Adventures in writing “Porselein”

Or, on building a new world

I have gotten so used to writing in the world of Airtha-Eyrassa, that building a whole new world for Porselein has come as quite a shock to my system! Suddenly I’m left with a complete blank page screaming “Here be dragons” and I’m not even sure if that world has dragons in it, or not. See, I have been building Airtha-Eyrassa for some years now. I know the countries and the people and the magic. And what do I go and do then? I start a whole new book and maybe even a new series before finishing The Ruon Chronicles. Because apparently I like living on the edge. What does help, though, is that one is predominantly English, while Porselein is being built and written in Afrikaans from the start.

So, what do you do when you’re faced with a blank page and a world you need to create? Well, in my case, you jump in right in the middle – with the magic of the world. Once I had a better idea of the magic that is present in the world, I was able to build around it by asking some basic worldbuilding questions. (You can read more about it in this post.)

What started out in my mind as a pseudo-Victorian-steampunkish world soon became a late Renaissance/early Enlightenment type of world. This meant more research (obviously) and trips to the local library (poor old me…). That change in the world, along with changing the names to turn it into a complete secondary world really brought the world of Nisamy and the other countries to life for me.

I can’t, however, say that the map I’ve drawn so far looks like much…

Capture-Nisamy first map

… it definitely needs a lot more work! But it is a place to start and gives me an idea of what I have to deal with.

At the moment I have the first draft of the macro outline of Porselein done and will be working on my homework for my writing course (for which I’m writing this novel) before I review the whole outline. That will also give my subconscious time to mull it over. Now you may be curious as to what I’m writing for the homework – all I can say is that it is a very important scene that takes place in the “store” of the Memory Sellers.

Though I am not 100% happy with my outline, a second and third pass should fix the problems. I just have to keep on reminding myself that what I’ve written in the first/initial draft or outline isn’t carved in stone.



By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.


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