Damian: On Writing- Some History (with spoilers)
I should explain that there are two series of books in the works. Pyre of Dreams is the first book of what I think of as the second series (Histories of the Void Garden). The first series (Histories of Allim,) tells the back story for some of the characters you will meet in Pyre of Dreams and lays the foundation for most of the concepts and story arcs. I did start at the beginning originally.
In 2011 I completed the first draft manuscript of The Histories of Allim, Book 1: The Fall of Allim. It was the first time I'd sat down and attempted a novel length manuscript. In 2010, that first draft started like this:
English is not my first language and as such I must thank Earl Starling for his assistance in bringing my work to fruition. My verbal communication in the Anglo Saxon parlance is fairly tolerable but the written form will always be horribly alien to me and life bares such joys now that I see little need to change this.
Understand that in telling, it is necessary first for me to illustrate my origins and that these origins will be so completely foreign in aspect as to be jarring to many of your sensibilities.
I hope that by the end of this discourse you will understand and possibly come to appreciate my decision to leave science to one side. It does not concern me that for many this decision will leave my life’s work in the realm of “science fiction,” far better that than others be left to replicate my mistakes or worse, compound them.
There is hardship in this world, depravity and injustice that I may never experience and there is so much suffering. As long as there is still choice, as long as there are still dreams, you can bring about change. If you have any kind of freedom at your disposal, you have a duty of care to the oppressed in the world to bring about change. I had a dream last night and you were there and together we saw the world reborn.
Chapter 1 - Growing up in Allim
I would stare at the sanctuary wall of the West Tertiary of Allim sometimes for what seemed like vast periods of each day during my formative years. The walls had protected us from the harshness of the void garden since the time of the eighth king and for this we were all taught to be thankful. The original sanctuary was partially destroyed by fires from the void garden during the 20th century and it was under the instruction of the 37th king that the second sanctuary wall was built, some 5 miles further in and writ larger in the hardest substance known to our science. The first wall was hewn from the rocks of mountains and penned in Allim at a size of roughly six million two thousand five hundred square miles, towering four hundred foot over the citizens as a constant reminder of the dangers of the void. The sanctuary wall that I grew up with brought Allim to a size of five million nine hundred and seventy eight thousand and twenty five square miles and stood at a height of one thousand feet; this second wall meant that the citizens of Allim would never be able to appreciate the heritage that was lost by the shutting out of the first sanctuary wall but the deaths of millions during the cataclysmic fires and the following floods were enough to guarantee the surety of the citizens that a loss of heritage was a small price to pay for our safety.
I was born in what was commonly thought to be the 170th century under the reign of the 289th king of the Supreme Monarchic Succession. My parents always talked of the year of my birth as being heralded by great tragedy in the family; my paternal grandfather, one of the greatest scientists in Allim died several months before my birth and his wife, the lightning rod of our family passed two weeks later. My father would describe his parents as these mythically large figures, striding proudly through the pages of history, helping shape Allim. My mother had no such stories of her parents and this was not unusual; girls were never brought up by their parents, instead being taken into the fold of the Matriarchal Divinity in their first three months. At no point would it be possible for parents to attempt to make contact with their daughters.
I had an idea of where I was going with everything and that first draft came together quite quickly (a couple of months.) I'm in the process of re-writing that particular origin story and a lot has changed over the course of 6 years with this material and these characters traipsing around my head. I will finish it fully once I have completed the direct sequel to Pyre of Dreams, but eventually, I plan on publishing that original take on the concept, and this blog will probably be the place for that.
All writing copyright Damian Huntley 2016