I have this little book thing coming out on the 19th, so I’ve been immersed in the world of the novel. It’s set an undetermined time in the future, but for all that it’s a very familiar setting. We spent a bunch of time talking about it as not!steampunk. Then, for awhile it was the sci-fi/cozy. Finally, after everything, it ended up as a sci-fi/noir.
But at the core of any novel is the world the characters grew up with. My main characters have very different backgrounds which lead them to working in the Pit Crew of an Estate off of the London. Different childhoods, families, training, sexualities, and religions. I barely even thought about it. There was no way that they came from the same place.
The two religions I chose were… not real. Not completely at least. They reference real religions and myths. The Mother of Stars is vague off-shoot of Catholicism. She is a Mary figure and the Sister of Stars is based on the Holy Spirit. There are litanies and rituals that are based on the things I remember from childhood.
The unnamed guildhouse is related to the myth of the Thugee cults and the veneration of Kali-ma. However, it focuses on all aspects of the mythology: the mother, protector, and destroyer. (This will be explored more in the next book.)
My main characters, Spinner and Blagger, are more the same then they are different. They both enjoy their work. They are loyal to Lady Long. They both love solving puzzles. They can both pass in the upper-class of society. But they are not the same. One of them is a thief, the other a killer.
The Estate has its own traditions and religions. The people born on the Estate tend toward Episcopal. They don’t understand why people from the Cities don’t talk about religion. The City habit of not talking about religion just makes no sense to them.
One good shove could send the world they live in off of its shallow little shelf.
But during the entirety of the novel, actual religion is mentioned once in passing and a little bit of cursing gives us the rest. So why do I know so much about the religions of my characters? Because religion is one of those things that gives us definition as a character.
Blagger’s religion doesn’t care about the fact that he sleeps with multiple partners or what gender those partners are. Spinner’s religion doesn’t prohibit murder. The head of security’s religion frowns on both of those things. These can cause conflict or simply inform the way they dance around topics.
While I was trying to hash this all out last night, the lack of a firm tie-up here made me drop it into a draft to look at again this morning. I figured out what I was trying to say during my morning commute.
World-building does not mean info-dumping. You can read Sugar and Spice and never find out any of this. It informs the characters. It creates bits and pieces of their behavior. It is not the focus of the book.
The focus of the book is the plot and the characters *not* the world.
And, if I do say so myself, the plot is a bit of a twisty roller coaster. *winks*
You can pre-order it right now by the way. Just click on the cover: