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The Worldbuilding Pivot

Well, it’s been a while. So long, in fact, that I feel guilty. Not that anyone reads this, mind you, but guilty in that I haven’t been keeping up in that whole writerly endeavor I’ve been attempting the last several years. So, with that in mind, I’m just going to barrel on with updates without looking it up to see how long it’s been since I’ve updated.

I don’t think I’ve made any secret that it’s been a hard year for me. At the end of May will mark one year since my immune disorder first manifested, in which time I’ve lost 25 pounds, gained it back, started immune suppression, and been on and off steroids more times than I can count. I’ve just come off of one of those steroid cycles, by the way, and am just ending the two-week recovery period where I sleep 9-10 hours a night plus naps to make up for all the sleep I lost due to the side effect of insomnia.

I mention this because cycling on and off of steroids is why I put book four of Sol’s Harvest on hold… nearly a year ago in July. Not being able to sleep, coupled with the amphetamine-like jitteriness that goes with them, would slowly drive me insane, which very negatively affected my writing. Then there would be the recovery period, all the while knowing in a month or so I’d probably have to go back on the steroids again as they dialed in my medication, which kept me from doing the editing I needed on the rough draft of book four.

This happened again and again, and although I’ve started the editing process numerous times (my notes say the last time before my last aborted attempt in February was in September of 2019), I’ve had to put it down again so often that I’ve lost the sense of story. Turns out although it’s good to give yourself some time away from a story to get some perspective on it, if you leave it for months on end you wind up lose your immersion in the story and have to sort of start all over from scratch. You are no longer an insider in your own story, but are stuck on the outside looking in and wondering why you made all those choices in the first place. And by the time you (meaning me) finally get back into the frame of mind to edit, you begin the steroid process again. Which is why I shelved the book in the first place.

Plus, you know the whole covid thing. I had plans to start back on the book again, but I have an opinion that people are trending away from grimdark tales in this time of real-life peril. Not to say I’m not putting it out; rather I’m going to let the curve flatten a bit more before I seriously get after it again.

Fortunately, I have not been idle. To keep myself sane after my wife had to take over my writing room during the day, I’ve started holing up in the garage during the toddler’s nap to play Gloomhaven alone with the miniatures I made of Marta and Luca years ago. I even built a table out of scrap wood I found behind the garage, which is somehow the most masculine thing I’ve ever done (so long as you ignore I built it to play a board game alone).

Also, I’ve been stepping up my cocktail making game since we got a house with a wet bar. And I have to say, alcoholism has never been so delicious.

I’ve also been writing. A lot.

Although I couldn’t do the whole narrative thing with the start-stop steroid schedule, it did let me focus my time on that worldbuilding book I’ve been threatening for forever. It appears you can pick up and put down non-fiction and come back to it whenever you need to. Probably because you’re dealing with concepts, theories, and ideas instead of feelings, character evolution, and plot points.

According to my notes, I started this worldbuilding book, the underlying concept at least, back in 2017. And while a lot of the ideas have evolved from those rough notes, many of the concepts that undergird it were conceived of back then. My plan was to finish the rough draft on it (which I did near the end of February), get back on Sol’s Harvest, then release the worldbuilding book as part of a series after I finished the original series. But since it’s still so fresh in my brain, has been getting some rave reviews from my alpha readers, and the fact that a book exploring new worlds is a lot less depressing than that aforementioned grimdark series, I thought I’d prioritize it for now.

So what does that mean?

Sol’s Harvest is ostensibly done, and will (knock on wood) be published by the end of 2020.

This will be after the worldbuilding series is complete, which is tentatively titled Forging Fantasy Realms, and expected to consist of a free 100 worldbuilding prompts ebook, a 300+ page examination of worldbuilding theories (complete), as well as a 150+ page workbook of 700 worldbuilding prompts that applies all those theories (currently at around 500 prompts and outlined).

I’ll be shifting the blog posts (when they actually appear) to focus more on worldbuilding subjects rather than my personal life. I’m hoping for some short prompts to appear at least weekly.

Also, I have this here survey about worldbuilding I’d love if you can fill out. It’s for the book.

So that’s about it for now. Expect to see more updates, albeit about worldbuilding subjects. Also, a book or three in the next few months. Also about worldbuilding.


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MD Presley is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout.  He has written two books on fantasy worldbuilding, and teaches worldbuilding techniques, tricks, and tips at Forging Fantasy Realms once a week on YouTube. 

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