I suppose I should preface this with some background info. I write fantasy. I've been into fantasy since I was kid, though I have done some normal fiction and even urban fantasy over the years.
This world, which I call Venosea (ve-NOH-see-uh), isn't the first of its kind. In high school, I created a world - a continent, really - where I could set my stories. It was your standard fantasy world (elves, dwarves, dragons, undead, and a magic system that was undefined at best), and it wasn't very well designed - unnaturally straight shorelines, odd features that were just tossed in for the hell of it (a ring of mountains penning in the ubiquitous evil being, e.g.), and all the city/nation names were chosen from the same pool of bland fantasy blah I'd thought up. I had some really basic info on some of the nations (like government, industries, and such), a bunch of towns and cities on a map, and not much else; I only came up with things as I needed them, which meant pretty much only the areas where the action occurred were ever developed. I set one initial novel there, then expanded on the world, creating new characters and new stories. After a second novel and a handful of short stories (both finished and not), I realized that it was kind of stupid and set it aside.
A couple years after college, I came up with a new story idea. I needed a new world, so I jotted down some ideas for nations, races, and such, and then (being the pantser I am), I wrote the first eight or ten pages in a notebook before I'd even figured out a real plot. Life also got in the way, and I forgot about it for awhile; additionally, I'd lost interest in writing after college, so I just let it languish.
Despite all that, this concept wouldn't let me go - every so often I'd pull it out and tinker with things as I was inspired with new ideas, but it never really went anywhere until the summer of 2015, when one scene popped into my head and wouldn't get out. I finally sat down and wrote it out, and it got me motivated to working on the story in earnest. Four months later, I had almost 70K words (only 8K of which were at the beginning), a rough map, and something of a plot... and at that point, I realized that I had to put it all on hold to flesh out the world. Yippee.
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