I’m a bit confused, scared, flustered,and intimidated here. Bear with me, all right?
For over the past few months (and in the next few as well), I’ve been planning major reworks on my blogs/websites and I’m stuck as to the best starting point.
Part of the problem is my broad spread of intertwined metafiction. I’ve an urban fantasy series (the PARADIGMAGIC(TM) stories) that holds within it a publishing company (Bulwark Publications) that’s been producing fictions since the penny dreadful era. Within that fictional history, there are scores if not hundreds of storylines, worlds, characters, etc.
I’ve also been planning a nonfiction book/series about world building from the angle of what you need for role-playing games and for other storytelling (be it short stories, novels, screenplays, or some other long-form narrative or fiction).
And I don’t know what’s my best springboard from which to jump first.
Strangest thing is that ideas and plans tend to clump in groups of four, without even planning it that way.
- I could talk about the four core elements in world building, using examples from across all of my metafiction. I could discuss ways in which my writing over the past 20 years spans fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and pulp genres/styles. I could even provide four worlds (or more) for each of those genres and possibly a few sub-genres.
- I could address the four layers of my metafictional world(s)—the ParadigMagic urban fantasy and its secret societies keeping magic alive, the magical books of power in that world, the Bulwark Publishing House in its background, and its published fictions (or nonfiction). I could discuss the four most famous fictional characters built by Bulwark Publications and the “actual” figures (within the ParadigMagic world) from whose exploits those characters grew.
- I could discuss the four largest intellectual properties (IPs) of Bulwark Publishing—the Kharndam fantasy world, the Citiestoried pulp universes, the Bulwark Comics megaverse, or the multimedia sprawl of Wishland.
- We could talk about the four phases for comics within Bulwark Publishing—its Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Ages—from either the workplace details of publishers, editors, writers, and artists or from the characters and stories published.
- I could introduce you to the four most important (or at least prominent and storied) characters in each world, magazine, or in each medium Bulwark published since 1853.
- I could lay out the first four Citiestoried locales, provide their bibliographies, and discuss why they succeeded (or failed, as two of the first four did, which is why the seven most famous and continued locales survived after others fell by the wayside).
- We could discuss just the four continents of Kharndam or the four longest ruling power groups ever to hold sway over her people or the four major extinct races of Kharndam. Or we could delve deeper into the four most malefic artifacts ever to darken any Kharndamite’s soul.
- Would you prefer sci-fi and the primary interstellar vehicles or modes of travel for the Corps Cosmica, the Knights of the Atomichasm, the Comet Corps, or the Novaesir of Heigardanus the Bridgeworld? How about the four most prominent alien races for each comics era, the pulps, the radio dramas, or the movies?
- Perhaps you’re more of a noir or detective fiction fan and want to know more about the cursed city of Fairgeth and its four most notorious criminal family heads? Or the worst arcane menaces ever thwarted by Ace Barrigan or Solomon Lazarus or Reed Brand or Doc Enigma?
Starting to get the idea?
Here’s my decision, then. I’ll tackle things in fours but only within a focused plan.
- Any and all worlds will have between one and four key characters to act as narrators from whom information flows (though they may, in turn, bring in guest narrators for specialized subjects).
- The initial four posts are always an intro to a narrator, an overview of his/her standard setting/home, an overview of group(s) from which the character’s expertise and knowledge stems, and finally a broad overview of the narrator’s core study or knowledge base and hints of topics and details to come.
- This four-step process allows any reader an easy way to enter a new world, take in details and knowledge in small steps, and then delve through other parts of the websites or posts to find more. It also should leave small leading steps toward other new avenues of exploration.
- After each four-part intro, I’ll have at least one or two “four-point” blogs/posts on topics within their specialty to broaden more info on a world before starting the next narrator’s intro-quartet. Expect them to start from the broadest (and largest) topics and narrow down to smaller, if only to provide some sense of scope. (Though I do know that some of the narrators work the opposite way, starting from one subject and widening their lens beyond that focus.)
- Each of the posts, regardless of site, carries the narrator’s name within the title for ease of info tracking. All posts have tags and categories as well, allowing you to scan through the archives looking for connections not noted by one narrator or another.
As soon as I can, I’ll establish some ways to vote on potential topics, but don’t expect comments to stay open on this site; the primary slow-down and problem area online (for me) has been keeping spam commentary and robot traffic out. By shutting down direct comments, I’m saving all of us some headaches from site problems.
If anyone has a point to make or ask of me, please contact me via the Contact tab on this site or via Google+, Facebook, or Tumblr. I also plan to (hopefully) open up forums for discussions, should there be enough interest, on this site or my publishing site at vistagmedia.com.
As always, more later (and hopefully with some regularity).