So What Is Arameth, Exactly?

Updated: Aug 29


So What Is Arameth, Exactly?


(A follow-up to “Discovering Arameth: What I Learned from Building My First Fantasy World)


(This post is a continuation of the Guest Post I wrote for Jenelle Schmidt’s “February is Fantasy Month” blog series.  You can check out Part I of the post here or at the link above.  Be sure to also check out the other “February is Fantasy Month” posts while you’re there!)


A dark force terrorizes Arameth, and those out to stop it have a serious problem: their prophesied hero is dead.


— Blurb excerpt from The Edge of Nothing, book 1 of The Lex Chronicles (Legends of Arameth)— Blurb excerpt from The Edge of Nothing, book 1 of The Lex Chronicles (Legends of Arameth)



We’re here to talk about worldbuilding, and my journey from endless notes and maps and planning to something concrete and tangible and publishable. 


To that end, here is a brief tour of Arameth, to show you what emerged from this world and how it all came together.


Arameth is a world best explained by experiencing the story, however, there are a few key things which make Arameth, well, Arameth:


1. The Map


When I first began worldbuilding for Arameth, I was at a loss for where to begin.  I knew that many fantasy authors had maps of their worlds, so I thought, why not start there?  I created the actual map and the history/background for Arameth simultaneously, using the map as a guide to keep track of how my worldbuilding was progressing.  I felt like I was drawing things into the map aribitrarily, but oddly enough, when I looked back at the map years later, it had exactly what I needed to finish fleshing out my story and its world.  Huh.   


Here’s my initial version of the map from 2005:



And here’s the updated version, included in The Edge of Nothing (The Lex Chronicles, Book 1) in 2018.  (Part of it is intentionally blurred, but I’ll explain that in a moment):


The storyline of the trilogy naturally progresses through different physical locations in the Arameth world.  I decided to reveal the map a little more at the start of each book, so that the readers are discovering the world alongside the characters.   By Book 3, the full map is included:



As I wrote the drafts of The Lex Chronicles in 2017-2018, many things changed about my story world, but the map scarcely changed.  The locations just took on deeper significance as I clarified my characters and plot, and the map itself became a huge element of how I plotted and planned the stories.


2. The Worldforce


Arameth is both surrounded by and infused with The Worldforce, a massive, unseen network of energetic, electrical pathways which functions similar to neurons in the brain.  In Arameth, everything is connected, because everything touches the Worldforce.


For many of the characters and groups of people in my world, this basic knowledge is as far as it goes; however, there are some cultures which have found a deeper connection to the Worldforce, a way in which it communicates with them… and they have discovered something not everyone in Arameth knows –- the Worldforce is not simply an atmospheric reality for Arameth, it is something more… and it is conscious.


The Worldforce has secrets of its own, but I don’t want to spoil them here.  Instead, I’ll just say that this is probably the single most important aspect of my Arameth worldbuilding… but it didn’t come to me until wayyy further in the process, when I realized my frantic, barely coherent NaNoWriMo attempt from 2016 could be another version of the Arameth world I’d created all the way back in 2005.  *Mind blown.* It wasn’t until I merged timelines, characters, and worlds that everything clicked into place… and Legends of Arameth was born.


3. The Symbols


Each book in the trilogy has a unique symbol on its cover, and the three symbols combine to make a joined symbol, which is on the spines of all three paperbacks as a symbol for the overall series:

My husband drew these symbols as a mock-up concept when he was making my covers (he is a graphic designer and marketer), and I loved them.  The more I thought about them, the more I realized that they could easily become an important element to my story. I replanned the way my books broke down to fit with this new symbolic concept, then went back and worked in the symbols as an important element of the story in the first book (which I’d already begun drafting).   However, even I didn’t understand the full depth of the symbols until I got further into the series, when some new ideas came to me about how to connect everything. The symbols ended up being very important to the larger story of The Lex Chronicles—their role in the series is one of those things that, had I thought it all up ahead of time, would make me feel quite smart.  Ha.


4. The Creatures


Barring some extreme environment not conducive to life, all worlds have creatures.  The creatures in Arameth all emerged from the needs of the world and/or my needs for the story.  I used to feel like this made some of them seem arbitrary or even like I was a bit of a “sell out” for planting things in the world simply to achieve certain effects or for plot purposes.  But… I’m over that now. I mean, what worldbuilding aspect isn’t there for some kind of purpose, even if it’s just because I totally liked the vibe a particular creature idea was giving off in that moment?   (Why do I have creepy lizard-bats? … Because Reasons.) 


