Monday, August 12, 2013

Memorable Worlds: Bookania


My Experience with this World: 

I said that I would be talking about a few or two of my own worlds, so here we are. Bookania.

Bookania is not my oldest world, nor is it my newest, but it is the first one that I've published. My world building process for Bookania has been different than it has been for my other worlds, since I've taken a more laid-back and haphazard approach. At the moment, I don't know everything about it, and I'll probably still be discovering new things when I'm working on book 99.

Some of my books start with worlds and gain plots and characters, but not so with Bookania. It wasn't until after I came up with Robin that the country gained a name. Until then, it was just a storyland stuffed with fairy tale characters.

Once I gave the country a name, however, it gained a personality and a life of its own.

So far, I've written and published the first two books and a short story. I've started writing book three, but progress has been slightly slow. Beyond that point, I've actually written bits and pieces from twelve of the future books, but not necessarily the next twelve books.

Truth be known, oldest bit of Bookanian writing I have in my procession is about two of Robin and Eric's granddaughters, and sprung from randomly writing the names of the two girls down in a notebook. It lasted a good twelve or so notebook pages before it fizzled out (the plot was going too fast) and I laid the notebook aside. (Either that or started writing a new story in the notebook. I do that often.) Eventually I ran across the notebook and decided that it would be a good addition to Bookania, if I changed a few names and shifted some plot elements. I'm really looking forward to writing this book, but it'll probably end up being book 27 or so.

The bit of writing set farthest in the future is about the older brother to the granddaughters and the girl of his fairy tale. I can't say what fairy tale it is, only that it involves some swimming.


Honestly, I don't know a thing about Bookania's origins, nor does anyone in Bookania I've talked to - not even the fairies. The funny thing about Bookanian history is that it repeats itself. The Robin Hood that R&R find in Sew is not the first Robin Hood to gather a band of merry men there. Robert is not the first prince to awaken a Sleeping Beauty with a kiss. (Although whether or not Robert kissed Rosamond awake is open to debate. Madeleine fled the scene before it happened.) Some of the fairy tales/myths/legends repeat faster than others. Cinderella is the most common, the longest its gone without a repeat is about 20 years. Sleeping Beauty and Casperl, however, since they span more time, has a longer cycle, up to a thousand years.

But, as I've said before, I do not know how Bookania came into being.


Some of you may have noticed that I have never posted a map of Bookania before. That's because I really don't know what Bookania looks like. This is the third map I've drawn, and this one was for the express purpose of this post. Even so, if I were to draw it three months from now, it's likely to look very different. (perhaps have less white "Undecided area"? And I'm really not liking the placement of Chin.)

Before I start talking about the the geography of Bookania, I must talk about the physics of this world. You see, Bookania is a flat world. I knew that ever since I was plotting the tragic love life of the sister-in-law of one of Robin's daughters. However, it was only a few months ago that I discovered that it wasn't just any random flat world that you might pick up off the street. (No offence Narnia.) Bookania is ....

... (I'm creating dramatic tension here) ...


A book.

That's right folks! Bookania is a world within a book. Surprise, surprise? Basically, if you were to find the library that has this book in it, you would find a book of maps, each one connected seamlessly to the one before it. (I did toy, for a while, with the idea of making it one map over and over again, and traveling from one to another allows you to go one year in the future or a year back) This means that Bookania is a VERY big world. Most page spreads function independently of each other, but I do plan to have some characters explore to the east. (Eventually the west, too, but that'll be a while.) For right now, all we have to focus on is this spread. (Which is pretty much in the middle of the book, surprisingly enough.)

As you can see in the map, most of the land is in a huge lump, and its divided into several countries (and that huge annoying white blankness, but that will be corrected in time.) The corner divided into little countries, earldoms, and providences used to be a single country, but was divided up a good 250 or so years ago when the king died without heir. To the right we have Locksley, everyone's favorite country, then Germaine, Briton and Fronce. Across the (as yet unnamed) channel from Fronce is Englund. They've been at war for the last hundred years.

Below that we have Scotlund, which was formerly Upontime, Normandy, which was formerly Refrence and Skewwood, and Winthrop. Down in the bottom corner we have Chin, where Push au Kim came from.

The ocean surrounding this part of Bookania is called the Fante Sea. (Fante is pronounced like Dante.)

Whenever land borders the edge of a page (the top and bottom, that is) it is blocked by impassible mountains. Some of them are strengthened by magic, such as Mt. Ever Rest, which puts all climbers into an enchanted sleep from which they never awaken. There are other, friendlier mountain ranges elsewhere, such as the one separating Locklsey from the medley of kingdoms.

You may have noticed the two island clusters. They'll be important in book six. The odd bit of land in the corner won't be important until 16. I just put it there so that I knew where it was.

