smoke is ever larger!) drawn by me in Adobe Photoshop Elements 18.

Next, I decided to re-draw the map…

Askamar was the first place I mapped when I got Campaign Cartographer (CC3) back in 2014, and I’ve learned a lot since then.

Here’s what Askamar looked like in the days when I drew my maps on Corel (because whenever I publish a new map, I always like to bring out all the earlier versions I can find, and also because I’m fond of this one):

A map of Askamar drawn without Campaign Cartographer 3.

Here’s the Campaign Cartographer version, created in 2014:

Udaris has, of course, been extensively re-designed, but I didn’t feel like changing the shape of Askamar. I did, however, give more thought to the climate, using circles to help me work out how far the deserts extended etc. Here’s the new, improved version! It’s even got a scale this time!

A map of Askamar

A map of Askamar created using CC3 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 18.

Arrival in Eremiro

I’ve realised that if I post an update every time I add a new chapter to Yaresora’s Marriage, my blog will get cluttered, so I’ve decided to go back to posting several chapters at a time, as I did with my last story.

I’d like to write more conworlding posts again soon! However, for those interested in reading the story, I still aim to add a new chapter to the library every week.

Here are the first four chapters of the story, focusing on Yaresora’s arrival in Eremiro, her attempts to court Prince Varadren, and the politics of the land in which she hopes to live as a duchess:

An Advantageous Match
Yaresora plans to marry an Eremiran prince, but first she must persuade the Court of Ebzazire to support the match.

The Queen’s Honoured Guest
Yaresora arrives in Eremiro, where she is welcomed by the royal court.

Courting a Battle-Mage
Yaresora challenges Varadren to a friendly duel.

Dinner with the Princess
Yaresora dines with Varadren’s twin sister Sorchiana, experiences some traditional Eremiran music, and encounters her old rival Okseda.

Some Eremiran words

Since much of my latest story is set in Eremiro, I’ve decided to make a list of some Eremiran words:

Elteyave: one of the many magical devices invented in Eremiro, the elteyave detects magical poisons. They are usually carved of wood and are shaped like table ornaments (birds, fish, cats and flowers are popular). The azuhans set into them glow when poison is near.

Kalyanen (male) / Kalyessa (female): A title used to respectfully address a mage. While it can be translated as ‘my lord’ or ‘my lady’, it is never used for non-magical aristocracy. The mages of a foreign lord’s retinue sometimes find themselves addressed as ‘kalyanen’, however.

Maranal: an ankle-length garment worn by Eremiran lords, secured with ornate buttons and a plain, narrow sash. The sleeves are long and close-fitted. Maranals are heavily embroidered down the front and around the cuffs, and are often even more splendid than the gowns worn by women.

Sanrallan: an ankle-length gown worn by Eremiran women. The sleeves are puffed and banded at the shoulders, while the collar is high and ornate. It is fashionable for a sanrallan to be embroidered down the left shoulder – birds, flowers and leaves are popular designs.

Syalta: an Eremiran liquor made from malted grain and aged in wooden casks. It is usually diluted with water and served in small glasses.

Teharalt: Non-mages (the singular is teharal). In Eremiro, this is word synonymous with ‘commoners’. Farmers, artisans, merchants, professional musicians and household servants are all teharalt, but anyone with magical blood is part of the aristocracy, no matter how impoverished they are. Some Eremiran nobles still struggle with the concept of ‘teharalt’ aristocrats.

Veyeltin: The gestures of salutation used by Eremiran women. They vary depending on the rank of the person being addressed. Eremiran men do not perform the veyeltin; instead they bow when greeting someone of higher rank.