Arameth has a lot of creepy creatures, to be honest, and I don’t quite know what that says about me.  (I’m not a creepy person, I promise!) But there are some less-creepy ones, too. The creepy creatures serve a purpose—usually to highlight danger or the heightened darkness of a world-not-yet-saved — and then, of course, I have my characters save it… or at least attempt to.  


The balance always tips on the side of hope in the end, for my worlds and stories, but I don’t shy from allowing my characters to experience danger and struggle, because that makes hope shine all the brighter in contrast.


Arameth, when my heroes first emerge in it, is a corrupted version of what it once was… a world darkened by evil but still infused with glimmers of goodness and still very much worth saving.  The creatures reflect that contrast and help to establish it in the story.



There are many creatures in Arameth, but here are some of the more prominent ones, along with what purpose they serve and/or how they came to exist in my story world:

Aiacs


     A large, winged creature thumped to the ground before the girl, arching toward her. It was dull grey, as large as a horse but with a narrow-muscled, lizardlike body with four long, claw-fingered limbs. It held its veined, bat-like wings outspread as it stood upright on its hind legs, casting a shadow over the girl in the sunlit field.

     The girl scrambled backward, tripped and fell onto her bottom, then scurried crablike on her hands and feet, trying to escape. The creature stepped forward, shifting its shadow over the girl once more. It almost seemed to bring the darkness with it, as though the shadow were emanating from within rather than simply being cast by it. Lex felt a chill creep down his spine as the creature leaned over the girl, opening its gaping jaws to reveal sharp, yellowed fangs.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)

The Aiacs are, like most things in Arameth, more than what they seem.  Lex quickly discovers the Aiacs are mysteriously connected to a man he encountered while being held captive, and that both the Aiacs and the man have dangerously specific interest in him.    The Aiacs existed, in a basic form, from my earliest concepts of Arameth; however, the mechanics of how they function in my world and their true nature and purpose developed over time, as my plot emerged more clearly.  They sort of built themselves, layer upon layer, as I wrote the story.



Lagaroths and Pippits


     “I’m a bit surprised we haven’t seen any lagaroths or pippits,” Lytira said suddenly.  “At least one of them has usually smelled us by now.”

     Lex flicked his head toward her.  “What?”

     Acarius looked back at Lytira behind him.  “What have I said about bad luck?  You always do this.”

     Lytira shrugged.  “I was just saying it’s unusual.”

     “What are lagaroths and pippits?” Lex asked, his voice coming out more panicked than he’d intended.

     “The pippits are kind of endearing, actually,” Lytira said.  “They were a common pet in Arcalon near the shore areas, though no one knows where they originally came from.  Arcalonians would let them roam outside the villages in communal herds, and the children would often bring some back to run around in their homes. Pippits nest in forested areas during breeding season, but they spend the rest of their time in sandy areas, where they dig burrows and feed off insects and whatever plants they can find.  Of course, when they got loose in Alleanza during an attempted trade arrangement and made their way into The Fallows, the unusual environment here…changed them a bit.”

     “How, exactly?” Lex asked.

     Acarius gave Lex a wide smile.  “Instead of being pocket-sized, herbivorous fluffballs, they are now wolf-sized, carnivorous fluffballs with a slight tendency for territorial aggression.”  His smile looked a little forced.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)



Pippits are the cute, fluffy hamsters of Arameth.  Unless, of course, they’ve been corrupted by the Fracture, in which case they’re terrifying, fluffy creatures of death.  

And lagaroths are, well…



     Of course, Lex thought. “And the lagaroths? I’m almost afraid to ask.”

     “Highly intelligent, man-eating lizard creatures roughly the size of horses,” Lytira said. “They are shorter though, of course; they run low to the ground. They usually feed on pippits, but they prefer the taste of people.  I think people may have been their natural diet, before the pippits arrived.”


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)


Lagaroths and pippits began from a joke made in my Alpha Team chat (the small group of trusted readers who read my first drafts of things) while we were discussing part of the first book.


Someone joked about how The Fallows (a scalding desert smack in the center of where my characters needed to travel) was basically my home state of Florida, minus the alligators and oceans…  and that I should throw in some giant, man-eating lizard beast for good measure. Honestly, I can’t remember if it was my joke or one of my Alphas, but I immediately said, “I’m doing it,” and the lagaroths were born. 


