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Here's the Thing About the Genesis of Realms

Cover of Heart by T.J. Fisher

Since publishing my book in December 2018, I’ve had several people ask me how I came up with the world of the Broken Realms. Most of the time, I hear it because the reader is impressed I came up with a different world with its own cast of characters living out an adventure.

The simple answer is that it just came to me. I’ve talked about this before, and that I literally woke from a dream with the plotline and world in my head. Since that is not usually the answer someone is looking for, the deeper reply is that world creation comes natural to me. Everyone has a penchant for something. It could be science, metalworking, or tanning leather. I happen to be gifted with dreaming up different worlds, and I think it’s because I’ve always loved the idea of something magical and different. I used to come up with stories for my Barbie doll to act out, and you could guarantee she had some sort of affinity for magic, and baring that, she had some undoubtedly cool fighting skill that made her unstoppable. Now that I reminisce, my Barbie was a secret agent princess that had to save the world on multiple occasions. So, making up stories and worlds has been part of my life for a long time.

Girl walking toward sun in rocky terrain
Photo by NEOM on Unsplash

I do not say all of that to discount the craft of writing. There are skills that I’m still learning as a writer. Even though I lean on the side of world-creator, that does not mean all the pieces fall into place immediately or with ease. In regards to the Broken Realms, I had to work through several pain points before arriving at a place that made it special. Some aspects of the Sun Realm and the Shade Realm I knew instinctually would work, but others I had to hash through with someone because I couldn’t quite make sense of what I envisioned.

The first versions of the Broken Realms are not what you read in my book today. I like to joke that the published book is version #354 (arbitrarily numbered). Heart started as a very simple storyline to help my brain focus on one thing so I could fall asleep at night. Goofy, I know, but it helped to keep my mind from wandering. 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.

desert sunset
Photo by NEOM on Unsplash

Yes, it was terrible, but from those nightly machinations of imagination, it became the genesis of the Broken Realms. So I give it a lot of credit, and I’m not kidding when I tell others 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 bring the world the characters lived in into existence. They needed a place to live and adventure like me. I drew a rough map and started adding citadels, land markers, and names to land formations.

Everything fell into place after that, with heavy amounts of tweaking. Writing is fun, but it is a long process, and much has changed from that first vision that I woke to. That, in a nutshell, is the genesis of the Broken Realms. After all that planning, I just had to put pen to paper, which was a whole other mountain to climb.

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