Why Our Solemn Hour?

This song is a mind worm, it dug in and wouldn’t let go.
Our Solemn Hour: How it all began, August 23, 2011

I can't believe it has been that long since the idea for Our Solemn Hour first wormed its way into my mind.  It is a very reluctant idea.  It doesn't want to come out easily. 

The story wouldn't flow.  A character popped into my head, and proposed such an interesting idea:

Ronan popped into my head and said, “I am a survivor from the lost city of Parthalan. I was there when it fell. I tried to save it, to save anything... but in the end, it all fell apart. I hate what the moon brings.”

I perked up immediately. That is interesting, and I recognized that last phrase.

H. P. Lovecraft wrote a vignette called, What the Moon Brings, on June 5, 1922 that starts with the line, “I hate the moon.” It is a gastly short about unspeakable horrors bleeding into the world through the moon light. The story is powerful and evocative, but it posed a problem for me.
Our Solemn Hour: How it all began, August 23, 2011

So, what happened to Ronan?  Well, after that, he never came back.  That was the first and last time I heard his voice.  Why?

Ronan was a bridge, a gate to introduce me to the world, and not a character in it.  Imagine a world where shades and horrors haunt the night.  A world where light is our only defense from the vile monsters that lurk in the darkness.  That is just how the world is.

If such horrors are a feature of the setting, and not something our heroes are gathered to stop, that would make this world very different from most of the ones I have ever read about or encountered.

Even back then, I realized that the story needed several ingredients:

The swordplay and organization in the world will draw on Wuxia and Jedaigeki sources rather than European legends and Romances. This may not be new for anime or manga, but I am not familiar with much prose fiction like that. The idea of writing an anime type sword and sorcery is exciting. I allow myself a lot more freedom than I would have ordinarily to do things differently.
Our Solemn Hour: How it all began, August 23, 2011

 I love the idea of swordsmen and pikemen.  Heroes who can fly through the air simply by leaping into it.  Spirits walking alongside humans, and other races that are somewhere in between.

I have toyed around with this idea before, but I have never really committed myself wholeheartedly to crafting such a mystical world.

The setting will eschew (I use that word in honor of Mark Twain) medievalism with a world resembling Steampunk, Westerns, Swashbuckling fiction, and Gaslight fiction. No squabbling nobles, royals, or the like. The stories will be about individuals rather than nations at war, and the stakes will be personal.
Our Solemn Hour: How it all began, August 23, 2011

I'm not sure how much I'm going to hold myself to this idea.  While I would still like to avoid medievalism, the idea of an Elizabethan Queen is intriguing to me.  I would like to stick with the general principle though.

These would be stories about people not empires.  Game of Thrones is a good example of the type of story I do not want to do.  While it is entertaining, it is nothing but the story of squabbling nobles.  I want to do something different.

I've always found it fun to try to hold in my mind the reality that Queen Victoria was on the throne while cowboys were moving through the American West.  The juxtaposition is a beautiful thing, sort of like a Zen koan.

Characterization will be as important as the Action/Adventure elements. Many Sword and Sorcery stories miss that part. I am not saying that I will be perfect with it, but I really want the stories to be character driven.
Our Solemn Hour: How it all began, August 23, 2011

Character driven stories are neither natural nor native to epic fantasy.  It would be fun to try to change that.

I thought it would be interesting to bring up this first image of Our Solemn Hour.  If nothing else, it is proven to me that the idea continued to bubble in the back of my head.  The world that is starting to take shape owes its origin to this little idea, but it has grown into something more.

I would love to know what you think about the broad contour's I've laid out in this post.  Is there anything that you would add or subtract? Let me know in the comments.