How Do You Start an Epic?

Characters over books - Okal Rel by Lynda Williams

For me, the Okal Rel Universe teemed with story and characters … but one has to start somewhere.

Starting to serialize the Okal Rel Saga, I felt bad about giving artist Jeff Doten so many “talking heads” to illustrate. The truth is, a lot of the first chapter introduces characters and setting.

Most writers’ workshops would dump all over so much set up. But with 30 years of private and semi-private creation to unfold, layer after layer, I had to start somewhere intelligible. Rire seemed the best place, with Ann as the rebellious, attention-deficit action character and Ranar playing the role of the intellectual adventurer visiting a strange new culture.

Believe me, I took many runs at other places to start the saga! I wrote and re-wrote the first book for at least a decade. My sanity was saved by remembering how long it took Tolkien to get going with Lord of the Rings. We spend a lot more time, there, in the shire, than I spent introducing Ann and Ranar before pitching them into the Sevolite empire. Yet another reason why I call myself “the obscure Canadian Tolkien”. Sometimes big stories need a little easing into.

The serialization of the ten-novel Okal Rel Saga, with artist Jeff Doten, will play out week by week with new installments. The story segments will be seasoned, here and there, with articles like this one, musing on a long history of creation or outlining in-world phenomena. I’m doing it here to troll for kindred spirits who’ll enjoy the journey.

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About Lynda Williams

Educational technologist, teacher of applied tech, publisher at Reality Skimming Press, author of the Okal Rel SF series.
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