The pippits emerged when someone in the group said it would also be funny to have a cute, fluffy creature in The Fallows that’s actually vicious and deadly.  Oddly enough, the pippits ended up becoming a core plot device and created a defining character element for one of my side characters later on.


Wrasseks


     They had barely gone ten steps before the bulging shapes emerged around them, dark pillars rising from the sand like living statues. The horses reared and halted, suddenly surrounded by columns of black leather which, Lex realized, were actually creatures, their dark wings wrapped tight around them.  They emerged in a scattered ring around the three riders, blocking them in, then let out a hideous, unified screech, their wings snapping outward to reveal black, batlike bodies. Lex cried out as the edge of a dark wing swiped his face, slicing it open. 

     The creatures were large as cows but with furry, two-legged bodies and long, leathery wings tipped with small, clawed hands.  They surrounded the riders and their horses, long wings outspread and blocking them in.  The one that had sliced Lex leaned toward him. Its face was that of a giant bat but with dark, almost-human eyes. Its thin lips peeled back into a grimace as it eyed him, revealing yellow, needle-like fangs. Lex had the distinct feeling the creature was sneering at him.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)


Wrasseks are even more terrifying than they at first seem.  But the Wrasseks emerged in my story because, if you hadn’t realized, traveling through the desert for days on end is boring.  There was only so much “it was still hot and they were still riding” narration I could write (or the reader would stand to read).  The Fallows was meant to be a treacherous journey, but just summarizing “they nearly died from dehydration” didn’t feel right. To keep the tension up, I threw in some sinkholes and monsters, because when in doubt, add a monster, right?  And I didn’t want to just use the Aiacs, which I’d already used in earlier chapters. The Wrasseks were an intentional addition, not only to help craft the sense of danger I needed for The Fallows, but also as a perfect opportunity for a glimpse at the larger evil in the story, since Lex learns their presence in the Fallows is a sign someone has sent the creatures to attack him.   


Mare


     “I could eat a horse,” Amelia sighed as they reached the porch.

     As they breached the steps, Mare poked her head around the far edge of the house, where she had been grazing.

     Amelia glanced at Mare.  “Sorry,” she said.  She turned back to Lex.  “Does that horse weird you out as much as she does me?”

     Lex looked at Mare, who stared directly back at him.  Memories of her kicking and biting at him on the hill blurred with the white horse of his visions.  “I… sort of,” he said, his thoughts whirling.

     Mare stared at him for one beat longer before turning her nose back to the grass.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)


Mare is… a horse.  But she’s a horse with secrets, and one of my favorite creatures in this book.  Mare and her rider were the first scene I ever wrote for Arameth, and came to me almost like a vision, way back in 2005.  That scene was vivid in my mind, and even after the overall story of The Lex Chronicles series morphed and expanded and merged into something new, I knew Mare was still a vital part of it.  Her role in the story evolved into something much deeper and more interesting than I’d first imagined, but I always had a sense that there was something very special about her, even before I quite knew what that was. 


Sentinels


      “The Sentinels?” Lex asked.  

     “Oh, right,” Acarius said.  “How to explain… they’re… guardians, spirits that patrol the borders between life and death.” 

     “Like guardian angels?” Lex asked, a memory surfacing from somewhere in the past.

     “I’m not sure,” Acarius said.  “I’ve never seen one of those. Here, we have… guardian animals.  Animal energies which exist between realms.  They roam between life and death, between sleeping and waking, and some even believe they roam the Worldforce itself, keeping the barriers between Arameth and other worlds intact.”

     “And Jana has… access to these?” Lex asked.

     Acarius nodded. “In a way.  When an animal dies, it passes over to the other side. But some animals, the ones deemed worthy, remain in the in-between. They become Sentinels. These are said to be the noblest animals, the bravest… and those with the strongest connection to people still on the other side. Occasionally, if a relationship between an animal and its person is strong enough, it survives the divide. Or so some believe. The animal remains connected, watching over their human—or Sephram, or Alomman, or Ancient, as it were—even from the other realm. They come when there is need. They defend. It is rare, little more than a story. No one had ever seen it happen, to my knowledge. Until Jana.”


— excerpt from The Path to Paradox: The Lex Chronicles, Book 2 (Legends of Arameth)


They are not the primary focus of this series, or even main characters, but The Sentinels ended up serving a very important purpose in the Arameth universe.  And when The Sentinels appear in the books, Lucky and Lucy are among them, introduced as elements of the story yet still very much recognizable for those who knew them (and me).  They are a little piece of my heart on the page.