Of course you have Skewwood/Sherwood forest taking up most of Normandy and parts of Locklsey, Germaine, and Scotlund, and Black Forest creating the border between Briton and Fronce. And there's a desert on the lower half of Winthrop, S'Thera Desert.

Peoples and Culture:

The inhabitants of Bookania are mostly humans, but there are nine fairies, ten clouds sprites, enough Forest Guardians to guard the forests, and the odd dwarf or seven to take in a wandering Snow White.

Most of the humans on this page live a psado-medieval lifestyle. I.e. Whatever I like of medieval life I take, but I leave that which I don't. Royalty live in castles, which may or may not have moats, peasants live in huts, Robin Hood and his Merry Men live in the forest. Forks have not been invented yet, but etiquette has. However, there are sections, even in this part of Bookania, that have very different customs. (Chin is a good example, since it has a more Chinese flavor.)

There are seven good fairies and two bad ones, who were once good, but were tempted away by the lies of the Thwarter. I'm not, however, at liberty to talk too much about these mysterious beings however. You'll have to wait until book 11.

I haven't really talked about the Forest Guardians, but they made a brief appearance in Sew when Rosamond was hiding in the trees when we first met her, but I don't name names until she and Madeleine are talking in Take. I don't know much about the Forest Guardians, but they aren't human. I think they're something like dryads, but this hasn't been confirmed yet or not. I know that they're fun loving, but that's it.

The Cloud Sprites have a very organized life, thanks to the OCD eldest sister, Cumula. The ten sisters are, perhaps, the oldest beings in Bookania, and possibly have existed since its beginnings since they, unlike the Fairies, are never replaced. However, they are very forgetful creatures, since their brains aren't exactly the most solid things in the world, and they can't be trusted for facts. Each sister has their own job, Cumula keeping everyone in line and throwing tantrums whenever she gets upset. (Or when she just feels like it. The result is a thunderstorm. If she's really upset, she'll start throwing her pet cats and dogs around.) My favorite for working with so far has been Zephyr, who's in charge of wind. Unlike her sisters who ... talk ... like ... this, Zephyrtalkslikethis.

As for the dwarves, you'll have to come back and ask me in a few years, since I haven't messed with them yet.

Oh, and I can't forget about my Sand Witches, now can I? Honestly, I was a little hesitant about adding them in, but people seem to like them, so I suppose I could have done worse. Sand Witches make food, and they love to feed people. Appearances are deceiving with them, and despite their homely faces, they're very nice. And actually, believe it or not, they do not go through their whole lives ugly, but I won't tell you about their "practically perfect in every way" adolecence now. You'll have to wait until meet Poppy and Rye in book 4.

What I like about this world:

The Potential. I have so much Bookania to explore and discover. Also, I love the Fairy Tale elements, trying to cram the logistics of every myth/legend/folktale into one world can be fun.

Oh, and let's not forget the puns! 

What I don't like:

The fact that I shall never know the story on every page of Bookania. I shall never know the entire history. As consolation for this unavoidable truth, I've taking the liberty of declaring all of the original fairy tales and legends as having been part of Bookania some time or another, and many of the Fairy Tale retellings that I have come across in my reading. The Frog that Would be Prince, by Norman Juster was part of Bookania for sure, though a very different page. I also am convinced that Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted, Fairest, and Princess Tale Collection are all on various pages of Bookania.

So, any of you my friends who are writing a fairy tale retelling, feel free to claim that it's part of Bookania. I don't mind. Every page has different logistics, and most don't know that their world is a book and called Bookania, and fewer know about the Author. (though some call him by different names)

What I learned from this world: 

Continuity. Most of my world building projects hitherto have been one-book worlds, or have timelines like Narnia: a visit at the beginning, then hit in miss until you get to the end and hope for the best.

Also cramming. Very fun

These world-building posts are for the promotion of the upcoming release of my book The Ankulen. Feel free to do one yourself, just make sure you refer back to my blog and let your readers know about my upcoming book. If you do write a post, post a link in a comment somewhere on my blog and I'll add you to a giveaway for a copy of my book.

Oh, and if anyone's interested, I was interviewed over at The Notebook Sisters yesterday, along with some other authors, and you can have a chance to win an e-copy of either Sew, or Saffron, as well as some books by some other terrific young authors.

1 comment:

  1. Bookainia sounds like a fascinating world! And what an original idea--to have it be an actual book!

    I've tried to draw a map of my own little world (called the Young World for lack of a better name), but it never turned out right. What is it about trying to portray our own worlds that's so hard? Something about the thing close to your heart being the hardest to express, perhaps.
    Anyway, best wishes on your further exploration and construction!

    God bless,
    ~"Tom Wild Rose"~


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