2021: Editing, Worldbuilding, and Maybe More

These are uncertain times, but my purpose in 2021 is anything but uncertain. That purpose includes editing and catching up on the worldbuilding I’ve ignored for too long.

Apply myself and I’ll be that much closer to publication.

The General Plan

What does applying myself look like? It means setting minimums rather than goals. Falling short of a lofty goal, for me, carries less sting than falling short of a minimum. That hurts.

Continent of Tremjara. ©2020 CA Hawthorne

The pandemic endures. My part-time job is gone. I’m still in lockdown. Given all that, writing has become my lone focus, and one I adore. That means I’m free to do as I like, and that means performing some aspect of writing seven days-per-week.

My minimums? Six hours per day. 40 hours per week.

Since I switched over to editing on January 9th my average has been 7.18 hours/day. It’s been a joy.

The benefits go beyond productivity. As I learned last summer, immersing myself to that degree makes it easier to be productive.


I transitioned out of Pannulus by jumping into Torment Surfacing even though, chronologically, that’s a later Carrdia book. As I mentioned last week, it made the transition easier.

NaNoCover: CA Hawthorne
NaNo Cover: CA Hawthorne

From there I move on to the Riparia novels: Trust in the Forgotten, A River in Each Hand, Exhuming Truths, and So Others Might Remember. Each is a little bigger than the one before because of an increasing number of threads. Another good reason for my increased hours.

There are also the novels that influence the Riparia series, though she isn’t in them. What I call my periphery novels. One of those is Torment Surfacing. Another is Following the Essence Stone. I love the story, but it’s been giving me fits. The problem, I realize now, is that it’s two stories: Blood Passages and Essence Stone.

Thankfully, at least half of both stories is already written.

Sometimes I ask myself how this predicament happened. It happened because I let it happen. And because I’m prolific, which I’ll never complain about.

The Worldbuilding Issue

The biggest victim of my prolific prose has been all the elements that make up Ontyre worldbuilding. They’re critical to fantasy writing. Even what’s already in place has long been neglected.

Those tasks include updating the Ontyre glossary, histories (Carrdia, Old Empire, Aramon), and encyclopedia of magic. In addition, I’m desperate to create a Pannulus history and finish several maps.

Pannulus. ©2020 CA Hawthorne

Not accomplishing these tasks has moved from a hinderance to an obstruction. More than slowing my work, they’re delaying publication.

In-particular is the Pannulus history. It’s keeping me from assembling an anthology of short stories. That might seem illogical to some, but it’s because the stories are written at different points in Pannulus history. If I’m not clear on the various Pannulus Ages, then I can’t orient the reader.

Between stories, notes, and some minor work already done, I need only to assemble it all and fill-in the gaps. I’ve actually begun the task before and abandoned it. It’s become a frustration out of proportion to the task.

But, Christina, isn’t there an existing history?

I really wish you hadn’t remembered that.

The problem is that the Me who wrote that history back in 2000-03 is so not the Me of 2021. I look at it and I’m stunned. It fills a notebook!

That person, who I increasingly think of as someone else, had a different skill set. That person was an epic fantasy worldbuilding wonder. So much so that the Carrdia history went back 500 years, the Old Empire history 3,000 years. I’m serious.

It’s beyond excessive.

Even so, I’ll forever be grateful for it, and more so for the amazing magic system.

*Not that I’m now without worldbuilding skills. In the last five years I’ve overhauled all the maps, created the Pannulus society, developed witchcraft, and written more novels and short stories than that old self could ever have imagined.

The history, though…

It doesn’t change the fact that it needs done. My latest theory is that I need to do it initially by hand. It’ll be messy, but messy might be what’s needed.

The urgency, too, dictates that my hours per day include worldbuilding. Otherwise, editing will always be the priority.

It’s the purpose that matters. Put in the time, accomplish the tasks, and I’ll be on the publishing doorstep. Purpose. Flexibility. Determination.


About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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