Winter and Vikings

When we announced Sojourn Volume 2, we also announced that this volume would have a theme: winter.  We told our authors that winter could be literal or metaphorical.  The story could be set in winter or it could deal with the themes of death and cold.  But winter had to be a significant part of the story.

We’re only a week into the submissions period, and I’ve read some amazing stories in this time.  What really interests me is how many of our authors have decided to borrow from Norse mythology and the ancient Vikings to tell their tales.

I suppose this was inevitable.  After all, the Vikings survived some hellish winters, and Norse mythology tells of Ragnarök, where one of the preceding events is the Fimbulwinter, or Mighty Winter.

Each story is absolutely unique, and winter is used in a different way.  But if you like the Vikings or Norse mythology, you will absolutely love Volume 2.  And if you don’t, well – you’ll still fall in love with the amazing stories.

Intro to Worldbuilding Series

Okay so here’s the plan: I am going to show by example. I have a lot of thoughts on worldbuilding crammed into my head and instead of giving advice I would rather like to teach through example. I have finished the rough draft of my Sojourn V2 story and when I wrote the fantasy story I created a whole new universe for it to exist in. I made it up as I went along and anything that did not work with the story I threw out. I have a vague conception of the world, but that is where it remains, vague and nebulous. Once or twice a week I will post some new development on the world. Here you will be able to see me go through the creative process and hopefully along the way learn something, find inspiration, or learn what not to do. I think it will be a lot of fun.

Brief Thought on Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding has always been one of my favorite hobbies. Ever since I was first doodled out a fantasy map on the kitchen counter top when I was eleven years old, I was hooked. I think my early writing career actually was hampered because I spent so much of my time worldbuilding (not much loss, since most of the stuff I wrote back in middle school was not that good anyway–I was still learning). The greatest part of worldbuilding to me is that brief moment, maybe only a second or more, when you believe in the world that you have created. Not in any delusional sense, of course, but merely a suspension of disbelief. When the world is so varied,dynamic, layered and intriguing that for a moment it fools the creator, that is what I live for as a worldbuilder. That visceral moment when I lose myself in the work to such a point that I have to remind myself that I made it up in the first place. For that brief moment the names snatched form the random name generator become an organic name derived from a specific language of your world. For a few seconds the geography, that is just a jumble of lines and labels (that might as well be written with crayon for how unprofessional it looks), suddenly becomes a window into a living and vibrant landscape. For a single heartbeat the history of the realms that is a bastardization of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire (that you half remember from a History Channel special) becomes a dynamic and living account of the achievements and failures of the peoples of your fictional world. I call this the harmony moment. Its the moment when the collection of documents that make up your world click together and take on a life of its own. That is what I strive for in both my fiction and my worldbuilding–the moment when it surprises even me.

Six submissions in the first week!

I knew the Fear the Boot community was really into Volume 1, but I guess I hadn’t realized just how excited they were about the anthology in general.  When we made the initial announcement that we were already thinking about Volume 2, all fifteen authors from the first volume were interested – but so were at least a dozen more.  So far we have over thirty people who have expressed interest in writing for Volume 2.

The submission period opened up on April 1.  Maybe choosing April Fools’ Day was a bad idea, but I hadn’t thought about that in advance.  But it wasn’t a joke on our end, and I’m pleased to say that none of our authors sent us any gag stories.  We did have one minor running joke about making the entire anthology bodice-ripping romance stories, but that died down pretty fast.

Today is April 4.  That means submissions have been open for less than a week.  And we’ve had six people already turn in their initial drafts.  I cannot express how exciting this fact is to me, especially when you consider that five of those authors are new to Sojourn.  So far I’ve read through three of them, and they’re amazing stories – especially considering that they’re early drafts.

If you’re not yet excited about Volume 2, you should be.

Hello and Welcome

I am Ryan J. McDaniel and I am an editor/writer for Sojourn: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction. My contribution to what was then called the Fear the Boot Anthology was getting the initial momentum going. So you could say that the anthology was my brain child. My main function will be to blog about Sojourn, but I will also talk about writing, editing, storytelling, inspiration, and other great topics such as worldbuilding.

I swear I will never use this blog to vent about obstinate writers that will not bend under my editorial will. Never… I swear.