Welcome to the start of a new series, Building the Cosmos. This series will dive into how I built a book series out of LEGO Characters.
This first one will not start at the very beginning, but instead will explain how Battle for Eklatros became what it is today.
Some very minor spoilers for those who haven’t read Battle for Eklatros.
The Prologue to The Series
In my mind, Battle for Eklatros is a 600-page prologue to the entire book series. The second book, in which I was currently writing at the time this blog was published, was always meant to be the start of the story—at least the start of the newest version of the story. For ease of explaining, I will call this New Vortex. I will explain this in more detail at a later date. I hope that this won’t be too confusing.
However, I will say that I had always struggled with writing out this story. Each version of New Vortex that I tried to write never got very far. I struggled with getting everything right with all the characters I was juggling. Professor Navacus Clums was always meant to be the main character, and his story is pretty straight forward, but again, I had a lot going on. I had always had plans to include Theodore and Cecil into the story, but trying to include them always made my stories fall apart.
Battle for Eklatros’ Original Conception
If my memory serves me right (which sometimes it doesn’t), then I first starting formulating the idea for Battle for Eklatros at my Great Aunt’s 95th birthday celebration. Or, more accurately, while was at the hotel during that trip out to Brandon, Florida.
While I was formulating the idea, I was very committed to building it out as a computer game using RPG Maker VX Ace. And I worked on that game for at least a year or more. But man, let me tell you, that was hard work. I thought that since I was a website developer, and I knew HTML and CSS, that it would be easy. But the logic behind creating a video game is, in my opinion, much more complex than building a website. I don’t really have a stable version of the game anymore, which is a bit of a shame, but I do have a semi-playable version. Feel free to check out the video walkthrough at the end of this post.
I actually got decently far during the build out of the game. I made it past Pikkul Harbor, to where they are on a ferry. But at that point, the story of the game is quite different as there is no Vesten (West). I started to diverge the story from the video game after the party meets Dasch (Sterg).
Anyway, once I started realizing just how complex the story would be to create as a video game, and how I had messed up a few things that would be quite difficult to fix, I abandoned ship and decided to turn it into a book, which I’ll get into more in a bit.
I also want to say that I only created artwork for Ànifa, Theodore, and Cecil for the game. I was actually set to create artwork for Dasch (Sterg), but the artist stopped working for me after Cecil, which I am actually happy about, since she was quite expensive. So the artwork you’ll see on my website for Dasch, Vesten, Joan, and Tyrona were made several years later by a different artist. Those were not made for the game, but for my own reference and usage.
When Battle for Eklatros was its Own Story
When I was building out the Battle for Eklatros computer game, I decided to use names and characters that I was already familiar with in a new story. So that’s why I used Ànifa, Theodore, Cecil, Joan, and Tyrona as my main characters. I also had ideas for completely different characters. First of all, Dasch was originally named Sterg, and while he was also supposed to be from the past, his story was different back then. Also, Vesten was originally named West. Both the names Sterg and West were borrowed from different characters, and both are major characters in their own right.
Also in the original party were characters named Carl and Ivy. In this original version, Carl was supposed to be from the future, to serve as a foil for Dasch (Sterg) who came from the past. Ivy was supposed to be a woman with her own band of travelers and explorers, which served as a basis for Ms. Matros.
So, every single name I used in Ànifa’s party was a name I have been using for multiple years. At the time, this was fine because this was meant to be a completely separate story from New Vortex. But as I worked on the story, I grew to really like it, and knew I wanted to tell this story one way or another.
Also, aside from the characters, the original video game version was always meant to feature the Ekataramn. Now, without getting too into things, the Ekataramn date back to at least the 2014 version of the story, but the concepts are much older. I always have had the idea for magical tree-like beings that hold unique and divine powers. So, they were always supposed to be part of the New Vortex story to begin with. They just had a different origin story, but I really like how it’s all played out.
The Fusion of Eklatros and New Vortex
The idea to fuse Eklatros and New Vortex together seemed like a logical solution to the situation I was in. As I mentioned previously, I already had a lot of the elements that were always supposed to be part of the main story (The Ekataramn, and Theodore and Cecil’s characters). There was just a lot that needed to change. The party itself got a complete overhaul as I somewhat explained, and some characters got renamed or completely removed.
The process itself to change the names and rework the party wasn’t very difficult. As for the story, the majority of the story I built out as the computer game is still part of the book. For instance, the way in which Ànifa meets Charlotte, Theodore, Sage Mason, Cecil, and Dasch (Sterg), all happen nearly identically in the game as it happens in the book. There are differences, of course, such as the dire sloths, jackhorn, and woolly rhinoceroses aren’t present in the game. And actually, it was only when I was writing the dire sloth god that I even had the idea to include the animal gods. I ran with the idea, and am very happy that I did so.
It is around Pikkul Harbor that the story diverges quite a bit. The biggest change was including Vesten as early on as I did. In the game, Anifa and her party don’t meet a mob of people, and the docks aren’t full; there is no conflict at all. The party simply finds and boards a ferry, and they are headed to Sortuga, not to Gallheim. But at that point in writing the book, the story was making much more sense, and flowing much more naturally then the story I was building out for the game.
The Interlude Chapters
Since this was going to be book 1 in the series, I knew I couldn’t start it without including the main character of the series, Professor Navacus Clums, so I had the idea for the interlude chapters. Writing out the stories for Svetlana, West, Norman, Ivy, Sassafrass, Blood Bat, Newtus and Denoptace as interlude chapters was the perfect way to tell those stories.
The reason why I had struggled writing the original versions of New Vortex was also because I was trying to do too many things. Svetlana was always supposed to be Professor Clums’ first subject, so I always tried to start the story with her. But again, there was too much to do and too many characters to introduce before the main source of conflict was introduced, which just led to a bland story. So being able to tell those stories through the interlude chapters was the perfect way for me to introduce all of those characters while setting up the conflict that kick-starts the entire New Vortex story.
Okay, so I hope that this isn’t too confusing, and I hope this explains everything well even if you aren’t familiar with my story. I do want to say that fusion the two stories together is the absolute best thing that could have happened. Neither story would have held up on its own, but combined, it works absolutely perfectly. Everything is how it is meant to be. The Ekataramn, and how they are depicted, are exactly how they were meant to be. Ànifa, Theodore, Cecil, Tyrona, Joan, Quaant, and Druder are all who they were always meant to be. And Dasch and Vesten are the best ‘new’ and ‘unplanned’ characters that I ever could have asked for. I say unplanned because they were never part of New Vortex until the Eklatros fusion, and now they are both absolutely integral parts of the story. Read more about this in my blog Behind the Name; Ànifa’s Party.
I am going to plan on the next blog in this series to dive into the meaning behind New Vortex, and why there is a new vs an old Vortex.
See the Game in Action
If you want to see what the Battle for Eklatros video game looked like, watch the video below. This 20-odd minute video gives a good overview on the similarities and differences between the game and the book.
Alex Galassi’s debut novel Battle for Eklatros is the first book in the Rebalancing the Cosmos series. He has been writing and creating stories for most of his life. Many of his characters, including Navacus Clums and Cecil Kloud, were born through his time playing with LEGO.
When he is not writing fiction, he enjoys hiking and camping in Colorado’s beautiful mountains and playing Dungeons & Dragons with his friends.