World-building: Kara

Spoiler alert. This contains some information that hasn’t come out on the Kindle Vella, or Ream versions of the Kara stories, though I have avoided disclosing major things.

I began the first Kara story back in the late nineties. It was originally just titled Kara, though I changed it to Kara Discovered when I expanded my focus. It started out as a story merging two ideas in science fiction. What happens if you discover some place where magic actually works, and what happens if you have done away with your military and suddenly need it? Both ideas have been done in different ways. One way to have magic that works is for someone to decide to build a universe where magic works.

What if, long ago, so long ago that many different universes have come into existence and then died of old age, a race decided to build a universe where magic worked and called it Kara? If they are going to build it, they are going to build it big, and to last, permanent if they can. Ideally, a universe that doesn’t age and the surface of it is more or less a sphere with an infinite radius. But in building it, they made a mistake and had to give up their technology working there. Nor are metals as we use them workable there.

They seeded life and their colonies across the surface of it, and with an infinite distance between them, each colony would go their own way, expanding forever. That was the plan. But magic isn’t a substitute for technology. Every colony reverted to barbarism.

I put together a list of the different races I would need for man to find in the part of Kara they arrived on, what they look like, when they arrived, and what their powers would be. The range was large, from ones especially built to be there like the G’Dan to ones badly adapted, unable to do magic like the Asgro who built the G’Dan to make up for it, and everything in between. Each race that finds Kera reverts to barbarism without their technologies.

Then I put together the Legion and the society that they come from. They are a group of men, in many ways, viewed the same as those that take Ren Fairs seriously and go everywhere acting like that, only with more suspicion since these men study killing. They come from a police state society that no longer has a military and has known only peace for three thousand years. The legions are paternal, open only to men not currently married, and willing to live in barracks. It pays for itself by providing security against wildlife to new colonies setting up. This is why they were called in. With over a hundred million planets already settled, there are always plenty of men willing to live like that willing to move to the six worlds with Legion bases and people willing to employ them for security that is even better than what the AIs can give.

Then I wrote the first draft of what would become Kara Discovered. There was a lot wrong with it. To flesh it out, I wrote a bunch of prequel short stories on how the legion came about and man’s attempt to settle the stars without FTL. Most of those stories are gone on a lost hard drive, but doing them made fixing the holes in the next draft, far easier.

Fixing one of those plot holes I created the planet New Gate, a planet in a different universe that allowed the use of magic near a gate on the planet, and technology near the gate on Kara. Then, having created that place, I could not resist writing a draft for what a society with that might look like a thousand years later. The first draft of Renegade on Kara was done, as well as a follow on the Dragon Empire of Man.

I went back to work on Kara, now called Kara Discovered. This draft was far better, but was still missing a lot.

I picked up Renegade and began the second draft of it. It kept getting longer and longer and longer. By the time I moved on to rewrite Dragon Empire, Renegade was over 200,000 words. Dragon Empire became nearly as long. On advice from friends, I broke them up and read more online on showing, not telling, and downloaded Pro Writing Aid to find the passive voice and other mistakes I was making. There were a lot. I rewrote them again. The three acts of Renegade became their own books, The Great Basin, The River Empire and Dragons in that rewrite.

Renegade on Kara: The Great Basin, I queried but got rejected. I rewrote it fixing even more showing instead of telling. I am currently rewriting the first book Renegade on Kara: The Great Basin, and Kara Discovered again, this time in episode format and publishing each episode on both Kindle Vella and on Others will follow those.

If this kind of blend of Magic and Technology appeals to you, you can use the Promo Code: KARA and get a month of my Ream free. I have other stories there besides these two.

Until next time


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