How did I start writing my current work in progress, The Foundation Chronicles? It started with designing buildings.
The main characters in the story, Kerry and Annie, were originally created for an online role play. I made Kerry, and a good friend of mine created Annie. We played these characters for a few months, but with most good things the role play came to an end and the characters were shelved. In the process of building the game there was a great deal of material the two of us developed, both characters and world-wise–
However, I was always pushed to show the buildings, to show the grounds, the show the towers. My partner in crime kept after me to make maps and building layouts, and being that I was the sort of person who loved doing that kind of thing, I obliged.
It was from there that the Salem Institute of Greater Learning and Education was built. It was from there that we named our covens, and the buildings, and figured out where everything went. It was a great learning experience for that fantastic summer of 2011.
Over the next two years I thought a great deal about writing about these character’s adventures. Even while working on other projects, the story of Annie and Kerry was never far from my mind. Kerry I knew, but Annie was always a problem for me, because I wanted to get her right, and she wasn’t my creation, at least not at the beginning. So it took a lot of thinking to get where I wanted to be with her, and I probably tortured myself for a year thinking about her motivations, her feelings, what she wanted the most.
So after I’d finished publishing Her Demonic Majesty in May of 2013, I decided it was time to tackle the tales of Salem. I didn’t want to start right in on Annie and Kerry, but rather I wanted to do something else that would help build The Foundation World, but at the same time introduce a number of characters that would end up in their world. I decided that for Camp NaNo, July 2013, I’d write The Foundation Chronicles: The Scouring, a story of a traumatic event that occurred just before the end of the Twentieth Century.
While speaking to Annie’s creator about the upcoming story, we started talking about Annie’s Lake House. This is an important location, a place that plays in a lot of scenes not only in my current book, but will have a place in the hearts of both children in their future. And I wanted to see what it looked like, inside and out.
So it was time to get into the software and design. I used a program that would allow me to make floor layouts and then show the building in three dimensions. I could even place furniture inside and imagine the scenes that hadn’t been written yet.
And there it all was, the house that little spoiled Annie pestered her father to build. With living room and dining table and kitchen, a library and a private bedroom, and the loft guest area overlooking the ground floor below. And the wall of windows facing to the south, keeping the house illuminated from morning to nightfall.
I showed it to Annie’s creator and she loved it, even going so far as to say it was perfect. To hear those words made me feel wonderful, and empowered me to prepare to get my world ready–
Because if I was going to write the story I wanted to work, I needed to build something else: my Great Hall. I knew it in my mind, I saw it in my imagination, so it became necessary to lay out with floor plans that would display it as I’d displayed Annie’s Lake House.
I wasn’t able to created it fully, because my computer couldn’t handle all the rendering needed. But I did most of it, and . . . it was so worth while.
I had building all created: I had my Atrium and Rotunda, the Library, the Security Center and the Instructor’s and Headmistress’ Offices. There was the Clock Tower and the Transepts, the Hospital and the Dining Hall. It took me about a week of work, but when I looked at this building, I saw my Great Hall.
I was just about ready to write. Except–
I needed a school.