Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or on her author website.
As a storyworld first writer, I tend to get excited about the little things. I love coming up with details that make my world more interesting. That's partly why I like drawing maps so much. But maps are only one of the extras that I like to create when building a new storyworld.
I'm in final edits right now for King's Folly (and it's various ebook parts), and that's keeping me immersed in all the fun extras I made for this series. Let me show them to you one at a time.
Family TreesThis is epic fantasy with a huge cast. When I was writing my first draft, I started to get confused about my own characters. So I created a family tree for the two most important realms in my story where most of my cast comes from. It's nothing special and won't go in the book, but it really helped me as I was writing and rewriting. (Click on it to zoom in.)
FlagsMy storyworld has five realms in it. Armania, Sarikar, and Rurekau are the father realms or patriarchies, and Tenma and Magonia are the mother realms or matriarchies. I wanted each realm to have its own flag with colors and an image that could be used on uniforms and shields. So I Googled all kinds of clip art until I found heads I liked, wings I liked, roots, etc. I used the various images as inspiration when I put these together. And then for fun, I also put these flags on my map.
Sigils/SignetsI wanted each king to have his own sigil that his personal guards would wear and that would be the seal he used in his signet ring. I designed these using the same procedure I mentioned above. I showed these to the cover designer for King's Folly and he used them on the book. That was a pleasant surprise. (Look at the red symbol in the King's Folly cover to see my first sigil in the row below.)
RunesThe magic system in my storyworld is a bit mysterious to the reader because it seems to work differently for mantics in different realms. Magonian mantics use runes as part of their magic, so I drew these for inspiration. I never actually used these runes in the story beyond mentioning the ten mantic runes the Magonian mantics use, but drawing these was the first place I used both shadir and cheyvah, which both became important parts of my story.
Religious LoreThe hand is an important symbol in my storyworld. Since my character Trevn is studying to be a priest, he must learn about all the religions in the Five Realms. This is an image I created to help me teach Trevn what he needed to know. (And in the process, it helped me figure out the differences between my different religions.) This image will appear in the King's Folly book.
Darkness Reigns + The Heir War + The End of All Things = King's FollyA lot of people are confused by all my book covers for the Kinsman Chronicles, so I want to explain how this works. My publisher is experimenting with this series. The trilogy will have three print books: King's Folly, King's Blood, and King's War. Each print book will also be broken into three separate ebook parts for those readers who don't want to wait a year between books. As the picture below shows, King's Folly is the full book one that includes three ebook parts: Darkness Reigns, The Heir War, and The End of All Things.
You Can Pre-Order Darkness Reigns for FreeTo kick off this new fantasy series, my publisher is making the first ebook part free on Kindle. I'm pretty sure that in time, it will also be free on other ebook platforms like iTunes, Nook, and Kobo. But so far it's only free to pre-order on Amazon Kindle. If you're a Kindle reader, click here to pre-order Darkness Reigns, which will be delivered to your Kindle on December 1, 2015.
How about you? What interesting extras have you made to help you write your book? Ever make a family tree or draw symbols for any reason? If so, share in the comments and tell us what you made and how it helped you in writing your story.