Managing an epic fantasy world
12 chapters into my final round of editing, I discovered a small discrepancy in the timeline of one character. As I began to unpick this minor issue, I unravelled a much larger timeline issue that involves...most of the characters.
Just when I thought I was getting somewhere with my final edits, I've had to return to the structure of my entire novel and make some major adjustments. While I don't have any problems with this process - I quite enjoy it, despite the mental challenge it presents - it has set my publishing timeline back significantly. Sigh.
Lesson learned - don't wait 17 years to complete something. These are the problems you end up with if you don't stick with one project consistently. Lucky for me, my good friend Mandi at dreamingfullyawake.com is in a similar position, so we can rant about this at each other with a level of understanding. New process for the pair of us - start a book, work at consistently until it's finished, THEN move on. Thank you, and good night.
Anyway, something I've always struggled with managing is the vastness of the fantasy world I've created. I have maps and notes and files and records everywhere, yet so often I lose track of where my characters are (physically), or how their power/magic works, or how everyone is related/connected to one another. Perhaps this problem stems from my inconsistent application to writing the story? I sure hope so. Now that I'm working on it every single day, it's much easier to keep everything I need in my head, or know where to locate vital information among the stacks of paper or pyramid of Dropbox files.
When I'm not on top of the world of my characters, I end up generating major structural issues. What I'm learning now is that these characters will tell their story in whatever way they please, and it won't always make sense. That's my job - to take their adventures and present it as a narrative that has logic and order (you know, a beginning, middle and end is always a good place to start).
Any hints, tips, or programs that help manage a fantasy world are appreciated! Leave a comment below if you know a useful trick.