World Building in a wiki

Wiki time is better than waiting time.

In my view, there’s no worse time than the period between sending off a manuscript to your editor and when you receive it back.

Due to the deadline and human’s being good at always needing every last minute to complete such a thing, you are invariably very busy up to the end.

Then it just stops dead.

You are left holding all the regrets of things you didn’t do, or living with the ideas bubbling up from the space your brain now has.

And there’s nothing you can do.

That’s how I’ve felt over these last weeks since my manuscript ran away from home.

So what do I do?

I use the time inbetween to update my world wiki. What’s that you ask? Great question. Writing a fantasy series requires a lot of world building, and information that develops as the series unfolds.

As much as I’d like to think the computer in my head can remember everything, it can’t.

My wiki contains everything about each realm (country) within me worlds, incuding their history, type of government/ruler, economy, people, cities, towns, geography etc.

Then there’s all of the characters and their profiles, which includes eye colour, which hand they prefer, skin color, hair colour, preferences, quirks, you name it. If it’s part of their character profile, I store all of the detail in the wiki.

Then there’s plot threads, other pieces of information and detailed descriptions of locations that appear within the books.

All of this helps me, especially when you are deep in a chapter or scene and you can’t recall a feature of a place, or mannerism of a person.

Maintaining the wiki it is quite a task. I didn’t update it after the release of Fool Me Twice, which meant having to go back to the book instead of the wiki to confirm key things while drafting Spire Of Fools.

Thus, I am ensuring that I get it up to date now. Once Spire Of Fools is published the first task before Book 4 in the series is begun will be to repeat this exercise.

I use a piece of web software called Roam Research, which is a bidirectional wiki – meaning it links in both directions automatically. I.e. if I link from Content A -> Content B, it will auto link back from B -> A.

This is incredibly helpful and means the linkages build a graph of knowledge about the series that would take a person too long to do.

So that’s what I have been doing of late.

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Author’s Log 0408.23

Oops this is almost like a 6 month update.

At the begining of this week the manuscript for Book 3 of the In All Jest series, now named Spire Of Fools, was sent off to my editor. It came in around 260,000 words, which no doubt will get a little trimming, but was pretty on the mark for the size I felt it was coming out to be.

We’ve scheduled it for a November release, the exact date I’ll publish later.

The process this time around felt improved and as a whole I feel like introducing an outline early on for the shell of the story was a good move.

Key work of late: 

  • Completed writing second half of the manuscript
  • Edited entire manuscript
  • Sent to editor
  • Briefed and got designed the first in-world illustration of the book, set around Midderbuilt, and the Spire of Sand. Part of this illustration will be seen on the cover of Spire Of Fools
  • Had the cover of Spire of Fools designed, approved, and even had my mini cavnas version printed, it’s now hanging next to the other ones in the series on my office wall
  • Preparing a marketing strategy for the whole series and the launch of book 3

Author’s Log 1303.23

This year I am very happy with the speed of the updates to the manuscript. While you can’t be sure how long it will take with each review and new chapter written, you have a good sense if it’s flowing or not.

Currently, I’m in the second half of the manuscript and on all new content. My previous review of the first half is complete and the adjustments made have made me very happy with where the book is heading.

I’ve been able to improve the lot of several characters that weren’t going to get much time on show. I am looking forward to the next batch of chapters as I need to start bringing the climax of this book into focus.

Key work of late: 

  • finshed review of first half
  • writing second half of the manuscript