Creating My Own Shared World

If you’ve seen the #REN3 hash-tag floating around Twitter, or seen some postings about The Rule of Three Blogfest, well you can thank/blame my co-hosts and I.  This month long creative writing challenge is running through October 2011, but it’s roots go much further back than when Damyanti Biswas, (Amlokiblogs) emailed me in July 2011.

She asked me if I would want to co-host a blogfest in October. She and I had become friendly starting with our mutual postings and commentary during the A to Z Blog Challenge in April 2011. I was flattered, but really wasn’t sure if this was something I’d want to do. I let it sit for a few days. I’m not that crazy about certain of these blog hops, which seem solely to boost blog numbers. Not at all what I am interested in: I want to write, and I want to connect with others who are serious about writing, not about blogging. There is a big difference, to me.

If I was going to be involved in running a blog fest, then it’d have to be something I’d really want to participate in. I will not join a “Post a Photo of Your Favorite Kitty” blog hop, or other such claptrap. If it’s creative, if it’s challenging, I’ll do it. That’s what I needed to make myself want to do this. I sent Damyanti my ideas in the hopes we could dialogue it out.

The idea of the Rule of Three came to me first: I am a professional storyteller and have an MA in Oral Traditions. Three is a powerful number, and comes up in religious scriptures, myths, legends, fairy and folk tales, fables…etc. You name it, it’s there. Plus, as a performer, there is also the Rule of Three when doing a set up for jokes and more. Two isn’t enough; four is too much. Examples of Threes: little Pigs; Bears; Billy Goats Gruff; The Tinderbox; the witches in Macbeth; the fates/furies; Holy Trinity; etc.

I also love Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon: the same story, told from four different POVs. Which one is the correct one? Why are there variations, from the different perceptions? Who is lying? Who is mainly telling the truth? It’s an amazing movie (and I still have to read the original source material).

Next came the shared world concept. I’ve loved shared world books for a long time (I’m not talking Fan Fiction): Thieves World created by Robert Lynn Asprin; Wild Cards by George R.R. Martin; Bordertown by Terri Windling.  That is not counting my first love of shared worlds: COMIC BOOKS!! There is a DC Universe, a Marvel Universe, a CrossGen, Image, Valiant, Kirby, etc. Universe, where the comic book heroes of the publishers can interact/crossover into other books. I love shared worlds. So many stories to be played with, all from the cooperative powers of the various authors.

You need a set “bible” to ground the world they live in, with some of the parameters built in. Once established, it can be open season within these parameters. It can grow more back story than was originally envisioned, expanding the world until it teems with the billion possibilities that stretch far beyond the one writer.  So…I created the town and environs of Renaissance:

Renaissance is an outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes (the TARGE, KRIS, and VILLEIN are the largest of routes, but not the only ones) pass through or by the town. The SCHIAVONA desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once lush forest (the CULDEES) lies to the East and South. A large river, the ESPADON, runs through the forest of ASSART, but it is not close by. The ROUNDELI Mountains are to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or not. Closer by are the smaller hill chain, the MAIN GAUCHE and the MINOR GAUCHE, that fed the mining, creating caverns (the KASTANES)  and passages (one particular passage is known as  HERIOT’S PASS) lie underground.

The town has had a number of identities throughout it’s history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to its Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.

At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.

EVERYONE has a secret!

Welcome to Renaissance.

Enjoy your stay.


Damyanti took to my ideas, and we just went from there. I’ve had to tweak a few things here and there (didn’t name all the geographical things at first, which was silly of me) and now, two and half months later, we have Sixty-Five writers sharing stories set in Renaissance. Already more lands and areas outside of the description above are being added, and how cool is that?

I love shared worlds. I wonder where this one will take us?

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