During the 3+ decades of work on Llurien, several principles have been followed:
- The setting would be created as if Llurien is a real place.
- By extension, stories would be tailored to the setting rather than vice versa.
- Many tales, often unrelated, can take place here.
- If Ellefson has seen it before, it will be avoided in favor of something new.
- If something (like dragons) causes cliched problems (there’s only one left), it will not be included.
- Most of his novels would be set here.
Llurien began in 1988 for a trilogy and had the usual elves, dragons, and other fantasy staples. In 1991, Ellefson’s seriousness as an author increased after adding three species (mandeans, kryll, and jhaikan) to join the first race (morkais) created in 1988. He also created a history, map, major settlements on Antaria (the original continent), and new military groups (Coiryn Riders and Warders). He began to think about removing fantasy races in favor of his own.
While in college, Ellefson added many supernatural elements and removed standard races, adding another original species (kais) and a race (daekais). This was a major period of gestation and included legends, ships, and the great birds of prey and winged riders. Many items were repeatedly re-worked.
Ellefson created two more species (querra and riven), the afterlife, valend cards, and a detailed and related structure for the gods, species, and calendar. He attempted to finalize the project so he could focus on writing books.
Ellefson spent less time on Llurien in favor of writing novels and pursuing a music career, but he kept a growing list of ideas that included races and hybrids, kingdoms, continents, and material concerns like a monetary system. Most ideas were finally fleshed out in more detail in the next period.
Putting fiction front and center, Ellefson resumed world building, creating plants, animals, a magic system with hundreds of spells, myths and magic items for the gods, supernatural elements (like the Moon Gates and Ever Pathways), and more. Cities were once again revamped to include more involvement from other species (besides humans), for example, and species-specific settlements were created. He also added the continent Llorus, drawing its map and creating the kingdoms, land features, and kingdoms.
Ellefson paused world building to write books, whether The Art of World Building series (and podcast, courses, and videos), fantasy novels, and multiple memoirs and related non-fiction, producing 18 books under multiple names. He also converted Llurien for use with LitRPG books, a newer genre he added to his focus.
2023 and Beyond
Ellefson will continue prioritizing writing books, only adding to Llurien as needed for stories – unless, of course, he gets carried away with ideas again.