Welcome to my A to Z Challenge 2019 posts. This year I’ll be writing about the world of Kinyal which is the setting of my epic fantasy novels and short stories. These posts offer insights into the world’s history, locations, and factions, but do not spoil any of the events or secrets from the novel.
You don’t need to read them in order, and as the challenge progresses, I’ll do my best to add links to related topics for each post.
The basis of a complex world building
When it came to creating Kinyal, there wasn’t just a single idea behind it. I took several “seeds” of things that at the time seemed appealing to me, enhanced them, and then started figuring out how they fit in together. Some ideas had to be altered to be less cliche or to match other ideas, and the cause-and-effect chains between them did the rest. Here are some key points that led to creation of Kinyal.
My first idea for the magic system was the simplest of thoughts: I want two opposing magic systems, something like light and dark magic. Of course, “good” and “evil” magic is probably one of the most overused cliches, but it served well as a starting point. What I needed was one kind of magic to be perceived as evil, and that not only gave the foundation to the arcane and high magic schools, but also sent me down the creative path. I needed to figure out how they are different and what caused the arcane magic to be considered “evil”. In the end, an idea of another world, filled with magic, inhabited by another species, gave me all the answers.
One idea leads to another. I didn’t want to have religion in my story, especially that in fantasy worlds gods like to actively meddle in people’s lives. But at the same time, it seemed part of a human nature to find something to worship… It wasn’t difficult to see how powerful, magic-controlling beings from another world would be considered deities by the simple population. Even if at some point it became clear yalari weren’t gods, many could still argue there were different kinds, and not all of yalari are what commoners and high mages called “demons”. This, let’s say, “double standard” or “rationalization” is also a part of human nature, so it also fit in well.
Using yalari also helped me to tie all the elements closer together into a consistent world rather than trying to consider how the presence of another group of powerful beings affects everything else in the world.
I had more ideas I wanted to fit into the world. One of them was two kingdoms, one had magic addicted people, the other used magic in creative, unorthodox ways. In my initial idea, they were connected, maybe one being an old colony of the other, but as they became kingdoms of Devanshari and Tivarashan, my ideas changes to better fit all the elements of the world I already had.
Other ideas didn’t make it into the story, because they didn’t fit the world, or I only took bits of them, changing the initial concept drastically (as it was with the Tivarashan kingdom). For example, the idea for the duo of my main two characters came from a high fantasy idea-snippet of a dark mage and a magic-resistant orc exploring ancient ruins in search for lost artifacts. Of course, the dark mage became and arcanist, and since other humanoid species don’t exist in Kinyal, the orc became a mage killer, with a nicely-fitting reason for his resistance to magic, connected with what I already had.
The big picture
Over the time, the tiny ideas grew and connected with each other through cause and effect, creating a net of dependencies and giving space for developing all the different factions with their own history and goals. That of course, led to more plotting, leading not only to a complex world, but a multi-POV, multi-book story idea. And there’s space for even more stories in Kinyal.
If you’d like a taste of the world, my free collection contains two of the stories from my free short story collection are set in Kinyal. The Arcanist and the Mage Killer and Scourges, Spells, and Serenades tell of the early adventures of Kamira and Veelk, the main protagonists of the upcoming novel.
You can get the collection by signing up to my newsletter.
All posts in this year’s challenge (links updated with new posts):
Arcane Magic || Barriers and Circles || The Cataclysm || Devanshari || Essence || Free City of Kaighal || Gildya Magna || High Magic || Imbued Stones || Juamha || Kamira Altrainne || Languages || Mage Killers || Nightflies & Other Creatures || Origins of the Idea
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games.
Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English.
Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.