This is part one of two. I’ll go over the background of creating the setting of The Custod Chronicles, and a bit of it’s key details. In the next blog we’ll get more into the meat of things.
I started writing The Custod Chronicles in high school. It’s been a long trip. I’ve learned a lot from it, and though there are times I wish I could forget the whole story and then remember it to start from full scratch, I am glad for what I’ve learned. To take you behind the curtain I wanted to talk about the setting of this series and how it supports it’s many aspects and how it’s a template for future worldbuilding in my little fantasy world.
As a young author, I knew I wanted to write fiction. My first real writing was Lord of the Rings fanfictions (tell me in the comments if you want to learn more about an 8-year-old’s LOTR fiction.) And all my favorite books, movies, and TV shows were fantasy. So I ran with it from there, but I also knew I did not like the full medieval feel. I started blending time periods.
(If you are at all into world building, this is a fun and great exersice to get your brain going on making a unique culture.)
I started with my family of Custods. I took their personality and their character growth and though about what time periods fit them and them alone, ignoring if other characters wouldn’t match it. I did this mostly with dress (I was young and didn’t see I needed to think about more yet, be nice to me.) For Cedrick’s casual, I figured the farm boy look of boys from the 1830’s was just about perfect. White shirt, plain waistcoat (or vest if waistcoat sounds too fancy), and work pants and boots. The other Custod men fit this idea well for the start of the book. Then I thought about military dress. I spent months looking at google images of dress blues from the ages. And that also seemed to fit an 1830s theme.
But my young mind ran into a problem at this point. That didn’t seem very fantasy to me. After all, I didn’t want to use guns. I just find them not as magical. So what should I do? Then I found out something that, no joke guys, shocked me. I found out Harry Potter is set in the late 1900s. In my kid mind, the fact they used quills set them older. (But there also was a flying car, so what they heck child me!) I also was addicted to the hit musical WICKED which also has a feel of being older with women in dresses and not seeing many modern gizmos, to the point that when I saw the train in the train scene it took me out of the world for a moment, but then my mind adjusted to this mixed new world.
It was a new frontier on world building for me. I began mixing elements I wanted. I even debated having photographs be a thing, but I decided to wait. That will be invited in this timeline, you’ll see when and if Cedrick ever sees one, but for now, that’s out. Also more than a horse or other animals are out for now. Unless it’s powered by magic. And that’s when I had fun with their economy. No electricity, but what if magic was their version. A bit steampunk feel started to creep in.
And let me let you in on a sad secret of worldbuilding in books. Half the time, you only see about 10% of the world and culture we make. We try to hint at it best we can in the story, but sometimes, it just is in the background. That’s was blogs and podcasts like this are the best! It let’s us share this with you.
In the next blog, I’ll break up the setting into three different parts: Religion, culture, and economy. I feel like these three things will help us delve into the fun kind of secret side of the story and explore some fun world building and lore tools.
See you next time! In the meantime, stop dreaming.