What do rocks have to do with worlds, you might ask. Well, it depends on who you ask. If you ask a geologist, he will tell you that rock is “is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of one or more minerals or mineraloids…..the Earth’s outer solid layer…..is made of rock”. In short, our world is built on rocks.
Very useful. Ask the musician and he’ll tell you………….well, we’d better not ask him. Ask jeweler, he’ll tell you that stones have been around for millennia and that whole economies can run on them. Ask a metalurgist or a steel magnate and he’ll tell you that ore (metal-bearing rock) built the modern world, with steel and other metals. Ask a farmer, he’ll tell you that rocks are a scourge of agriculture.
But I’m an author and none of those answers suit me. Rock < World. A mathematical equation? No, it’s an author’s equation.
To an author of high-fantasy, God is in the details. A high-fantasy author must create an entirely new world, one which is not only new and exciting, but one which is believable. It is a difficult task, even for someone with a good imagination and plenty of time. But what happens when you get stuck with writer’s block, or just plain-old written yourself out?
You need details, descriptions, histories, and facts. All of these will be woven into your story, but you have to have them first. You don’t have to write them down, or build your whole world before writing the book. But you DO have to imagine them, before you can write them. That’s the tough part. And that is where ‘rock < world’ comes in.
Rock<world. One rock can be a whole world. Don’t believe me? Pick up a rock. Go on, you, outside, NOW!! Find a rock. It can be any size, but the larger the better, but you need to be able to hold it in one hand. Can’t find a rock? Fine, find a picture of a rock on the web. It’s not too hard.
Look at that rock. Staaaaaaare at it. Think about that rock. (No, I’m not playing Zen Master). You’ll start to imagine things, things that can be written out, things that are the stuff of epics. Every rock in your fantasy-world can tell you a story, if you are willing to listen.
That arrow-head shape? That’s where it was broken from the corner of the steps of the fortress-city Sin-zhasai, during the War of the Faith-breakers in 78 E.L.
The smooth edges of the break? That’s because it rolled downriver for twenty leagues, dropped into the water by a child as he played with his sister, 100 years later, in his village that was built atop the ruins of Sin-zhasai.
That slight reddish discoloration near the point of the arrow-shape? That’s blood from the time it was used as a hunting weapon by Finras Dur as he struggled to survive the Endless Desert, abandoned there by his traitorous sons.
What’s on your rock?