Morgreths and Cabrials


     To either side, among the rocks, something else emerged—thick-bodied, monstrous creatures twice the size of the wrasseks, with dark scales the color of dried blood. They slithered out onto the rocks, stretching out their red-scaled wings.  There were dozens, appearing across the cliffs. One of them flicked its tongue and hissed, and a sizzle of flames shot out then vanished, leaving behind a cloud of thick vapor in the air.

     “Morgreths,” Acarius whispered.


— excerpt from The Path to Paradox: The Lex Chronicles, Book 2 (Legends of Arameth)


     Atop the plateau, two other creatures emerged from the cave’s mouth, flanking the entrance. They were horselike, but grotesque, bald of hair and with dark, scorched-looking hide. Bits of their skin hung off, revealing red, pulpy flesh beneath.

     What are those? Lex wondered with a shudder. 


— excerpt from The Path to Paradox: The Lex Chronicles, Book 2 (Legends of Arameth)


Morgreths and cabrials are creature types which emerged—Morgreths in the planning process and cabrials as I wrote later scenes — to help craft and hone the mood of that specific area in my world.  They’re creepy. But they needed to be, because they live in an uninhabitable section of the map (or so everyone thought), where dark and scary things are happening.


Oriliaks


     Lytira shook her head.  “I do not know what you sense, then.  Oriliaks are said to be aggressive. They roam the mountains in packs.  They are like… giant boars.”

     “How giant are we talking about?” Lex asked.

     Lytira shrugged.  “Large enough to… ride.” 


— excerpt from The Ends of Exile: The Lex Chronicles, Book 3 (Legends of Arameth)


Oriliaks are a reminder that there are other creatures present in Arameth the reader might not see—just as there are tons of species in the real world that exist all around us, even though we may not encounter them.  I didn’t give the oriliaks a lot of thought; I just kind of threw them in, because I needed them as a plot device. But because I know my world so well, it was easy to think up a new creature which would exist in that region.  


Oriliaks are an embodiment of Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory.  Even though the world ended up later changing some as the story clarified itself to me, having all that historical, geographical, and cultural information for Arameth has been invaluable for me—my old notes are basically a giant Arameth encyclopedia I could reference anytime I needed, and I believe that helped to give my world a sense of depth.

5. The “Magical” Cultures: Sephram, Alomman, and Ancients


Arameth is a world of normal people, people without magic.  Except… it wasn’t always. And… well, it really isn’t, even now.   I can explain:


The three magical races of Arameth —  the Sephram, Alomman, and Ancients — share a common magical ancestry, but parted ways centuries prior to the start of the series due to a fundamental disagreement with how magic should be used.   The Ancients have all but died out by the time the series begins, and the Sephram and Alomman are surviving in a world which—because of a catastrophic world event two-hundred years prior — has forgotten magic even exists and does not care to be reminded, thank you very much. 


While some Sephram and Alomman live in normal villages, blending in among the non-magical humans in Arameth where they must conceal their magic, others have hidden out in small, secretive tribes where they can use their magic freely.  


Ancients


     Acarius turned to him. “I keep forgetting how little you remember,” he said. “In the normal sense, no, she’s not human, though technically neither are you.”

     “I’m not?” Lex asked, feeling he should be more shocked than he was.  

     “No.  You’re an Ancient, one of the magical races of Arameth along with Sephram and Alomman, though each race has a different ability.  Humans are non-magic. In fact, they don’t even remember magic exists, at least until recently.  But it hasn’t always been that way.  The Ancients caused that.”


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)



Alomman


     A few feet away from them, in the middle of the camp, stood a little girl no more than eight years old. Her face was turned upward to the sky, her eyes closed, her arms raised. The light of the campfire behind her cast a long shadow in front of her that seemed to dance as the flames flickered. And spreading from the girl across the ground, racing outward then dipping in and out of the earth at various places, were vines. Dozens of vines. They were coming from her.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)



Sephram


     “… Their magic is intrinsic, a connection to an aspect of our world.  They need no word or language to harness it, they simply will it and it becomes.  All Sephram and Alomman are born with the magic specific to their people, and they are limited to this innate magic.  Because the Ancients can wield spells, there are many things the Ancients can do which the Sephram and Alomman cannot.  But what they can do, they do better than the Ancients ever could.”

