Welcome to another World Builders! Today, I’m super excited to welcome Jamison Stone, world builder extraordinaire.
Jamison is the Director and Lead Writer of Apotheosis Studios. In addition to his professional career, Jamison is also a Trustee, Committee Chair, and grant writer for the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, an organization which provides grantmaking programs in education, youth development and early childhood development.
Jamison today shares not just his process, but the spectacular maps he has drawn for his stories, and I’m thrilled to let you know that Jamison will be back at a later date to talk more about his world in detail.
Here is what Jamison had to say when I asked him some questions on his world building process. (And enjoy the maps I’ll share throughout the post.)
What is the appeal of world-building to you? How does it compare to the importance of character and plot? What aspects of the world do you have to figure out before you start a story? What do you allow to unfold as you write?
First off, John, thanks for this interview regarding world-building as it relates to my upcoming Fantasy novel RUNE OF THE APPRENTICE. It’s a pleasure to be able to speak with you about the creative process and a passion we both share so deeply—epic fantasy worlds!
To answers your question, I am a “Top Down” writer, which means that I create the rough outline of the world first before I dive into the actual story. Because of this, the characters are very much shaped by this world, but during my “meta” world planning process, the world is also shaped by how I want the main characters’ stories (character arcs) to unfold, too. It’s a give and take (interconnected) process. Despite this, it all begins with the world first, making the importance of world building paramount in my particular storytelling method.
As an example, in RUNE OF THE APPRENTICE I used C.G. Jung’s psychology of archetypes and the collective unconscious to adapt Joseph Campbell’s theory of the Monomyth (updating it to be relevant for Millennials who now live in a “Collective Technological Age”) to creat the foundations of a contemporary “Modern Myth”. As I wrote the actually story, however, I needed to constantly reshape and mold my “Hero’s Journey” adaptation to fit with the specific character arcs of RUNE’s hero and heroine, respectively.
In short: In RUNE, these two aspects of the story—World and Character Arc—are intimately intertwined and constantly evolving together.
What do you enjoy the most about world-building?
Other than experiencing that world myself first hand, addressing the needs our current adolescent population—more specifically, addressing their lack of real mythic resonance which relate to their daily lives, and their deep psychological need for a relevant mythology.
By looking into how complex internal structures of inspiration, archetype, and dream relate to myth, I investigated how the components of myth have the potential to positively and deeply influence the current collective of the mythically deprived modern adolescent. More specifically, I believe that to the modern youth, epic storytelling (video games primarily— however, film and literature, as well) provide the possibility of a new and unparalleled mythic experience of engaging one’s personal and universal archetypes to nourish the individual and society. RUNE OF THE APPRENTICE is the first step in that ultimate goal.
In your opinion, what is it that makes a believable and immersive world for a fantasy story?
Through myth, universal archetypes are unified in a tangible personal and social manner, creating common values and cultural goals. Humans use internal archetypes to understand not only their world itself, but also their relationship to it. I feel that all Fantasy novels strive for this, yet we as a world and as a culture lack a truly unifying modern myth to guide our youth and thus lack any sort of unifying socio-cultural mythos to live by. As fantasy writers, this is our task.
One might then ask, “Well, then what would be necessary ingredients to create a modern myth, equipped not only with a deep understanding of archetypal symbols, but also skillfully used in a framework relevant to us in this technologically tumultuous and internally conflicted age?”
It is my personal opinion that the medium of the video game has the potential to be the highest evolution of storytelling—world building—providing a mythic experience unlike any that has come before. This is due to the fact that video games incorporate individual users’ input, facilitating direct interaction between story and player and actually pose tangible “worlds” via bio and haptic feedback. This level of interaction not only vastly deepens the user’s experience and interest, but also allows the user to experience the outcome of their direct personal choices in a mythic world in a much more tangible way, therefore enhancing personal integration and self-understanding. This updated medium, if skillfully used, could not only make the Hero’s Journey a true and relevant modern myth, but through incorporating an individual user’s choices, could facilitate a unique and powerfully personal experience of the Hero’s Journey. This would result in the creation of an immersive story of mythically epic storytelling proportions such as never before experienced by human consciousness.
To lay the foundation for this mythic user/word integration I wrote RUNE OF THE APPRENTICE as an introduction to the Mythic world I call THE NUMINOUS UNIVERSE. Due to RUNE being in the medium of the written word, it is unable to penetrate into the psyche as deeply as a video game such as NUMINOUS (which integrates personal user choice and bio/haptic feedback) but I feel it is a very good starting point and segue.
What tips do you have for aspiring fantasy writers on how to create a solid, believable world?
Live there in your mind. Let the world permeate you—and you the world. If, through dream, inspiration, and imagination, your mythic world can become as familiar as your waking one, you are on the right path.
John, thank you again for this interview. It is a pleasure to be able to share some if my thoughts surrounding world building and epic fantasy. If any of your readers are interested in making the journey to experience my Mythic World first hand, all they need to do is pre-order RUNE OF THE APPRENTICE on Inkshares. I look forward to seeing them there!
Fans of epic fantasy, I second that last statement! I discovered Jamison’s work at the start of the Nerdist Collection Contest and was just STUNNED by his maps and the immersiveness of the world he created through his stories.
In a world where magic, technology, and nature have merged, the few who can control Runes hold dominance over all of creation. All naturally believe that Aleksi, a sixteen-year-old orphan, was blessed to be born with a Rune embedded in his palm, but that’s only because they don’t know the truth—Aleksi’s Rune is so powerful, it’s killing him.
