Reader Input Wanted

Posted: November 7th, 2023 under Background, Reader Help.
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Behind the scenes work is going on to reorganize the “research” end of Paksworld.  One of the things I need, post concussions, is an easier place to look things up within the fictional world the Paks books are written, to maintain continuity between them as I work on new ones.   I spent hours over the weekend trying to find  the name of the best bootmaker in Valdaire, and checking out that a certain first name hadn’t been used for the opposite sex, at least not recently.  But we want that “place to look things up” to be useful to you readers, too.

So this is a call for help.  What would YOU like to see in a collection of info on Paksworld?  What are questions YOU have that aren’t answered in the material already provided.   Do you have great ideas for enhancing such a compendium that you’d like to see tried out?    What is it you *don’t* want to see in such a pile of facts?   I can put you in touch with the person who is doing the heavy-lifting on this (my hands already being full with Horngard II and some shorter stuff AND trying to get the house more in order AND other lifestuff).

Eventually we want to extend this project to the other fictional worlds, so someone who wants to know a character name in a Vatta book, or wonders if a character in the Serrano-Suiza books is related to another character, can find out, but since I’m working in Paksworld right now, that comes first.  (And there are more books, and WAY more words, in the Paksworld group than in the any of the others.


  • Comment by Chuck Gatlin — November 7, 2023 @ 10:15 am


    My personal preference is a combination of (1) notes like Scott used in the Waverly novels and (2) Tolkien’s appendices, supplemented by index or two.Ideally this would be book.
    More practically, could something be assembled using the electronic published texts, for example, pulling out proper names, which list could then be used to assembled an annotated list of persons, places, and things, sort of a dictionary or concordance–“Strong’s Topical Paksworld,” so to speak.
    There’s also a place for expanded essays like some of those on the Paksworld website already. One subject I’d like to know more about is the various magics that are not derived from the gods. There’s a little bit of theorizing by doctors and sorcerers (I forget the terms used in the stories to distinguish between Old Humans and Mageborn and the post-Gird magicians)–for example, discussions of charms, or “demons” that spoil milk or infect blood. Some more about the theories behind that sort of engineered magic would be interesting, even if they are in fact mistaken about what is actually going on.

  • Comment by James Fehr — November 7, 2023 @ 11:55 am


    It sounds like you need a personal search engine.The way this could work would be something like this: on a web page you would put in place a text box and ask a background CGI script to display any words that match your words as well as the address of the page or pages which contained the words. This is trivial to create with any scripting language. I wrote such scripts for McGraw-Hill websites in the 2004 – 2006 period. I used Perl for such scripting because it is optimized for dealing with text. There may also be programs you can purchase to do this for you, though I don’t know of any off the top of my head. Perl also works well with Apache web servers.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 7, 2023 @ 11:58 am


    Tnanks, Chuck. What’s going on right now is collecting all the names. My original book folders always had a Names file–the ones in WordStar aren’t available to us, but for Paladin’s Legacy and the newer stuff, those Names files are being a help. Aside from that, my assistant will have to go through the books to pick them out and give them their context. Pre-computer, the name lists were typed out and I have a few of those, but the “recruit cohort” list of who died which campaign year has disappeared again.

  • Comment by Eowyn — November 7, 2023 @ 12:25 pm


    I tend to like things that are easily sorted through. Terms (e.g. taig, girdish)
    Peoples (e.g. Elves, Gnomes, etc.)
    Maps (what is where)
    History (basic timelines, esp. before Gird and between Gird & Paks))
    Main Characters (including family trees as needed)
    Minor Characters

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — November 7, 2023 @ 2:00 pm


    There is that missing “big map”. Did that ever show up in your reorg of the office? I haven’t wanted to ask. Not that it is essential but having the layout–like your recent pre-battle sketch–are helpful at times in envisioning the world.

    Would this include only the published matter or would it include any of your other notes? Particularly if you’ve sent off some of your stuff to the archiving institution, hopefully some of that will become publicly available, if not canon in Paksworld.

  • Comment by Jim DeWItt — November 7, 2023 @ 2:41 pm


    Are you thinking of a Paksworld Wiki? Or more of a text volume something like Pratchett’s “Turtle Recall,” a Discworld Companion?

    I think there are also WordPress templates that can serve as a kind of virtual card file.

  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — November 8, 2023 @ 8:11 am


    Yes and no. My memory is not that great as I descend into senility – but it is the action and the descriptions that are more important. And while it would be nice – it is not really necessary for me. But I would pay money for an E-Book with all of your character and place names. And of course the mysterious missing big map.

  • Comment by Jason — November 8, 2023 @ 8:56 am


    I’ll second the call for a wiki-style which would allow you to tap into reader energy for simple things like lists of names, etc. Some parts should be locked down as the “received word”, but there’s no reason why somebody couldn’t write an essay on the use of polearms in Aarenis, or somesuch.