      “So, the Alomman… they do… plants?” Lex asked, unsure how to phrase it.

     “Alomman have the magic to call out to living things within the earth, for lack of a better explanation. They can bend the very soil to their will, and any plant within it,” Acarius answered.

     “Oh,” Lex replied.  “And what about the Sephram?”

     Acarius smiled. “You’ll have to wait and see,” he said, then rolled over.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)

The story of The Lex Chronicles forces all three distinct groups into conflict, allowing me to play with a lot of cultural, societal, and political dynamics while also having plenty of danger and conflict to work with for my main character, who inadvertently ends up on the wrong of side of pretty much all of them.


6. The Core


     “Huh,” Acarius said.  “Anyway, the Ancients are extremely powerful… though less now than before.  Since the Worldforce went crazy, the magical peoples have been weakening.  No one’s sure exactly why, but we think it’s tied to the Core.”


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)


The Core is an inaccessible mountain fortress jutting up from the middle of the Sea of Aram, and those who know it exists keep their distance.  The Core was once the site of The Ancients’ palace, when they ruled Arameth, and now there is a dark presence there, one which seems to be contaminating Arameth.  The Core was present on the map from its earliest iterations, though the way it connects with or impacts different characters changed as I reworked my world.  


The Core is the last place my characters explore on the map, and for good reason… but though they don’t see The Core in person until much later, its dark, foreboding presence looms large throughout the entire series.


7. The Console—What Changed Everything


     He paced in a small circle, turning his back on Lex for a moment, then spun around and stuck out his hand.  “I’m Nigel here, but Marcus also knew me as Luther, honorary member of The Gatekeepers, revolutionary scientist, government-sponsored technological genius, and the second traveler through from Earth via a brilliantly-engineered but terribly dangerous portal.”  His face pinched into a scowl.  “I wish I’d never made that blasted thing.”

     “Then why did you?” Lex asked. 

     “Why does a man do any of the crazy things he does?” Nigel shrugged.

     Lex stared. “I don’t—“

     “Love,” Nigel said flatly.  “I did it for love.”


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)


The Console.  This is the main way in which the second version of Arameth diverged from the original I’d started in 2005.  


Arameth was originally a self-contained secondworld fantasy—no portals involved whatsoever.   But when I wrote that frantic NaNoWriMo project years later (called The Console as a working title), I inadvertently created several characters who were near-carbon copies of ones from Arameth.  However, I placed those characters in a brand-new fantasy world which involved a portal device disguised here on Earth as a video game console (an accident waiting to happen, as you can imagine).  I managed to “win” NaNoWriMo, but then I had no idea what to do with the haphazard, mess-of-a-first-draft I’d created.


After setting The Console aside for a full year because I’d hit dead-end after dead-end with plotting and writing, I revisited it, and that’s when I realized—Arameth was the world The Console portal-fantasy characters portaled to and my characters from the new book were many of the same I’d created years before for Arameth, just in a different form.  


That realization was a massive epiphany which led to me merging several characters, meshing timelines and plotlines, and re-envisioning the larger world of Arameth—its bigger function and what exists around it—even though the central, self-contained world of Arameth itself barely changed at all.  What I now have is a whole fantasy universe, with endless potential for ongoing storylines… and my original world of Arameth is the hub, the magical piece which connects them all.


8. The Characters


The characters hold my strange world together and make it all work.  But the characters also impact worldbuilding elements, which in turn impact them as characters… I’m not sure it’s possible to fully separate the two.  


I love the characters in this series fiercely, but the story doesn’t always go easy on them.  


(Please direct any hatemail regarding characters’ fates should to the story itself, not to me; I’m innocent!) 


My Alphas, betas and other readers loved many of the characters, but here are some of the favorites (both theirs and mine):  


Lex


     The door slammed open and sunlight poured into the room, along with a half-dozen men. Farmers, Lex realized. They wore work trousers and boots caked with mud, and even in the dim room, Lex could see they were all tanned and muscled from labor in the sun. They were the type of people Lex might think of as decent, working folk, if they weren’t studying him like a pack of hyenas who spotted prey. They hung back, making a loose semi-circle in front of the open door. Other than the man who had shoved Lex earlier, none of them seemed to want to get close to him. Maybe they didn’t see him as prey, Lex thought; maybe he was a caged predator.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)


The protagonist of this story, Lex is a seventeen-year-old with an unfortunate inability to remember who he is or why he has awoken tied up in a shed, held captive by a bunch of angry farmers.   Though “amnesiac hero” is a common trope, Lex’s amnesia is not arbitrary; it ties to who he is and is vital to the overall story of The Lex Chronicles. Lex’s journey through this series is one of both self-discovery and outward discovery.  On the run for his life as the first book opens, Lex must decipher who to trust and how to survive while also struggling to find his place in an unfamiliar, sometimes unwelcoming world. He must learn about Arameth and the dangers he faces whilst also uncovering the truth of his own past, which turns out to be far more complex—and significant—than he imagined.

