Writing: The Law of Lore

You want to start writing a story, so you immediately start on it. You put words on a page and the story flows. At least, until you get to a point where you need to explain what is happening.

This is the point where lores comes in. You need to have lore for every story. It gets easier if the story is set in locations that actually exists, or a historical fiction with portion of the history having already been set. But when you’re writing a fictional story from scratch, in a completely original world or universe, lores are much, much more than just history. 

An example I will give is in my new series, The Chronicles of Tearha. In the world of Tearha, sexism isn’t that big a thing. Women and men were treated the same and given the same opportunity, though there is an understanding that men would prefer certain jobs while women would prefer others. But at the end of the day, if you do pick a job dominated by the opposite sex, your gender is not a point of topic to the quality of your work.

So in a world without rampant sexism, certain phrases can no longer be used. “Oh boy/brother/man” and “bitch” are just some of the few. You have to come up with gender neutral terms and insults then. This might not seem so big of a deal, but it creates something very important in fiction story that most people don’t expect to be there.

Consistency.

Which is weird, because fiction is basically something that is a lie. So why do we need to make it so detailed? Can’t we just add things on as we go along? Well,  that’s because a complicated lie is easy to unravel.

Imagine you’re constructing a building. You don’t have the blue prints. You don’t have the calculations. You’re just building it as and how you’d like. It’s like stacking Jenga blocks. You take a piece from the bottom to reinforce the new lie from the top. Eventually though, everything will come falling down.

But it’s not just language and history that is part of the lore. It’s not even just the culture. There are the little things as well. I have a material in Tearha called aeronium. And only certain cultures use them extensively, because of their source. So you won’t find items made of aeronium to the west or north, because those places don’t have it.

Think of lores like the physics of the universe. Whether or not you have discovered them yet, they are there. They would not be revealed to the reader, but the fact that they are there, and have you writing around them, makes the world more whole. More whole by missing a piece. Does that make sense? I hope it makes sense. It’s late. I’m sleepy.

Two of the more important lores I’ve yet to cover in The Chronicles of Tearha are the Exseeders and The Battle of Gods. They are part of the near and far history of Tearha, and their stories are pivotal to quite a few of the more important mechanics of the universe. Enhancements, Titans, Spellblades, the epitaphs, and even the kingdoms. Though I’ve yet to reveal any of them, or even plan to reveal more than 5% of that lore, writing with them in mind creates a solid world, the feels like there’s more to it than meets the eyes.

Anyway, this week will be a busy week for my serialization. I have the afterwords of Keep Walking to write, 2 chapters of The Number 139 to publish in celebration of the end of Keep Walking, and of course, the epilogue of Keep Walking itself. So, until next time, remember the law of the lore, and create interesting worlds.

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5 thoughts on “Writing: The Law of Lore

  1. Really good points! It’s often about walking that balance of knowing all the lore, all the background material, and revealing what is necessary. I think it works really well in your stories generally. I never feel like you’re ranting about the theory of your world(s). Concepts are just mentioned when they need to be, and it feels like there’s a solid foundation.

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    • Thank you. I have to admit though, I sometimes get tempted to go on an exposition spree. It’s so easy to want to just write all the background in one go and have that as the ‘explanation’. But that’s just a short cut to lay the load off the storyteller’s shoulder.

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  2. When reading, a world is made real to me by the small details, but as a writer, I am aware that it is important to strike a balance and also to keep up continuity. Nobody wants to read a massive information dump if it serves no purpose. If something cannot hold up throughout the world, it is obviously not meant to be there no matter how great the idea is. While writing I burn through whole notepads and folders full of hand written notes and details I am likely to never use, just so I know how it would work. Seriously, when I die I hope somebody will delete my search history otherwise people will think I’m the strangest serial killer around!

    Some of my friends think I am being too much of a perfectionist but I argue that if I don’t know the world I am creating how can I expect a reader to believe it? I even have pages and pages of character studies, putting my characters in weird situations that they will likely not be put in during the story just so I can discover their personality by how they react. Sometimes I stick them in another established universe of another book, movie or TV show for example – sort of like a fan fiction that I never publish just to see what would happen to ‘test’ their limits – often in places that are so utterly different from the genre of that character’s story. Again I get hit with ‘but you waste so much time on that when it’s never going to happen you could have just used that time to write more – see you could have been done by now!’. So I was glad to read this article and know I’m not alone!

    I think as well when you read something you can tell how much thought the author has put into certain details. Yes, it is fiction but that doesn’t mean you can make everything up. Even if you are writing in a world with it’s own laws of physics you have to keep them consistent. Your analogy of building without blueprints is totally apt!

    I am looking forward to reading your work, especially since I can see you take great pride in the mechanics of your world. You obviously believe in your world, so I will too!

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    • Thanks! I do love my world very much. I think these are things that any writers who take pride in the craft will do, and we all will eventually or already have a search history that would likely send us to jail. Have you read Lyncia yet? If you’re into high fantasy, I think that’s another you might like.

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      • I’m into all kinds of things. I’m willing to read pretty much any genre, not just fantasy/high fantasy (although interestingly high fantasy is what I started out reading and writing as a kid and I then branched out). I had started reading Lyncia but I have not completed it. I did think about putting it on this months reading party but I have at least 55 chapters of Flocked that I promised to get through, and after that I aim to read some shorter serials. If I get a chance I will as I really enjoyed the few chapters I started with. My next project on Jukepop is going to be a high fantasy so it wouldn’t hurt to immerse myself in the genre for a while as I work.

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