I’ve often been asked where the idea for Caligation stemmed from. Most of it is from the depths of my imagination. However, there is a little more history than that. I discuss a bit of this with Joyce Hertzoff and Shane Thomas on his great little Book Club – you can view it here.
Quite a few years ago now, there existed a hosting site called Avidgamers. It let you set up your own site with forums on which people would roleplay. For those of you who are unfamiliar with roleplay (or these sites), each site would contain a world set up by the admin. For example, there were sites based on books, movies, shows, etc, or they were completely original. On the site, you would create your character and head into the forums. The forums were different ‘areas’ of the world (so in Caligation, you might have the city split up into sections and each section containing places in that area; such as a header of ‘North’ with posting areas for ‘library’ ‘school’, etc). People would make posts introducing their character in a scene, others would join and interact through literary prose. The admins had the job of maintaining the site, moderating and encouraging plot through the use of their own characters or NPCs (non-player characters). It’s simultaneously that simple and far more complicated, however, I hope the brief overview helps.
Caligation, the RP Site?
Caligation went through many iterations. It started out as a ‘there’s a city you get lost in and can’t escape with various supernaturals in it, also a gang for each supernatural type which cause all sorts of mayhem’. The problem with Avidgamers is that it was unstable. Over the years it shut down, came back up and shut down again. Each time, I (and a few friends who had found and adored the site) would rebuild, gather our old members and find new ones. Then Avidgamers shut down completely. Out of its ashes rose Acronrack. Acornrack went through more or less the same issues year after year until it, too, finally shut down. I stopped frequenting RP sites at that stage. This was somewhere in 2009, I think.
Where to From There?
Over several iterations, Caligation had grown and I had become attached to many of my characters (who were often used to help plot along). I knew I wanted to write a novel but my problem was how to show the world? I needed to change the setting and I needed to come up with a solid plot. Eventually, I ended up deciding to show the city through the eyes of a newcomer, to allow the reader to learn and experience it with the main character. I created Ripley, reworked the world into something with more depth and began to write in around 2012.
What Came With the Site?
I changed a lot of the setting. The Murder (formerly known as the Dusk Shuriken) and the Cavanettis (formerly known as the Blood Scythes – even worse a name than the previous one, I know!) remained. There was also an Aspector gang – Abaddon’s Storms – and a human gang called Baskerville Blues (or something like that, I think I’ve forgotten… they went through several iterations, each as awful as the last). Needless to say, the latter two gangs were scrapped, as were their effigia restrictions (Dusk Shuriken members could have whatever. However, the Scythes had to have felines, the Storms had to have birds and the Baskervilles had to have… well, canines).
What did come with the site was the name, the general feel of the city, effigia, the gritty danger, the fog, the general layout of the city and the races (though they are much evolved now). Also, a few characters.
Who Lives in Caligation Still?
Zero and Keme were both part of the site; her history that comes up in the book was actually played out as a plot thread at some stage on the site. Ajax has stuck around since then (there was no way I could leave Nyx out of the book, after all!). Archer was an amalgam of one of my characters and one played by a friend.
There are also some homages. Josephine, Evangeline and (partially) Archer are loosely based on the characters of friends. By that I mean, the position they filled in relation to my characters and/or their position in the city remained the same, but the characters in the book are original.
The rest are new. I’m glad for that, it’s been great watching them become people in my head.
So That’s It?
More or less. If you have any questions, feel free to comment or email. I had a lot of fun coming up with Caligation all those years ago, and then reworking it into a novel. I also made some great friends.
Shane’s website can be accessed here. It has some great reviews, quality reading and these wonderful Book Club chats.
Joyce’s can be found here.
tl;dr – I’ve always been a big nerd. Here’s where Caligation came from.