Behind the Scenes of Goandria: The Schism

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The short story series Goandria: The Schism tells the tale of two wizards, Lorkai and Evera, as they make their way to the northern regions of the world to save seventeen captive comrades. In this series, Goandria is a much different world than I had originally envisioned, featured in the up-coming full-length novel series. The Schism takes place several millennia before the main events of the novels. It sets up the events to come, but it was a story I never really intended to write. It is a time period when demons, known as worlox, rule Goandria, and most of the people have been eradicated or enslaved except for the wizard order.

As a result of worlox oppression, the wizards have been waging war upon the demons for generations. The war has gone on for so long that none remember when there was no war. Since the wizards at this time make up the majority of the population, let’s talk about them and their powers.

To continue my theme of breaking from the norms in fantasy and still presenting something familiar, I wanted to make the wizards of Goandria blessed with a special gift and held accountable for its usage. Wizards in Goandria are not gods among men. Yes, they have powers other people could only dream of, but they have their limits. One of the biggest turn-offs for me with the Harry Potter series is that there are no defined limitations on magic. As far as I can understand, Harry Potter magic is limited only by the user’s innate abilities, and that still doesn’t limit the user because a witch or wizard can become more powerful. Essentially, how I understand Harry Potter, the world could potentially end up with bunch of mini-gods running around. Note: this is not to say I dislike Harry Potter, just that this is something I have observed with the series and I don’t care for this element personally. I actually enjoy the overall story of Harry Potter.

So what is my response? How do I create a wizard order that has limits and cannot become demi-gods? In the Goandria series, the wizards are bestowed with their magical gifts at birth by the creator, Voshnore. Similar to other series, wizards need to be trained. In Goandria, they go to the temples to learn. Some wizards live at the temples during their training, while others live with their families (similar to college, but for all ages). Magic must only be used by the wizards as a way to help others, or to help themselves under extreme circumstances. The magic Voshnore has blessed the wizards with cannot be used for selfish means, such as for doing chores or for evil. Since Voshnore chooses those who can handle the gift, he will also take it away when it is misused.

While I hint at this in The Schism, the main point of that story is to give a background to a prominent character in my upcoming novel series. The wizard system of magic is flushed out in more detail in there. In The Schism, I aim to show another side of the wizards, where they are more political and self-righteous.

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Goandria: The Genesis and Evolution of My World Part II

In the beginning, Goandria was about a ragtag group of rebels who fought against an evil ruler. Sound familiar? I thought so too once I got into my early teens. It was around the age of fourteen that I strove to make my storyline something unique, yet there are common elements in fantasy that make the genre, so the balance of creating something fresh, and not rehashed, is more than challenging.

I was inspired by the immortal elves of Tolkien’s world and the elves in the Inheritance Cycle. Both are immortal beings that represent what humanity could have been. Elves in fantasy are powerful and wise, but also haughty and often arrogant. Elves and dwarfs are both cornerstones of the fantasy genre, but I wanted something different. As I have mentioned before, in Goandria I strive for familiarity and uniqueness, so how could I incorporate these central races to fantasy? This was the birth of the englif race. These people are immortal like elves, but they are shape shifters. I made them to be rather reclusive and shut off in their own island (Caldaria). I have attempted to make them less haughty then elves by showing their lack of involvement in the outside world. This is largely due to them being so absorbed in what they are doing.

As far as dwarfs are concerned, I once more tried to distinguish my works from fantasy’s overt Norse roots. The dwarves in Tolkein’s world and The Dwarves series by Markus Heitz have very strong Scottish traits, and they are typically miners and craftsman. However, the race I chose to implement were pale-skinned, diminutive creatures standing a foot tall and having large blue eyes. These people are called the ferrorians. They are often scatter-brained and silly, and they represent a more innocent side to humanity – the part of us brought out by Christmas and Halloween. Of course, in any quality fantasy, not all members of a single race are the same. It is for the reader to discover these people, their differences, and the rich world in which they live.

To be honest, there is another group in Tolkien’s Arda that inspired me. One that has inspired other kinds like them in literature, television, and movies: the Nazgul. Where elves may symbolize a pure humanity, the Nazgul show the other end of the spectrum. I fell in love with their concept from the first time I saw The Fellowship of the Ring on the big screen. There are only nine of them, yet they command fear and respect of all their foes. They are evil incarnate, an evil so pure and blind that it is hard to imagine them as the kings they once were. What sort of people were they originally? Were they evil kings before they encountered the Rings of Power? I wanted evil wraiths of my own, but how? Again, that is something I want the reader to discover for him or herself.

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Goandria: The Evolution and Genesis of My World Part I

What drives a 12-year-old to hammer away at the keyboard instead of going outside or playing sports? That is something I do not understand, but I was that 12-year-old. The world of Goandria has gone through many versions and morphed so many times, but at the same time, it remains familiar. Much like an old friend, writing in this world has offered comfort and has become so integrated into my life that if I am parted from it for too long, I feel as if there is a hole in my soul.

Before age 12, if someone had told me I was going to aspire to become a writer, I wouldn’t have believed it. I wanted to sing. As a child, I felt I had my life figured out, like many children do. In my early years, I was not particularly good at reading, and I could not write well either. I struggled through all my English classes, and often barely passed, but there were two worlds that filled me with awe: Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. These stories left me wanting more, taught me about love, life and friendships, and transported me to a world where the impossible was possible. This was the beginning of my love for fantasy.

While sitting in church one day, the idea came to me to start writing and create my own world. It wasn’t particularly original or good at first. At that time, it was called “The Land of Golah.” As time went on and I grew and learned more, the desire grew within me to create a world that was my own, original and not just a copy of the stories that inspired me. Yes, I know, that is the goal of every writer, and it is up to my readers to decide if I succeeded, but what I wanted was to break away from the clichés that plague Fantasy. For example, a Dark Lord/Lady who is evil just for the sake of evil is too prevalent in fantasy worlds. In my first full-length novel that I plan to release in early 2015, there is a dark lord (so to speak), but I wanted to show things from his perspective. I wanted the reader to get inside his head and understand why he does what he does. This is something that does not happen with Sauron in Lord of the Rings. The reader knows Sauron is evil, but we really don’t know why or what drives him other than his wish to dominate all people and their wills.

My goal with the Goandria series is to offer a story that is familiar yet fresh for fantasy readers. There are thousands of Lord of the Rings clones out there, and while I love Tolkien’s work, let us leave Middle-Earth in Middle-Earth.

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