Creating A Fantasy Community: Underwater Edition

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I’m 4 books into the Endeavor Series, and I’m starting to feel like I have a groove going now on creating fantasy communities.  So far my books have covered the following magical societies in America:

  1.  Phoenix Incandescent:  This is my launch book, so you get to have a glimpse of the magical world in the United States.  You know that there are mermaids and centaurs and birds and elves and giants and dwarves and weavers and elves and half-giants and hobs and gnomes.  (I’m going to feel guilty at 3 a.m. if I left any of you out.  Ooh, like dragons!  And the unitaur!)
  2. Malignant Transfiguration:  This book is about the dwarves, and also includes more on the weavers (you kinda learn more about the weavers slowly through all the books.)
  3. Apex Transcendence:  The birds.  Fly me away, Beau.  Fly me away.
  4. Opalescent Immersion:  (the one I’m finishing right now)  Mermaids.  Oh, the love.  The waves.  The salt.  The bare chests.  I’m so happy.
  5.  To Be Announced Later Title The Centaurs.  Yee to the Haw!

Today I thought I’d let you have a bit of a peek into my background thought processes while writing this book.  I didn’t geek out or anything.  *snort*  Now, you might think that I would be orderly and write a post on creating fantasy communities before I started on the Mermaid Edition, but I didn’t.  I’m weird like that.

Writing magical/fantasy communities is a BLAST and one my long list of favorite things to do as an author.  I adore it.  It feeds my mind and my heart at the same time, and well, that makes me giddy!

But it can also be overwhelming.  There’s so much to think of!  I mean, do mermaids have porta potties?  What do they do during their period?  Underwire or no?  Is there a fusion bra that works for the times when they want to swim underwater AND above water?  We all  know the ladies will need some serious support during those leaps and twirls above water!

As a side note, you cannot recreate those scenes in the bathtub.  You might be able to do small scale in your backyard pool, but I encourage you to have a privacy fence or thick skin.  The neighbors will talk.

Not that I know any of this from experience.

Anyway, even if you like to make lists and think for hours on how you should design your community, there’s always something to be learned.  I know, for a fact, that once I complete this book, I’ll think of something cool that I could have added that would have made the underwater world even cooler.  And I will slap down my tea cup in a gentle manner and say the naughtiest word I can manage in front of my kids.  That’s right, I’m bad.

Just kidding.  Or not.  Whatever floats your boat.

I’m feeling a little random today.  Pardon me.

Okay, so here is a partial list of questions I thought about and integrated into the story (sometimes it is obvious, and sometimes it’s hidden in the details) as I wrote my underwater community in Opalescent Immersion:

What do they eat?
How is their transportation system set up? (short and long distance)
What are their buildings called?
Who is in power (and where, and how much power does each palace have?)
How many of Triton’s kids do I talk about? (Good Golly, Miss Molly)
What about Poseidon? (Is he retired?)
How much of the underwater mythology do I weave in?
How does it feel to swim?
How and where do mermaids give birth?
What words will I use for mermaid terminology?
What about water pressure?
What will the transition between weaver and mermaid feel like?
How do they use the bathroom?
What does mermaid anatomy look like?
What jobs does each community have?
How do portals work underwater?
What sports do they participate in?
What does the community do for entertainment?
How does the community take care of its people?
Fresh water vs. Salt water Merfolk
What brutani exist?

Like I said, this is only part of my list.  I like to share tidbits.  That way I can still have some secrets while I toss out ideas that might help other writers.  This list can be tweaked, expanded, reduced, or ignored!

Writing underwater scenes has grown me as a writer, because I have to look at everything differently.  My characters cannot walk down the road anymore.  They have to swim and manage their fins and learn how to breathe and deal with the physical exhaustion that happens when you learn something new.  And all of that plays into the story line and how they deal with my latest baddie.

So, yes, I had to work harder for this society than I have for all the others.  It was challenging, but I hope that in the end it will be worth it.  Actually, it’s worth it now.  That’s the thing about being an author.  I do hope that my readers will find my obsessiveness worth it (and I hope this list spurs ideas for another writer!), but first, I find it worth it.  That’s the thing about my job.  It’s hard work, but it’s enjoyable.  And I get to look like a mermaid while I do it if I want!

Live Bravely
Love Strongly
Have a Swimmingly Good Day!

-AEM

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