Before doing a deep-dive into the West Wood storyworld, I'd like to take a few minutes to present an overview of the world's premise.
A storyworld's premise has four aspects:
- Conflict, and
Every story has a setting. Every storyworld needs to have one too. This includes not only the standard "time and place" that we learned about in English class, but genre as well.
The West Wood is in the "fantasy western" genre. Specifically, it's a fantasy world (Elves! Magic! Fairies!) with western tropes and trappings (Gunslingers! Boom towns! Wide brimmed hats!) artistically woven into it.
Geographically, the storyworld's focus is on the lawless and sparsely-populated "frontier" between the Deep Forest to the west and the Kingdoms of Man to the east. There are open spaces here sufficient for farming, but the woods are always close at hand.
Stories are about characters. Every storyworld has its own types of characters, all bursting with story potential.
The West Wood includes all the standard western character types--homesteaders, sheriffs, bandits, industrial barons, gunslingers--along with the classic fairy-tale fantasy folks--knights, witches, farmers, princess, and the like.
What's more, all the major fantasy races are accounted for:
- Humans aren't native to the west wood, but have migrated in over several generations. Some families have been here for centuries. Others are recent migrants, seeking new lives for themselves free from the oppression (or law enforcement) of the Kingdoms of Man.
- Elves are the nobles of the enchanted forest. They rule with a quiet, iron wisdom that others my resent, but ultimately respect. The elves have recently pulled their knights and soldiers out of the frontier, leaving it largely unprotected against human incursion.
- Grenlen are the humanoid, magical creatures such as goblins, orcs, and ogres. They are the most common of the fairy races. Some are allies with the human settlers, while some still resent what they see as an invasion.
- Dwarves pop up occasionally, though they try to avoid the tall folk of the west wood.
- The other fairy races are around (including actual fairies!) but they're too few to be major players in the world. At least for now…
Coming up Next! We'll be talking about conflict, tone, and Neil Gaiman!