When I wrote Starcaster, I deliberately wrote heavy on plot and characterization, and light on worldbuilding. I did this because the world was still very hazy in my mind. I had wild ideas of basing the story in New York circa 1810, but the story just doesn't fit very well in that time frame. I therefore wrote it in a pseudo-London, but that didn't quite fit as well. I wanted a world based on history, but I didn't what this to be a historical novel. I guess I wanted more freedom than a historical novel would allow.
Don't get me wrong; I'd love to do a historical novel. But I don't think this is the right one to make historical. If I place it in New York circa 1810, then I'll have a lot of baggage from the time frame to weigh my plot down. This is a light, fun novel. (I do have a historical novel in mind, and Cicero is a major character. But I have two other books to write first!)
Then, I came up with what I hope is a great idea. Now I have a history to go along with the conflict and I have a reason for the conflict. The political situation draws from the Bolshevik Revolution, the American Revolution (I know, lots of revolutions), the wars between Britain and France, old fashioned repression, and an enemy dictatorship. The country where the story takes place is a monarchy, but it is a toothless monarchy where a parliament has all the power.
I'm now chipping away at my second draft and I think it's going very well, especially since I can weave in the above as I go along.
On the Forging front, I'm starting to question my earlier decision to cut 6000 words off of my opening. I just have not been able to make it work and it will require lots of revision deeper in the novel. I don't know if I want to go back into so much revision; I have other novels to write; novels that quite excite me. So I'm thinking about going back to the version that Kristin beta-read and try to tighten the existing opening up, instead. However, I'm working hard on Starcaster now, so I'll just let all this peculate in the meantime.