Acarius


“I wouldn’t do that,” the man said, his grip tight on the reins as the horse danced backward.  “She’s particular about strangers.  Give her some room?”

The way he said it, not quite meeting Lex’s eyes, did not escape Lex’s attention.  But Lex obeyed, taking a few steps back.  What was going on here?

The man seemed to sense Lex’s question.  He stepped forward, offering his hand.  “I’m Acarius,” he said.  


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)

A big-hearted horse rancher with surprisingly astute fighting skills, Acarius lives on his isolated ranch with his five younger sisters, whom he looks after in the wake of their parents’ death.  Like many characters in this series, there’s a lot more to Acarius than first meets the eye—particularly regarding his connection to Lex’s lost memories.  


Acarius was my protagonist when I first began creating Arameth—but back then, this whole thing was a middle-grade story and Acarius was like eleven years old.  A lot has changed since then, and the Acarius in the final version of Arameth is in his mid-twenties and not even the protagonist.  But he’s still my Acarius (only older and a lot cooler), and pretty much my favorite character in this series. (Just don’t tell Lex!)


Amelia


     After a moment, Lex extended his arm, unsure whether she wanted to shake his hand or help him up. Lex startled at how warm her hand was as it grasped his; there was a strange undercurrent to it, like an electric hum. He started to pull back, but she tightened her grip and threw her weight back against his, pulling him to his feet. 

     She dropped her hand once he was standing, and looked up at him. She was several inches shorter than Lex, and the dappled sunlight speckled her face as it tipped upward. She raised a dirty hand, shading her eyes, and smiled. “I’m Amelia,” she said, extending the hand not over her eyes.

     Lex was so focused on her eyes it took him a few moments to realize that this time she was trying to shake his hand. “Lex,” he said after a few awkward beats, and reached out to clasp her hand. At the touch of her, a jolt sizzled up his arm. He dropped her hand and stepped back, his heart racing.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)

Amelia is a mystery to Lex from the moment he meets her.  Though unpleasant circumstances thrust them together, Amelia and Lex soon become friends. Lex suspects Amelia is hiding something… and he isn’t wrong.  Amelia’s secret is perhaps the biggest of them all. 


Amelia emerged as a character in the NaNoWriMo The Console project and ended up surviving the revision purge to be recreated as a new version of herself in the final series.  She’s got a lot going on, more than even I realized at first, and her storyline grew into one of the primary, driving plotlines.  Though the entire story is in Lex’s POV, Amelia’s story is essential to the series, and becomes more and more relevant as the trilogy unfolds.


Nigel

     Lex knew Acarius was right, but–“Amelia is still too weak.  We can’t leave until they figure out how to help her.  Besides, where else would we go?”

     “I have a place,” Nigel’s voice muttered from under the covers.

     Acarius turned toward Nigel’s bed.  “You still have it?” 

     “Of course,” Nigel’s voice answered.  “Where do you think I keep my spare socks?”


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)


As one of my early readers said, everything Nigel does can be explained with, “because it’s Nigel.”  But how to explain Nigel himself? In essence, Nigel is that rambling voice in my head I usually filter.  His personality is somewhere near “Murdock meets the non-evil version of Jafar dressed as an old man,” with a little “Sword and the Stone cartoon-Merlin” thrown in.  Nigel is important to the story and basically a genius, but chances are if you met him on the street, you’d just think he was an eccentric old man who drank just a *bit* too much coffee that morning.


Nigel was always a part of my idea for Arameth, but he didn’t become the true version of himself until the Arameth-The Console merge I mentioned above, when I suddenly realized I’d written two separate versions of the same character. In my earlier versions, he’d been a bit cliché—your typical slightly-eccentric-older-and-wiser-fantasy-mentor. Once I merged the worlds, however, I realized there was a lot more to him.  In the rewrites, he became much more complex and a lot more interesting. 


