When I saw Storm Moon Press' Dracones anthology call, I knew I had the perfect world for it. A dragon series called Tarragon was nestled in my works in progress pile (WIPile) and decided Dracones would fit perfectly. I did have one small problem... My series was set. What could I do? I knew I didn't want a side story slapped in there. I wanted something that would be part of the series, but not necessary for the series to make sense.
Makes total sense, right? Yeah, it didn't to me either at first.
I played with the idea of giving a glimpse into a future book, but then I realized it would detract from the book. Well damn... I was down because I didn't have anything for this awesome anthology call. I had no idea how to make it happen, and it was frustrating. So frustrating I do believe I snapped at just about everyone. Forcing an idea is never a good thing, so I set it aside and worked on other things. Then it happened. I was doing something, I don't remember what, and I saw this man in my head. He was dirty and upset but he looked at me with such determination in his eyes I knew he had something to say. That man was Stormy; he's one of the MC's in "Chanson Commencante de Guerre", my Dracones title.
The title itself translates into "The Beginning Song of War" from French. I never intended to write this section of story; I always intended to refer to it only in the later books I have planned, but then Stormy showed up. This anthology call truly is the beginning of the series. Tarragon centers on the war between dragons and dragon shifters and "Chanson Commencante de Guerre" shows the beginning of what happened to cause this war. It doesn't seem like a major point in history in the grand scheme of things, but it's the root of everything. It all happens because of Stormy and Rayvak; without them, I wouldn't have a series at all and before writing this, I had no idea.
When I first started this story, I wasn't expecting to learn anything. I thought I had the world hashed out, figured out, fleshed out, and had all the questions answered. I was wrong. I knew how the war started, but I didn't know the specific story and men behind it. Originally, it was legend so old even the oldest dragons didn't know if it was true or not. As I wrote, I found things I hadn't considered before. I've made notes, and now the series will flow even better. What those things are I can't say (a girl's gotta save some secrets for the story), but what I've learned will only make the series better.
This was the fist time I wrote an anthology story based in one of my paranormal worlds. I've done this several times since, and I've learned not to stifle the world I've created. The characters have opinions and views, and their personal story may influence their world as a whole more than you think. I’d much rather learn these things now (in an anthology call) than later down the line, when I'd be forced to rewrite a whole book or two. Because honestly, who likes rewrites? I know I don't.
Now, I purposely look for anthology calls that fit a paranormal world I have. The reason I look for specific calls is to help flesh out my worlds and help me see what I haven't seen yet. I recommend it for any author building a world of their own.
My dragons have taught me a lot about world building, and I've listened. Stifling is a no-no, and listening is a must. I suppose those two lessons could be applied in life, no?