Universalis – First Details Emerge

If you’ll remember, I promised to reveal some details about my new project waaaay back on Sunday… but honestly, who can remember back that far? Oh, you can? Uncanny.

Now, I’ve been reticent to give much away, and I have a few good-ish reasons. The first is that I’m a fickle sort (as I’ve mentioned before, I’m sure), and I’d prefer not to start hyping something until I’m reasonably sure it’s on track to being completed. My other reason is that I believe mystery makes for good foreplay, and I intend to flash just enough skin to get you salivating.

As far as my fickleness is concerned, I currently have about 7,500 words of novel written, and another 15,000 words of notes. For those of you in the audience who don’t count words as you read (heathens!), that’s something like 22 pages of story and 45 pages of notes. It’s not much yet, but I can now confidently say that the book is on track and due in the next few months.

As for the second issue—my desire to parcel out information so as to most effectively arouse your interest—I’ll just have to dance through that minefield as gracefully as my feet will allow.

Alright, alright, let’s get with some tasty morsels already. As I mentioned before, Universalis (that’s just a codename, btw) is a high fantasy story set in an entirely new world, and I’d like to emphasize the phrase entirely new world. I’ve always felt like there’s a lot of recycling in fantasy; many writers seem content to stand on other men’s shoulders, to borrow their vision, to further mold and refine someone else’s dream through the lens of their own imaginations.

Nothing against it, but that’s not the sort of writer I endeavor to be. That’s just not who I am.

Instead, I approach fantasy with an eye towards deconstruction. My intent is to interrogate the standard tropes and motifs of the genre, figure out which features are truly fundamental and which are simply window dressing, then take those building blocks and conceive something uniquely my own. I want to create a story that fits comfortably within the genre, but at the same time stretches its boundaries into fresh and unknown territory.

With that in mind, let’s start with what you won’t find in Universalis. There are no elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, trolls, ogres, or hobbits… and neither are there alves, dwerfs, geeblings, urks, trauls, oogurs, or herbits. It won’t have any great rings of power, kings in hiding, long-winded prophecies, or a protagonist secretly of noble blood. You absitively posilutely 100% will not encounter a single werewolf or vampire, glittery or otherwise.

What you will find is the answer to this question: if a civilization had access to vast magical powers beyond our imagination, just how far could they go?

…and that’s your tidbit for this week.

As I approach the end of the story’s first movement, I’m also starting to think about the marketing and distribution, and one idea that’s beginning to gain some purchase is releasing the first section as an introductory short. Would you be interested in reading the first 20-some-odd pages of a novel still in progress? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time…
~Chris

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