You know when you’re playing a game, and between levels or whilst loading into a new zone you get fed little tips or nuggets of lore? Why don’t more authors do that in books?
The fantasy novel I am currently drafting is set in a world of my own creation. Whilst some bits might be familiar to the seasoned fantasy nerd, a lot of it is fairly unique. Obviously I don’t want to have the story broken up by paragraphs of lore, and if magic is common then characters won’t necessarily need it explained to them.
So, I already had this idea that a group of people in this world would have written an encyclopedia – an entire library, not just a single book – about their world and everything in it that they have ever documented. So why not throw some of it into the novel? Basically, at the end of every chapter is a paragraph or two, written from the perspective of an educated individual within the world commenting on something relevant to the last chapter. They might be informative, summing up aspects of magic or politics, or just silly little anecdotes or throw away knowledge that hopefully makes the world a richer place.
These ‘loading screens’ do not interrupt the story mid flow, and can easily be skipped by the reader if desired.
Problem sorted? You tell me. Here’s a few to show you what I mean:
“The Sentinels of Northwatch protect the Kingdom from invasion from the savage northern lands. Barbarians regularly pillage civilized settlements, and for as long as can be remembered the Sentinels have ranged into the Frostlands to seek out and destroy any potential raiders. It is a noble tradition that the firstborn of Northwatch families volunteer for service, that they might defend their home and kin from what lies beyond the frontier.”
Extract from the Encyclopedia of The Known World – The Sentinels Volume – Abstract.
“The White Mountains lie on the south eastern coast of Evergreen, and are named for the near white limestone that make up their peaks. These mountains are full of labyrinth like cave systems, some of which may stretch the entire length of the range. At the coast these now sea caves provide thousands of potential hiding spots for smugglers, thus these waters are known as Smuggler’s Bay. So deep are these caves that all manner of creatures call them home, and in the darkest reaches lie foul beasts indeed. It is even rumoured that Frost Wyverns may shelter in the very deepest tunnels.”
Extract from the Encyclopedia of The Known World – Evergreen Volume – The White Mountains Chapter.
“Alcoholic drinks are believed to have originated during the 3rd Age and were brewed as a painkiller and sedative for the wounded and dying. In peacetime, and with the refinement of medicine and healing magics, alcohol became a popular drink to be consumed in times of festivities, gradually becoming commonplace in every corner of the Known World.”
Extract from the Encyclopedia of The Known World – Brewing Volume – Abstract