Prophet of the Past
I rented a bin and got some buddies together to clean out the barn and lo! I stumbled across the original map that would morph into the world of The Second Apocalypse. I’m generally averse to discussing the world and plot of the series because I think a certain amount of ‘genesis neglect’ actually serves to make the series more believable, and therefore more immersive, but this! this comes straight from the Coffers. It’s gotta be thirty years old at least!
The magic I felt inking this, the sense of swooping grandeur, intricate melancholy. I remember feeling all of it boom in my heart and my bones: the mangled histories flung across mountains and plains, the vying nations and dying races, and the obscene evil that would consume it. The world was a new lover back then, charged with passions I can scarce recognize anymore.
That kid would be proud, I think, of what I’ve made of it so far. But what I wouldn’t give to relive a moment of that naïve intensity.
What a slog it’s been. A Slog of Slogs!
Lmao! The barn’s clean?! At least now I know what one of hidden wonders behind the door was.
And here was i thinking the maps in fantasy books all came from the same production line, compiled form some kinda basic matrix, as an after thought. Good to see you kept up appearances by having a “dark forest”
Badass. Interesting to see how many of the core names have survived.
Also, there has been speculation about the ‘rings’ found on the digital maps over at your official website… I see rings below ‘Gansabor’ and in the lower right hand corner of this map. The first might be a stain… or maybe not, hmmm?
Any chance on a update on the progress of TUC? This radio silence is the slog of slogs…
Bit hard to say anything – kind of sucks one in to it to look at it (somewhat from within it) instead of talk about it. Bit like the world, I guess.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing, Scott.
I always love to see the “what came before” (no pun intended…or is it 😉 ) stuff for fantasy worlds. That’s also why love to read The History of Middle-Earth and similar works. Great stuff.
the DM screen as the essence of unilateral informatic horizonality
“Bury it in the barn. Make it your greatest secret.”
glad to see that the screwy circles were there all along!
Someone needs to pull a Da Vinci Code and start connecting the circles in various shapes until something falls out.
it’s like a picture of Aurang mooning the author
Scott, do you have a list of all the languages that your books have been translated into? Trying to put together a complete collection of cover art. The Mandarin cover sure is cool:
The cartography on that is pretty impressive. Looks professional, really. I would know, since I did some map making for my weekly D&D games back when I was a teenager, and they never ended up looking like that, even with the help of Campaign Cartographer.
Ditto. Campaign Cartohrapher…fond memories. Making maps was my favorite part of a D&D session prep.
Good stuff, man.
I’ve spend the last several months trying to recapture the sense of awe and excitement at the mysterious hugeness of my fantasy worlds, which I realized that I’d lost almost completely. (It got drained off in trickles, so I didn’t notice when the well was pretty much dry.) Despite all my attempts to inoculate myself, being academically ‘institutionalized’ has scoured from my system a lot of the sort of ‘unhinged creativity’ that drove all my old scribblings.
I got something of the spark back after dragging out the original manuscript of my original Huge Epic Fantasy, the first volume of which I finished back in the late ’90s. I’ve long since lost the digital files, so I read the hard-copy, all 1000 pages of it (over 300k words!). Despite its wealth of derivative elements, all its un-self-concious hokeiness, I loved almost every page of it, if only because I could feel the old excitement welling up in me. (I’d almost completely forgotten what happens in the book, so for maybe the first time ever, I managed to surprise *myself* with some of my own plot twists!) Honestly, I can’t believe how *good* the book is. Someday I want to rewrite it, with pretty much the same characters and pretty much the same plot — which I never thought I’d say when I dragged the frickin’ monster manuscript out of its dusty bin.
Anyway, I’ve tried to clear the cobwebs and rethink Three Roses. I’ve got a new approach (a new ‘mindset’ about it), and I’m more genuinely excited than I have been for over ten years. One of the most important things that the old manuscript reminded me of was how much *fun* these books are supposed to be. While I’m still going for something Monumental, and I still have a lot of philosophical pretensions, one of my guiding principles now is: “Find the Fun, Dammit!”
