Creating a Universe for a Visionary Novel – Part 1 – by Christina Greenaway

It is said that to sit at the feet of the master is to walk across heaven. Writing visionary fiction comes with its own wonder-filled process. (Because my own visionary works are most familiar to me, I will draw my examples from them.) Recently, an interviewer asked if I had a favorite character in my new novel Time Blade: Age of Jeweled Intelligence.I cringed. I can’t even choose a book or a movie as my favorite. I like them for different reasons. I rephrased the question in my mind. How does a character affect me when he or she arrives in a scene? Now I had an answer. In my novel, Sun Lord Luca has returned from a future universe to help mankind evolve. I love being in his presence because then I become the student sitting at the feet of the master.

WORLD BUILDING

Time Blade begins before Earth was born, then weaves back and forth through the history of the planet. The protagonist Sky Hunter is the Sun Lord’s student, and his quest is to follow in the master’s footsteps. This called for some world building—places and structures to support his journey into the metaphysical realms of super consciousness. Key factors include: a sacred force that can evoke transcendence, time, locations, settings, and theme.

SACRED FORCE

Paul Coelo gives us a good example of a transcendent symbol, a sacred force, in The Alchemist. The young shepherd boy Santiago dreams of a treasure in the pyramids of Egypt and sets out to find it. On the journey he discovers he has a Personal Legend—and it is what he has always wanted. When he believes in his dream, the whole universe conspires to help him. Later, when Santiago is challenged to turn himself into a desert wind or be killed, he begins to communicate with the sun and the wind, begging them to help him. The universe blows up a big sand storm and Santiago disappears and reappears on the other side of danger.

The sacred force in Time Blade is Jeweled Intelligence—the astral energies of gems. This super power can be reached via an astral disk, a computer embedded in the left palm. A person should have an unfaltering belief in his purpose before using this force on Earth. Wrong use can result in dire consequences.

TIME

Authors have played with time and portals that lead to alternate dimensions since writing began. In Time Blade, I needed a new take on time, so I looked back to the beginning.

Stephen Hawking suggests time is two-dimensional and that the Big Bang created our timeline. Albert Einstein geometrically proved the four-dimensional space-time continuum. I tucked these findings under my visionary thinking hat. What was time doing before it got smashed down into a linear line? Was the Big Bang a result of an unfettered, uncontainable gathering of cosmic forces, or did it result from a massive exhale puffed forth by a ginormous creative intelligence that outgrew its thinking cap?

I chose the cosmic intelligence and named it Adora—the womb of creation. This made Adora a character, which allowed me to look at the cosmos through her eyes. Human beings would evolve here, and they would need a unique planet and a unit of measure to keep track of life on the mortal plane. The people of Earth would get things done in linear time—a count of minutes and hours. On the journey into life, each beloved soul would deposit an atom of its highest brilliance—I am—into what would become time—a luminous field of perfect impersonal intelligence. Adora charged Time with the job of overseeing the evolution of the human family.

LOCATION

The terrain you choose adds rich sensory perceptions to your story—the climate, wind, sea, sky, sounds, and smells of that particular land. I was born and raised in Cornwall, a rugged peninsula rife with myth and legend. Every country has its own mythic tales whose archetypical characters live on in the collective consciousness. This can be fertile ground for the invention of heroic, mystical, and magical characters. Look at all the stories King Arthur and Merlin have inspired.

In Time Blade, I borrowed the nymph Tamara from a lesser-known Cornish legend and turned her into a major character. In the original, she is the daughter of spirits of the Earth, who lives in a cave beneath the moors with her parents. Giants roam the moors at night and Tamara’s father forbids her to mingle with them. But one night, she creeps up onto the moor to find out about the giants for herself. Her father catches and punishes her by turning her into a river of tears, the Tamar.

As a child I was not satisfied with this ending. A girl with a mind of her own could get up and out of her tears and do great things. I added another chapter to her legend: As Tamara’s tears sink down through the earth, the rocks, metals, and minerals comfort her, telling her everything is consciousness moving through time. Everything is connected. As water she can seep into all the corners of the world, giving love instead of sorrow. Tamara reverses her tears, wends back to the land and forms a river of joyous tears. The Great River of Life pours down to meet her and invests her with the job of soul guide for the human family.