Lytira


     Acarius burst through the doorway.  “Lex?” he said.  His eyes took in the bodies, the blood.  He paled and reached for the sword at his waist.  “What happened?”  Then his gaze hit the woman. His arms dropped and his whole body went stiff.  “Lytira?”

     The woman straightened from her crouch, and her hands opened and closed at her waist as though grasping the air.  “Acarius,” she said.  From the look on her face, he had been the last thing she expected to come through the door.

     Lex glanced between them.  The sudden tension in the room was suffocating.   What was going on with these two? But Lex had bigger things on his mind.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)

Lytira’s people are all about honor, duty, and courage in battle.  Trained from youth as a warrior, as all Sephram children are, Lytira is also next in line to be her people’s queen.  She would do anything to protect her people, even if it means leaving them for a time to face down an evil they don’t even believe exists.


Lytira was another of my earliest visions of Arameth.  I had her name and her basic character concept in my head for a very, very long time before I even created Arameth, and when I did my initial worldbuilding, I knew she would be part of the Sephram people.  Her actual role in the story, however, evaded me until the rewrites years later, when she finally took on a clear purpose in my story. She ends up being one of the main group, and is important in many ways to the larger plot, even though I tossed out a lot of my original ideas for her and took her in a different direction.


Jana


     The world tilted then righted itself again, and he was staring at a girl. The desert was gone, his horse was gone; there was nothing but grass and trees and sky and the girl… and him. The world had gone still. He ran one hand across his face, feeling the chafe of days-old stubble. He spoke and his voice scraped like flint; the words dissolved into the air before he could place them. The girl was not looking at him but past him, at something beyond. Wisps of blonde hair rested on either side of her eyes, framing them. Recognition hit him, along with a wave of longing. I know her, he thought. Excitement sang in his veins. He could not remember who she was, but he knew she mattered. He reached for her. Her eyes snapped toward him and widened in surprise. Her lips parted, as though about to speak–

     She vanished. The world went black. He was falling into nothingness.


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)

Jana often appears in this series in flashback scenes rather than in person, but she is extremely important to the overall story.  Gifted with an unusual ability, Jana’s full role in the story becomes clear as the series progresses, including her connection to Lex’s past and her part in the danger he and his friends face.


Jana was another of the characters from my original version of the story.  She ended up taking a much different role in the new version, but many of the initial character elements and scenes made it into the final product, just in a different form or context than I’d imagined.  


A side-lesson I learned from Jana:


After a lot of stress and rewriting the story so many times from all different POVs and starting at all different places in the timeline as I figured it all out, I realized something—nothing is wasted.  Every scene I wrote in Jana’s POV made me understand her and the world I was writing a little more, and though nothing ended up being told in her POV in the book, those “deleted” scenes made the world and the story a lot richer… even though I initially felt like I had wasted time writing them.  In writing, nothing is ever truly wasted. If I don’t end up using something in the story at all, I still learn something by writing it. (Even if sometimes what I learn is “Well, that didn’t work how I imagined—time to rethink this!”)


Lurian

     Lurian Stillwater scurried along the dark road.  A shiver passed through him, he pulled the hood of his cloak closer around his face. “Do you feel that, Mardegan?”

     Mardegan poked his whiskered face out of the collar of Lurian’s tunic and hiccupped, then burrowed back inside Lurian’s clothes.

      “Yes, you’re right,” Lurian mumbled.  He glanced up. The large moon above was pale and splotchy, like a dried-out sponge.   The surrounding sky hung darker than usual, as if a thick blanket had been spread over it.

     Lurian took a shaky breath. The night was moving, dark shapes shifting across the stars.   He looked down the road. Up ahead were the glowing smudges of lanterns lit in windows—the last, dying lights of a city preparing for sleep.

      Mardegan let out a little squeak, then scurried up to poke his nose out from Lurian’s collar.

      “I know, Mardegan,” Lurian whispered. “I know.”


— excerpt from The Path to Paradox: The Lex Chronicles, Book 2 (Legends of Arameth)

Though he doesn’t appear until Book 2, Lurian is an important figure in this series… but he began as an arbitrary side-character.   I created Lurian when I needed someone for my characters to interact with at a particular location in my story, but he asserted himself as far more important than that and ended up with his own side plot and an entire Prologue scene all to himself.   He was a favorite of some of my Alphas and betas, and it’s crazy to think he wouldn’t have existed at all had I not left room in my outline for pantsing parts of that chapter.