Do it for your fans ;).
“Stop trying to win at this, Dammit!”. That’s my ignorant opinion – you’re looking for some way to definately command the audience. Probably the academic and even capitalistic system baking in the ‘if you don’t command your audience, you’ve made nothing’ dogma. They always want to act like you need their nod of approval to have made anything. And they always deliver this dogma in the most sacarine of tones – bullshit needs a lot of suger.
At the very least, find your own fun. Find that it’s already there, maybe? It doesn’t need more rewrites.
Thanks, guys. Yeah, I worry about my obsessive rewriting — more accurately, my obsessive *starting all over again*. But honestly, for the last ten years or more I’ve worked on the book only in short spurts, here and there, and I’ve never managed in all that time to build up any momentum, any narrative head of steam. I’ve had my eyes too firmly fixed on the academic prize. Things are beginning to change on that front, and I feel as though some sort of scales have fallen from my eyes.
The new version of Three Roses simply smokes all previous versions. Destroys them, makes them look foolish. I can’t wait to finish Book 1 and see what people think…
It’ll happen. Just keep dabbling until it seizes hold. I’m curious whether you can now see your original version with the same eyes I did, what… 14 years back? I, for one, am very curious to see what you cook up now that you’re easily an intellectual match for your ambition.
Fucking fourteen years, Roger! That’s crazy…
Thanks, man. One thing I haven’t done is re-read the original Three Roses. It’s astonishing to think that back in the day I managed to produce three huge fantasy tomes, each set in a distinct world. My first, called The War of Riches, was a standard-model Epic Fantasy: a Robert-Jordan-style adventure spiced with some Martin-style sex and violence. That’s the one I re-read this past summer. I wrote it in 1998-99. Then, thinking to take a quick break before diving into Book 2, I wrote Retaking the Heart, the entire thing in about six months, before immediately putting both of those projects aside in order to start Three Roses, right at the time that I discovered the Online Writing Workshop — and everything changed…
Not fourteen years ago, man — fifteen! Well, I may not have run into you on the OWW until 2000, now that I think about it. A long fuckin’ time, either way! And here you are, kicking ass — while me? Not two months back I was literally staring at a blinking cursor on the blank page one of Chapter 1 of Book 1! It was kind of an ass-kicking moment, in the sense that I felt both ready to kick ass and as if I’d just gotten my ass kicked!
Anyway, it’s also remarkable that (esp. given my new-found enthusiasm for my original fantasy story) all three of these projects remain on my plate — or, well, on the stove… on the back-burner, anyway. I hope to write them all before I die… though I’m starting to think I won’t have time. (Morbid, I know.) My ‘plan’ (at which God is laughing) is to churn out Three Roses while also prepping (and ideally completing) a radical deconstruction-reconstruction of The War of Riches story, so that I can unleash an entirely distinct fantasy series very soon after finishing TR. The overall structure of The War of Riches is amazingly strong: I just need to populate it with more original world-building elements, and write it with more depth and sophistication.
Well, I can dream, can’t I?
The new version of Three Roses simply smokes all previous versions. Destroys them, makes them look foolish.
I’m going to say more dumb sounding folk wisdom stuff : appreciate what you did before. A past you wrote them and the current you is no more than the past of your future self. The conceit of the now wont do you much good if your future self simply goes on to try and write something that smokes what you write now and so neither of you get the thing finished!
Hope that wasn’t too past/current/future self confusing – though given what I’ve read of your work, it seems the subject you’re into so I wouldn’t think it’d sound confusing!
True enough, Callan. Sooner or later, I need to finish Book 1 and move on. That said, I do hope to continue trying to improve; I hope every book I write will be better than the previous one. But yes, at some point the ‘previous one’ needs to be a finished book, not an earlier version of the ‘current’ book!
In my defense, though, I shall quote the wise words of the Princess Irulan: “A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.”
Damn! That is awesome. I wish I drew maps that well! Awesome find!
If Earwa is an anagram of Aware, I wonder what Rior is?