This ends Part 1 of Creating a Universe for a Visionary Novel. Part Two will continue with Settings, Cosmic Locations, and Theme.


Christina Greenaway, author of “Dream Chaser: Awakening” was born on the rugged land of Cornwall and now lives in the United States. A traveler at heart, Christina may be found anywhere in the world writing the next book in the “Jeweled Intelligence” series.

Visit Christina’s website here.

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30 thoughts on “Creating a Universe for a Visionary Novel – Part 1 – by Christina Greenaway

  1. V. M. Franck says:

    Thank you Christina, I’ve often wondered how to create a universe/world for my characters without being trite or redundant. (Since at the top of the piece it says this is by Eleni Papanou, I was confused when your name and picture were at the bottom.) I’ve read books on the subject, but still haven’t been brave enough to try it.

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    • christinagreenaway says:

      As you well know, VM, the idea of creating something new is much more scary than actually doing it. Once you know the story you want to tell, you’ll find all that reading you’ve done about building a new world will fall naturally into place. Courage is your middle name, VM. You can do it!

      Eleni posted this for me, I expect that’s why her name appears at the top.

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      • Eleni Papanou says:

        Great article, Christina…aka, the true author of this piece. I particularly like the mention of a sacred force because you can build a whole world around that one theme alone! I always love using Star Wars as an example. Lucas was a genius in how he was able to create such a vast story world that focused around the force.

        Best of luck in this series!

        Eleni

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  2. V. M. Franck - Vi says:

    The closest I came was in my story about my character’s experiences in the afterlife. We really don’t know how it will be, even if we think we do. Sitting around playing harps and singing praises would bore us all. It would take a pretty insecure God, if “He” needed to be praised. I was raised to believe that’s what heaven would be like. I’m doing a little of it in the novel I’m currently writing, but I have no need to create a whole new world. I just don’t want to be trite. As has been said, there is nothing new under the sun.

    Given what I’ve decided I will write after my current novel, it will be probably 5-7 years before I get back to considering a novel where I need to build a new world.

    Thanks about the courage comment. As I see it there is no other option if I want to remain sane. Grin.

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    • christinagreenaway says:

      Where do all the lost comments go, I wonder. It happens to me quite a bit too. Maybe there is a comment thief, a naughty little gnome-like creature, hiding in the maze of the internet, snatching our most brilliant remarks.

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      • Saleena Karim says:

        I think our security bot is at fault. I found Vi’s comment in our dashboard spam section and restored it. I’ll keep a closer eye on the spam section from now until we can do something about it.

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  3. Jodine Turner says:

    I appreciated your going for a ‘new take’ on time. Very creative. Thank you for allowing us into your process of world building. It is sometimes difficult but so rewarding, isn’t it?

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  4. christinagreenaway says:

    Thank you, Jodine. I particularly enjoyed the many hours I spent exploring the possibility of using time as a character. I would think of Albert Einstein’s famous quote about how imagination was more important than knowledge—”imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” I’d close my eyes and open my heart to the universe. “Enlighten me, please!” Oh, the places I traveled. The hard work began back at my computer, turning my metaphysical wanderings into words. Yes, writing is a very rewarding process.

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    • Victor Smith says:

      Just this morning in meditation, I had this aha: I can generate an idea out of nothing and with no effort. Imagination at work, no limitations. Stopped me in my tracks. Your use of imagination (image making) scintillates even in this short piece. Thanks. Must be something about that neck of the woods in England too. Have not been to Cornwall but spent a day in Glastonbury (close) and it did some amazing things to my head (and heart). Thanks for your contribution.

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      • christinagreenaway says:

        Like Gastonbury, Cornwall has some magical sites worth visiting. The remains of Tintagel, King Arthur’s castle perched at the edge of the North Atlantic, giant monolithic stones scattered across the moors, and a beautiful coastal path that surrounds the entire peninsular make it worth the trek down from London. Yes, meditation! I wonder what you wrote after your last aha.