Steve


     Light and color exploded into vision as Lex smashed into a hard surface.  He felt Jana and Lytira thump down somewhere near him as whatever he’d landed on crashed to pieces under his impact.

     “Gah!” a man’s voice yelled.  

     A bunch of small, soft projectiles showered Lex’s face and body.  

     “Sweet bojangles!” the voice yelled again.

     Lex pushed himself upward, still a bit dazed, and looked down.  He was sitting on the broken pieces of what appeared to have been a coffee table, covered in… popcorn?  He plucked a piece from his lap and looked at it.  More tumbled down from his hair.

     Lex looked up to find a man huddled in a low crouch on a sofa in front of him, gaping at him, a half-empty bowl of popcorn held in one arm.  

     “Whaaaaaat,” the man breathed, like the start of a question his brain couldn’t quite finish. 

 

— excerpt from The Ends of Exile: The Lex Chronicles, Book 3 (Legends of Arameth)

Steve.  Like Lurian, he doesn’t appear until later, but oh how important he became as this series developed!  Steve makes his first on-page appearance in Book 3, but he emerges in the story much earlier. I can’t say much more about Steve without spoiling things, but everyone loves Steve.  He was an Alpha- and beta-reader favorite, for sure, and he has a bright future as a recurringly important character across not just these book but many to come. (He’s even made cameos in some other stories I’ve worked on since then, as well as some co-written projects.)


Marcus


     “No,” Acarius said, meeting Lex’s stare with a sad look.  “Marcus was estranged from his family.  They didn’t speak. But I knew Marcus very well. We lived together, travelled together, fought together.  He saved my life… more than once.  Jana, the girl in the visions, she and Marcus were in love.  She meant everything to him, for a time.”


— excerpt from The Edge of Nothing: The Lex Chronicles, Book 1 (Legends of Arameth)

Marcus is vital to the story but also a major spoiler to say much of anything about. 


However, I can say that Marcus was one of my earliest characters. He made it into both story worlds and was the primary reason I realized the two worlds were connected.  I couldn’t decide which one he belonged in, and my brain got stuck on Marcus, in particular, because his role in each of the stories was so different and seemingly so incompatible.  He couldn’t exist in both, yet I couldn’t cut him from either and still have two complete stories. His character eventually became a foundational element of the combined story… a story which couldn’t have existed had I not mashed the two versions of him together.  Sometimes the simplest answer is the best one, right?



Arameth—A Long Gestation, then a Hurried Labor


The Lex Chronicles was both immensely rewarding and hugely stressful to write.   It is the first of what I hope will be several series set in the larger Legends of Arameth story universe. After spending so much time building the world of Arameth—and truly believing it held stories which needed to be told—fear often crept in as I wrote this first series, anxieties over whether I was presenting the world in the best way, or whether anyone would even want to read the thing.  In the end, though, I wrote it because I needed to write it, because it wouldn’t let go of me after all those years, and because—after much prayer—God continued to nudge me to finish it. And when I did finally hit a stride on it, all three books just sort of poured out of me over a matter of months.


I don’t know what may become of The Lex Chronicles in the future.  So far, the series has a small (but enthusiastic) audience, far smaller than I’d originally hoped.  But their response has been encouraging—some have even messaged me to tell me how much they loved the books or how parts of the story impacted them.  When I think back or read over parts of what I’ve written about Arameth, I find things I could have done better, of course! I’m always growing as an author.  But I also find a world and characters I’m in love with, and I know, had I not written them, they would still be shoving at the edges of my mind, begging for release.   Doubt is an inevitable companion on my journey to grow as an indie author, but with Arameth, I believe I at least got some things right.   Arameth deserved to exist—that much I know, and the characters of Arameth and The Lex Chronicles deserved to have their story told.  I hope I did that story justice.



Oh! And did I mention the series just got new covers?!  I’m so excited about these!  (Isn’t my cover-designer-husband talented? 😉 )


(To find out more about The Lex Chronicles and Legends of Arameth, or to purchase the books, visit the series page on Amazon!)

Do any of you have any worldbuilding anecdotes to share?


Any questions or comments about something I shared above?


I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


#writing #worldbuilding #authors #plotting #LegendsofArameth #books #worldbuilding #TheLexChronicles #fantasy

I'd LOVE

to hear from 

YOU!

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • YouTube - White Circle
  • Pinterest - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle

Site Created By FIERCE, INC as part of a Fierce Media Project.     //    Privacy Policy