Abe Cedarian's World

Wow! Thank you for stopping by the Abe Cedarian website.

Abe is my author pseudonym. I chose this name for the double entendre of its meaning: an abecedarian is a beginner, someone who is still learning the rudimentary ABCs of what everything is all about. (Do writers ever really get past the abecedarian stage? That might make a good topic for debate.)

If you read my story in the Fiction Unboxed Anthology Beyond the Gate: Stories from the World of the Dream Engine, I want to thank you for your loyalty and tenacity in trying to find me. In fact, if you would like to keep up with what is going on in Abe Cedarian's world, I would be happy to add you to my email list. In fact, for joining my list, I will send you an mp3 recording (homemade, read by yours truly) of my anthology story, Scarlettina: A Crumble Fairy Tale. Simply send your request to join to my email, abe@abecedarian.net.

Writing in the Engine World

In the course of the Fiction Unboxed project (put on by the guys over at Self-Publishing Podcast), Sean and Johnny revealed that they would be allowing people to write in the world that they were creating for their novel, The Dream Engine. Right away, this generated all sorts of excitement among the Unboxers (the people who had sponsored the Fiction Unboxed project,) some of whom jumped at the opportunity and immediately started writing their own stories in the Engine World (even while The Dream Engine novel was still in its drafting stages!) Within the Fiction Unboxed forums, calls were put out for anyone who wanted to participate in an (unofficial) anthology - a collection of short stories. I decided to join.

At this stage in the game, one of the challenges of being an 'early adopter' was the fluidity of the world. None of the rules had officially been set in stone, and everything was open to change (even the important details) right up to the point of The Dream Engine's publication. (For example: The capital city of Waldron Gate became Waldron's Gate; the Blunderbuss Engine changed shape at least once, etc.) Until The Dream Engine was officially published, the foundation for story-building in the Engine World was sand.

For my story, I took inspiration from a scene in The Dream Engine, the one in which Atwell Doyle reads fictional stories to his children. It struck me that when you set a fictional story within another fictional story, you don't need to be completely familiar with the original world's details. There might be certain cardinal rules that you have to observe (everyone takes Crumble, people don't know what dreams are,) but aside from these, you are free to make up your own landscape. I didn't have to worry about whether or not there were any hamlets in Alterra, because any Alterran who was reading this story would say, "Oh, that's fiction!" For the same reason, I didn't need to worry about what style of governance such a place would have. I could simply take a few basic, concrete (they would have to totally rewrite the story if they changed these details) facts from the world and build my story around them. I only needed to be able to see this story as something that one Engine World character could comfortably tell to another character within that world, such as Mr. Doyle in entertaining his children.

Now that The Dream Engine has been published and that version 1.0 of the World Docs have been released and other authoritative world materials are beginning to surface (see rules,) I am beginning to collect together information in order to write something a little longer for my next project in the Engine World series. Look for more to follow.

Scouting a Location

As I am considering my next installment in the Engine World series, it seems like a good idea to get down as many of the established details as possible (as they currently exist). My first stop is to "scout a location".

At this point, Alterra is the most defined portion of the Engine World. This will doubtless change with the new books that come into the canon. (Full disclosure: I am not one of the eight canon writers, so you can take everything that I surmise and synthesize with a grain of salt; these are simply my best deductions from the materials that are available to me. According to the commandments: "Stories written in the world, if they're to be taken seriously and enjoyed by readers, should be consistent with canon works." "Basically, don’t worry about your books’ facts needing to be verified as in-world gospel. You’ll want your story to agree with the commandments here and any canon works you’ve read, but otherwise don’t sweat the necessity to get every little detail right....")

Aerohead and Nascent

The best that I can determine from looking at the map of Alterra (available on the commandments page,) is that the city of Aerohead and its neighbor, the village of Nascent, would have their real-world equivalent locations in Scotland, somewhere (very, very) roughly near Fort William. (Wikipedia details on Fort William, such as climate information, may be found here.)

Aerohead receives its fullest description to date from the "Blunderbuss Locations" document. First, the city is considered to be haunted. No one goes there, as those who do "never come back." It is a city of unknown origins. ("No one knows where (it) came from or how long it's been there.") There are stories that Aerohead was once filled with elves. According to The Dream Engine, some believe that elves lived "in the haunted city of Aerohead before it was haunted."

From the map, the village of Nascent appears to be located within 25 miles of Aerohead. The Dream Engine indicates that Nascent is the only remnant of Alterra that actually believes the old stories about their neighbor city being haunted and inhabited by elves. These villagers of Nascent are "considered superstitious for believing these old tales." The "Blunderbuss Locations" document adds that the villagers of Nascent "are the butt of many jokes", doubtless because of their 'superstitious' beliefs about Aerohead. The Locations document adds that Nascent is a small village, that it's people are simple, and that they "worship in the shadow of the mighty elves."