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  5. V. M. Franck says:

    Christina, guess my other reply is not going to suddenly reappear. When I’ve thought of creating other worlds, they had to be totally physically different from what we have here on this planet. The closest I’ve come is in my book about a woman who enters the afterlife, what happens and what it’s like. I really don’t want to write what others are writing in any way, so I try not to borrow ideas from others. Although, since nothing is new under the sun, I just go with what comes to me. Courage is something one does just to get by. The other option is to go under. Not going to happen.
    Vi

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  6. christinagreenaway says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write your comment again, Vi. I love your spirit. The afterlife is a great setting. I traveled into that territory in my novel “Dream Chaser: Awakening.” If you can go there, why not an alternate universe? True, nothing is new under the sun. Don’t get stuck on that. What you write will be brilliantly and beautifully your take on it. I don’t know if anyone else has used the astral energy of jewels to power a world on Earth. There is a science behind my use of it, and it’s very ancient—based on the inner kingdom of man—the human chakra system. In my novel, the Galaxy of the Jeweled Spheres—seven astral globes—correspond to the seven chakras in the human body. This formed the foundation for all the fantasy and visionary aspects of the story. I was always grounded in the metaphysical world (whoops, did I just create an oxymoron?) that I have been studying for the last thirty years. That’s just what comes to me, Vi.

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  7. V. M. Franck says:

    Christina, I began studying this kind of thing after the death of my sweetheart in 1989. His death ripped my heart out, and I had to build myself a new one. So I explored New Age and metaphysical beliefs, everything I could find on the subject. I know about chakras, ascended beings, the seven steps of precipitation, etc., the full gamut of related things. I’ve had high beings appear to me. I’ve had dreams about it all. It helped for a while. I wrote books about what I was learning along the way. The next step for me was to find my own way through this. That’s what I’m doing now.

    In my book on the afterlife, they are in an alternate universe. In my present book my character is learning better to learn to communicate with those who have left physical bodies behind.

    Thanks.

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    • christinagreenaway says:

      I am so sorry you suffered the loss of a sweetheart, Vi. I think I shared once before that my first husband died when I was twenty-nine. My spiritual journey has helped me a lot—finding the love that will never leave me. Yes, we still have to make our way through these things in our daily lives. Writing helps me no end with that. I sense it does that for you too. Blessings & Light.

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  8. Saleena Karim says:

    Vi, I found your comment. It had been automatically (and accidently) sent into our spam section by WordPress’ security bot. Goodness knows why! Anyway, I’ve restored it. 🙂

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    • Saleena Karim says:

      Vi, I can see it from my machine. Maybe it’s a cache thing on your computer? Can anyone else see the comment above containing a reference to the year 1989?

      EDIT: Found it – it appeared at our end just in the last hour and you should see it now. 🙂

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  9. V. M. Franck says:

    Christina, yes, I remember you telling me about your husband’s untimely death and how it provided direction for you. I am sorry for your heartbreak. I remember telling you about my loss. My point here was that I had also studied these philosophies and the death that triggered it. There came a time when I had to move on to my own individual higher way of being…beyond the teachings of anyone else. For me that is the ultimate freedom. One of the things that helps me when I find myself off center is listening to what I call New Age classical music, the works of Deuter, Berward Koch, Hillary Stagg and Karen Marie Garrett, to name a few. If you have not heard them you can find them on youtube or Pandora.

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    • christinagreenaway says:

      I agree with you, Vi. Becoming your own teacher is the greatest freedom. It allows us to understand the how and the why of all that happens to us. Thank you for the music suggestions. I don’t know the artists your mentioned, but I look forward to listening to them. I particularly like Tryshe Dheveney’s crystal bowl music. You can find her on youtube.

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  10. Robin says:

    Wonderful post, Christina. I love the idea of a cosmic intelligence named Adora—the womb of creation, and your having each individual deposit “an atom of its highest brilliance—I am—into what would become time—a luminous field of perfect impersonal intelligence.” So inspired and imaginative! I wish you much success with your “Jeweled Intelligence” series. Thank you!

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  11. margaretduarte says:

    Since I’m out of time to write a “real” comment, I’ll keep it short and sweet by quoting two of my favorite passages in your post. “The terrain you choose adds rich sensory perceptions to your story—the climate, wind, sea, sky, sounds, and smells of that particular land.” and” Writing visionary fiction comes with its own wonder-filled process.” Thanks for your contribution to VFA!

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