Trying To Wrap My Mind Around A Whole World

I’m hard at work revising and ripping through the second draft of this year’s NaNoWriMo project, a YA fantasy titled The Seventh Race. Here’s the working summary:

Six continents. Six perilous races. Complete any one of them in the allotted time and win prizes and acclaim. Complete all six in a row, and you become the first person in history to complete the Seventh Race – winning money, glory, and a chance at a far better life anywhere in the world.

Only one group of youngers is allowed to compete every year, and Ree is determined to win it all and save herself and her older sister from a life of indentured servitude. She’ll have to watch her back – the others are as determined as she is, and now they’ve all become targets. There’s a sinister reason no one’s won the Seventh Race in the thousand years since its inception – and the secrets unearthed could cost them their lives.

So, in other words, this one is epic. Lots of moving parts. It’s got a great, diverse cast of characters, six hellish races across all sorts of terrain, climate and physical challenges, and most importantly, seven different cultures and people I have to detail and define (six for the countries on each continent, plus defining the culture and mythology of the Elders, who disappeared a thousand years ago).

This is some Game of Thrones and Throne of Glass level world building. I have never taken on something this daunting. World building is one of my weaker areas, so I’m really challenging myself. I know these characters, I know their quirks, their secrets (even the ones they keep from themselves), I know what they hunger for and how they interact with each other. I have a good plan for each leg of the race, I have the pivotal scenes. What I need now is the landscape, the history, the culture, the defined morality of each group. The players are on the stage, but the background scenery is partially built, or still a little flat and one-dimensional. I’ll be spending a good chunk of my Christmas holiday fleshing that out.

A world is a big thing to write.

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