Asura, a brutal emperor who uses Runes to conquer entire continents, will stop at nothing to kill Aleksi and claim the boy’s power for his own. With his Rune burning its way through his body and assassins trying to cut out his heart, Aleksi is forced to seek out an infamous man wanted for crimes against humanity: Aleksi’s missing mentor, Rudra.
With visions of his parents’ murder haunting his days and the prophetic whispers of a young captive priestess illuminating his nights, Aleksi will only be able to unravel the mysteries of his past, rescue the girl in his dreams, and defeat the most powerful warlord the world has ever known if the one thing keeping Aleksi alive—his Rune—does not kill him first.
Rune of the Apprentice is currently being crowdfunded on inkshares.com and is an entrant in the Nerdist Collection Contest. Find out more about it here.
Here is what some readers are saying about it:
CHRIS COLE, AUTHOR OF THE BODY OF CHRIS:
“Rune of the Apprentice is an epic blend of anticipation, magic, and adrenaline. Lovers of huge worlds and heroic characters will feel right at home. With a solid foundation of deep characters and mythic storytelling, you won’t want to miss Jamison Stone’s breakout debut novel. Rune of the Apprentice is Fantasy at its finest!”
MICHAEL DEANGELO, AUTHOR OF THE BINDINGS OF FATE, AS DARKNESS FALLS, AND THE ENEMY WITHIN:
“With a deftly written story, Stone leads his characters into and out of danger, weaving a thrilling thread that connects things with a lot of poise. His world is clever, too, with ideas that you don’t see too much of these days. Most importantly, what Stone delivers is a solid story. You can pay him back by pre-ordering Rune of the Apprentice on Inkshares. You won’t be disappointed!”
“I had the pleasure of seeing this unfold when it was still on storyboards. Jamison Stone is one of the most disciplined people I know and he spared not an ounce of that discipline on crafting a world that is both incredibly expansive and philosophically deep.”
Here is a short excerpt:
Majestic clouds glided above the fissured island of Adhira before disappearing into the vast horizon beyond. At the center of the island lay Mindra’s Haven, the ancient capital of Devdan and home to the greatest trading port on the Eastern continent.
In an Age long past, the island of Adhira was shattered during a fierce battle of ascendancy waged between Terra’s deific protectors and the invading Dark Ones. Legends say that the Dark Ones periodically descend from the stars to steal Terra’s sacred power—a power which radiates up from Terra’s core into her mountains’ crystal Zeniths, giving Terra her light and warmth.
In response to each invasion, Mindra, High Arkai of the East and leader of the Eastern Guardians, flew down from the Eastern Zenith with his ethereal Legions to fight the attackers. The stories say that in the most recent encounter, the Guardians once again repelled the Dark Ones and secured an Age of peace for the planet and her peoples. Despite this, the island of Adhira was scarred deeply by the conflict—for wherever the Dark Ones had touched, only ruin remained.
To bring healing and renewal, the Guardians remained in Mindra’s Haven for a generation. While amongst the people, they taught the secret ways of Numina and ushered in an age of rebuilding, renaissance, and enlightenment. During this time, Devdan’s capital was rebuilt and prospered greatly. At the heart of the great city, a grand and noble Temple was constructed so all could receive the Guardian’s numinous teachings. Many came and went, until the saying, “I have been to Mindra’s Haven,” spoke openly of one’s faith in the Guardian’s great power and divine grace.
Sadly, after the Guardians returned to their home and the ages passed on, the peoples of Terra began to lose their way. In this Modern Age, with Mindra’s Haven’s ancient history of destruction and divine rebirth receding into the mists of time, the former capital no longer ruled over the now politically divided continent of Devdan. However, in spite of many generations of territorial wars, Adhira was able to maintain a fraction of its former glory and Mindra’s Haven, the jewel of the island, was still a place of pilgrimage. Although no longer seen as a seat of divine power, the city still acted as the Eastern hub of international trade while also espousing culture, Runic assistance, and military protection to the peoples whom it had once governed.
Held in these peoples’ hearts was the hope that Mindra’s great hall would once again serve as a place of holy revitalization for the Eastern continent. To fulfil this hope, Mehail Bander, High Councilman of Adhira’s sovereignty, had proclaimed there was to be a gathering of the three prime leaders of Devdan’s Eastern realm on the eve of Mindra’s annual festival. This meeting was to create “Devdan’s Covenant of Eastern Amity,” a treaty which would shape the destiny of the continent, if not the whole planet of Terra.
Inspired by the prospect of reunification, Devdan’s citizens had been locked in hopeful anticipation of the festival for many long months. Their wait, however, had come to an end for the festival was to commence at dusk…
To read more please visit RUNE OF THE APPREINTICE at Inkshares.com
Be sure to also check out more of Jamison’s maps on his page for RUNE OF THE APPREINTICE. They’re just spectacular. Here’s one more:
Jamison will be back on Oct 21st to talk more about the practical aspects of world building. Meanwhile, go and check out RUNE OF THE APPREINTICE and get ready for an adventure to a vivid fantasy world.
You can also connect with Jamison in the following places:
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+JamisonStone
Other networks you use: https://www.inkshares.com/jamison-stone
Fan email address: Apotheosiscontact “at” gmail “dot com