  • Comment by Marco — November 8, 2023 @ 4:11 pm


    There are some example at, i like what is there for the Wheel of time books. do not know if i am allowed and welcome to post the link here

  • Comment by Llink — November 9, 2023 @ 7:52 am


    I think the most interesting thing to me would be a “guide for travelers.” Something with an knowledgeable in world author (A guild master from Valdaire, an elf with wanderjahr from Lyonya, etc) who could write a short backstory of the various locations, their religions, and the current rulers would how I would like to see the information presented.
    As far as questions not answered I would love to see the life of a Kuakgan and companion tree “from acorn to ruinous age”

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 9, 2023 @ 12:02 pm


    Marco, your information is pertinent to the topic. I don’t know whether the writers of the examples you mention would want their links posted here, but I would have no problem with the link as long as it’s a clean link that doesn’t make my guard-software bristle up and bite. Sometimes, as you surely know, links have been corrupted. OTOH, my web person is interested in looking at other ways to approach the project.

  • Comment by Linda — November 9, 2023 @ 2:47 pm


    Maps yes, but also time lines they help me compare events / conditions/ happening in different parts of the world at the same time. And then to be able to follow the changes over time. I am always asking “why”.

    For example it might show what was going on in various places when Old Aare was abandoned (where were the elves? gnomes? did sea folk exist? Aids to help us understand relationships / cause and effect.. A Dragon’s eye view.

    Sometimes I would like far simpler things. Just chronologies …” Falk born”

    Usually I am looking for patterns

    Like info about the major kingdoms and their events in relationship to what was happening to particular characters. Paks of course could be the starting point, but it has to stretch back, BP and forward, AP ( joke)

    Some can come from close reading of the books, and some from your blogs, speeches etc. and a lot is probably in your notes. And different drafts of the books. Will scholars someday find fodder for debating “why Moon changed this event to this somewhat different event between draft one and the final published work.

  • Comment by Marco — November 9, 2023 @ 2:50 pm


    Elizabeth, below is the link i was mentioning, by the way i really enjoy your books, i own both english and italian translation of Paks and Serrano.

  • Comment by Patricia Lanigan — November 9, 2023 @ 3:14 pm


    Maps please! I keep going back to the map in Sheepfarmer’s Daughter (Kindle edition) to figure out places in Aarenis in relation to each other. My fumble-fingered efforts to zoom in and out of that map (pushing my glasses back up on my nose) while reading a proper printed book, can get exasperating.

    I enjoy spending time on maps, like the Atlas of World History, and more so since reading “Prisoners of Geography” by Tim Marshall, subtitled, ‘Ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics’. The Paks books, from the point of view of soldiers slogging through mud, up and down mountains, crossing rivers etc make those maps come alive.

    I realise that as the writer you have to keep track of EVERYBODY in the books; for myself, the list of Dramatis Personnae at the front does just fine. And the way you name characters, with easy-to-remember names, means I rarely have to go back to that anyway.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 11, 2023 @ 12:42 pm


    Before I can get back to the master map, I need to get that room cleaned up; my drafting table,with the map under protection on the surface, is buried in other stuff. I am getting some organizational help, starting in January, which should end with that room as useful as the study is now, but there are other rooms in the house that also need re-organization. I need the drafting table cleaned off, a better stool to sit on (I have an old rattan-seated stool that hurts my backside after about ten minutes. Have you looked at the maps in the Paladin’s Legacy series? They’re off the new master map. Unfortunately, my digital version of those maps was lost in last spring’s computer crash. The new master and the old master are not exactly alike (since I didn’t have the old master to work from or with) and as with maps of the period in our world (13th-15th c., roughly) the standardization had to wait for improved methods and a different attitude. The map-makers involved (me in various ages) weren’t all that good. However, with Kate-S coming in January, I will at least get the drafting table uncovered.

  • Comment by Eowyn — November 14, 2023 @ 9:45 am


    If you want/need someone to re-read a set of books and make quick notes on the who/where stuff that might be useful, I am just about due for a re-read of the series and would even be willing to do the 2 Gird books (otherwise, I’m skipping Luap). It will take me some time to go through them but I’m willing then someone else could do a check (and I happen to know Dan Glover ….)

  • Comment by Paul — November 28, 2023 @ 7:06 pm


    In addition to things mentioned above (I would really like to see a copy of the master map myself), I would like to see some clarifications on things that have happened. For instance, in the Legend of Paksenarrion series, there is the return of magery to the magelords, but honestly it is never really clear as to who or what was keeping it from manifesting in other than those of Verrakai descent. Now I can theorize a number of ways for this to happen from the number of Verrakai in other bodies and maybe draining magery keeping themselves there or by transferring themselves in the first place and using a lot of magery to do so, to the blood magery used on the regalia, to Achrya having stolen her power from the magelords, but actually knowing why it happened would be nice. And then there are all the things that have happened along the way. Why did the iynisin take magelord bodies? Is Camwyn from the House of Dragon really the same as Camwyn Dragonmaster from the legends as seemed to be implied in Limits of Power (which is interesting since it would mean that Arcolin is a descendant of someone considered a saint by some)? Is it Lieth or Suriya who is really the youngest King’s Squire? (I always went with Suriya as it was said originally in the Deed of Paksenarrion as opposed to in the Legend books). Are people going to go back to old Aare now that Dorrin unleashed all the waters from the regalia? Will Aare even recover after having been a desert for so long? If it does, how long will it take Aare to recover? Will it recover on its own or will people need to help? What things actually drove the elves out of Aare and out of Aarenis? And of course, What does Dorrin go on to do? (Yes, I have too many questions)

    Then again, maybe some of this and more will come out in the new books.

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