Since publishing my book in December of 2018, I've had many people ask me how I came up with the story/world of the Broken Realms. Most of the time, that specific question is voiced because the person is impressed that I could come up with this other world with a cast of characters living out their adventures.
The question isn't silly, but let me give a different perspective. How does someone know what chemical compounds will work together without exploding? How does a blacksmith know the strength needed to mold molten steel? How does a saddle maker know which thickness of leather to choose? These are things I don't know the answer to but have enough curiosity to ask others.
Maybe that's what is so impressive to others about writers? We know a little about a lot of subjects because we ask questions of others? I can't say for sure, but my point is that it's a craft like anything else. Honestly, I give a lot of credit to the fact that I've been a reader for so many years. Instinctually, I knew what would work and what would not.
The first versions of the Broken Realms were not what you read in my book today. I like to joke that the published book is version #354 (arbitrarily). For me, it started when I used a basic storyline to help me fall asleep. Goofy, I know, but it helped to keep my mind from wandering so I could fall asleep. Each night, I would rethink through a scene from the night before, or if I felt like that part was complete, I would move to the next plot point. Granted, it was all a jumbled mess, and if I had written it down, people would have likely lit a fire under my manuscript and told me to hide in a corner.
Yes, it was terrible, but it was the genesis of my world, so I give it a lot of credit. I'm not kidding when I tell others that I woke up one morning with this rough plotline in my head. All those nights of using it to fall asleep, and suddenly I had a complete picture. The plotline (the chasm between the realms included) came to me, and I knew I needed to build a world for my characters. They needed a place to exist like me. I drew a rough map and started adding villages, towns, and citadels.
Everything fell into place after that, with heavy amounts of tweaking. It was far from perfect, but all of the points of interest, the characters, and the landscape were just waiting to brought to life.
That is the genesis of the broken realms. I just had to put pen to paper, which was a whole other mountain to climb.