Rebuilding a broken world – Guest Post by, Charles E Yallowitz…

A glorious thank you to Chris for letting me swing by and promote my newest release, War of Nytefall: Rivalry. It’s been a while, but here is the third volume of my Vampire Civil War series that pits the old-world bloodsuckers against the more powerful Dawn Fangs. These stories take place in the same world as my previous saga, Legends of Windemere, but they occur about a century or two prior to those events. This leads to an interesting type of world-building because I’ve shown the future and now I have to show the past. How does older Windemere turn into the one that my readers recognize? Well, the first thing I had to do was break it in the prologue of War of Nytefall: Loyalty.

Here’s where the background of my world comes into play. Windemere was created by Solar the Father God, but he wasn’t that imaginative. A continent to each of the cardinal directions and a batch of islands in the middle. This is what it was for centuries until the Great Cataclysm, which had been mentioned many times in my first series. A giant wave of power ran across the planet to move continents, alter terrains, obliterate species, and totally transform the entire landscape of Windemere. One of the results was Clyde becoming the first Dawn Fang, so they are intimately connected to the Great Cataclysm. So is the setting of their stories because all of the mortals were left with a new world.

Now, imagine going through a 10 to 15-minute period of utter chaos that ends with every map being worthless. The city around you might now be a forest or simply toppled. Very little of the old world remains unchanged, so you have only two choices. The first is to wander in a haze and fall into despair, which doesn’t help anybody. The second is to rebuild, which is better for the story and this argument. I realized early on that I would have to show a world that had ruined aspects of its past and signs that it is surviving into the future. Considering the magnitude and power of the Great Cataclysm, I had to throw in some oddness too. This can be regions where magic doesn’t work, regions where the rain never stops, and things that can only make sense in a broken world. That’s a lot of things to juggle, especially when my main focus was on the story and characters.

I have to admit that I wasn’t really sure what to do and ended up going back to my old series a few times. The reason is because I thought it would be a good idea to show earlier versions of locations that had already been introduced. This required choosing what was going to appear down the road and figure out the foundation that survived the Great Cataclysm. Honestly, this turned out to be harder than designing my characters because they didn’t have any pre-existing forms. Well, Mab did, but vampires don’t change that much. Anyway, I had to be very careful not to push the world in a direction that didn’t match up with what I had already established. It wouldn’t just hurt War of Nytefall: Lost, but Legends of Windemere. Two series were hanging in the balance here. So, while it was comfortable to work within the locations I had already made, it did carry a lot of risk.

This is where time jumps between volumes actually come in handy. With a cast of vampires, they don’t have a lifespan and can remain relatively unchanged after a decade. It means the world around them can leap ahead instead of me having to show gradual progress. If I only have 5 years for this series then I couldn’t show a lot of rebuilding in each volume, so I’d have to demonstrate this with really small details. Who is going to be wowed by a new block of homes being put in Gaia or seeing the slow creation of a pier that is repeatedly damaged by unstable rapids? Instead, I would have the characters return to a city that now has at least one more identifiable landmarks. Of course, this doesn’t really work if a reader is starting with this series, so I have to make not of the setting piece and hint that it’s important. Maybe the characters are talking about it or investigating because it has caught their interest. Mostly, I have the vampires casually go through this world since they are probably used to things changing around them, so their reactions will be mild. In a way this helps to show that the world is growing and there are peaceful aspects in the wake of the chaos. You don’t have a dystopian nightmare, but ruins that are being fixed, which creates a sense of hope.

I considered writing a bunch of tips for this, but I realized that what worked for me and Windemere might not work for others. Thinking things through, especially if you’re going a prequel route, is common sense. Perhaps the biggest tip I can give is that you shouldn’t rush this aspect of a story and never be afraid to consider something a mistake. In reality, you have people who are rebuilding areas and have to go backwards because an idea that they thought would work has failed. So, it shouldn’t be that different here. Forget pride in this project because you can’t keep pushing a dead-end path like in every aspect of writing. Just think carefully and adjust as you move along.

Feel free to leave a comment and check out, War of Nytefall: Rivalry!

About the Author:

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. Truthfully, his tales of adventure are much more interesting than his real life, so skip the bio and dive into the action

Twitter: @cyallowitz




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