Best Laid Plans...
As Douglas Adams wrote, 'The best-laid plans of mice.' The plan was to flesh out the fantasy world for the new series and even draw maps. Well, I did find time to flesh out the worlds a little. The maps - not so much.
Currently, two cultures are drafted, three to be drafted more.
Working out a hierarchy and political and social structure for the dragon culture has been interesting. Essentially, the political structure is a regal matriarchy supported by an oligarchy overarching a loose socialist democracy. Queen Shadrael is the inheritor of rule from her grandmother who featured in the Ashuak Chronicles, but her right to the role is challenged. While the Queen has absolute authority, she is guided/advised by a group of Elders, and Clan-wide decisions have to be agreed to by the dragon Congress. Social status is tied closely to political status, with some allowance for birthright. Economically and militarily, the dragons live off of a human slavery system that they have established by domination. The dragons can draw on several millenia of cultural history, stemming from a time when they were beasts in the wild, through the era of the dragonlords and the Andrakian trilogy to inheritors of magic from the Genesis Stone.
The key human culture of the tale is the Domovinan kingdom, ruled by a Shah. Inherited absolute rule is the key system, supported by a warlord leading class and a fledgling and highly-threatened democracy in the city. The culture is misogynistic in the extreme as a result of a history where powerful women were users of magic who were eventually overthrown by men. There's a tale within a tale buried in that history that will also hark back to the Andrakian trilogy. The Domovinan kingdom is in the middle of an industrial revolution and ruthlessly and jealously guards its technology (this technological revolution precedes but ties into the world in the Dreaming in Amber series). Social strata in Domovina is very much like that existing in C18th England - from wealthy royals through to wealthy merchants/criminals, middle class business owners down to workers and the poor.
The dragon culture embracing the human slaves is still taking shape as those characters begin to receive airplay in the story. The Alfyn culture is to be developed early in Book Two and a new human culture will be brought into play as the first two clash.
The complexity of the cultures is still unravelling as I write and new necessary detail is required in the story. A friend on the weekend asked if I subscribe to George Martin's differentiation of writers as being architects (detailed planners) or gardeners (organic growers). In my case, both apply. There is an awful lot of planning and almost as much organic growth to create characters, places, communities and a story embracing them.
And as for the diversion of direction on the new project, I accepted an invitation to Meander - a B&B property near Springton owned by good friend Evelyn - and used the escape time to add and edit details in another project to complete it. This is the post-apocalyptic project for which I now need to find a publisher. Tonight I will begin drafting a proposal and blurb to accompany the first chapters of the novel and select who I will approach. Frankly, I'm so far out of the writing loop my choices will be dictated by what I can research online. I'll post the progress on that as it unfolds over the next few months.
PS: The fantasy novel is now at 100,000 words and growing, so I've stayed busy