Michael had started a post for you last week, but computer troubles are delaying his ability to complete it. The working title I saw was "The Cost of Everything," and I took away from our discussion that it involves how to determine what anything might cost in your fantasy fictional setting, whether it be for literary or gaming purposes. Like me, he's stretched a bit thin these days, but this is the kind of grindy subject he likes to tackle. Economics just makes me want to gnash my teeth, but thinking his way through this stuff helps him relax. I'm happy to let him go for it because he's also pretty good at it.
Lately, my thinky-thoughts have tended to drift to the vast southern continent of Menekhal and the empire of Sudaan, because they are the environs for the first Demon Gate story. We have done quite a bit of talking about Menekhal/Sudaan for years, but I found out to my dismay that we'd written down very little of it, and I'd been operating based on what I could remember -- and these days, that is just a NO GO. So, I've been finding time to write down what I remember, while I can still recall it, and using it to anchor my storyline.
In these latter years, my external memory storage is called "Evernote." In it, I've got notes on everything from the human nomads to the wood elves and the fae, from the ecology of high desert prairies to the biology of giant insects, on language development for three different languages, on the magitech physics of arc rings, a few character backgrounds, some playlist suggestions and timelines for when these eight stories occur as compared to what's going on with the Fire Mission stories, Raven & Iris, and others, and others. I've got a pretty cool mind-mapping app on my tablet that allows me to input this information and display it in ways that reveal interconnections I hadn't seen before. I've
used it to do my story outline and am terribly pleased to see it in visual form. I get to think about these interrelated subjects in new ways, and something new always comes out of it.
Eventually, all this work (ha! "play," more like) ends up where you can enjoy it, and probably won't even notice it unless you're developing a fictional world, too. But you know, that's okay -- if I've done my work well enough, this background stuff should not be a thing that readers notice. As an author, I want you caught up in the plot, not these nerdy details that probably look their best in encyclopedias. However, you're the kind of reader who's also into what it takes to create a world, and you want to see more of these grindy development things because it tickles your inner nerd too, stick around, and maybe sign up for our newsletter, because we've got LOTS more where this comes from, and like most creators, we're dying to share.