I am currently working on a paracosm that has been with me since my teens years. I’ve worked on it off and on, abandoned it many times, but it keeps coming back into my head and demanding that its story be told.
A paracosm is a detailed fantasy of an alternate world or reality. It often starts in early childhood and often as a coping mechanism. I began my first paracosm when I was perhaps…eleven? I don’t quite remember. What I do remember is that it involved a boarding school for exceptionally gifted girls and I worked on it sometimes obsessively.
I had lists of names. I knew which girls were roommates, which were friends, which were enemies. I knew their personalities and what their talents were. They were writers and dancers and models and musicians and scientists. I even designed curricula for them.
My current paracosm is a different planet altogether. The genre is definitely speculative fiction; it contains elements both of fantasy and of science fiction. I see a great span of history involving three important characters. They are called madonnas because they are the mothers of different eras and aspects of the culture of their country and their people. The science fiction part comes in to explain some of the fantasy elements. The madonnas are god-emissaries of the players of a grand game. But they don’t even know that.
I talk to my characters a lot. They tell me about their world. History, politics, religion, botany, climate, geology. They occupy my thoughts a great deal of the time. If you see my staring off into space, it is quite likely I am thinking of them.
I believe the story of the first madonna may become my first novel. It is the most insistent of my many, many stories. So watch for that sometime in the somewhat distant future. 🙂