Tag Archives: the mind of a writer

I’m Building a World!

(Man, if those words don’t give you a god complex I don’t know what will!)

So, anyhow, I did some world-building this weekend. (See what this series of blog posts is doing to me?)

Not for my Camp NaNoWriMo project, mind you, (although I did work on its outline a little) but for an idea that’s been kind of kicking around on a back burner for a while now.

Settings are usually my weak point, but that’s what this one started as – just a setting. No people, no plot, just a place.

The place now has some people (well, two named people) and a history and a (main) religion. And the start of a story line. (There are people in the story line, too, but they don’t have names yet.)

Unfortunately, the story line probably isn’t enough for a novel so I’m still not sure what’s happening with the whole idea, but at least it’s a start.

And even more unfortunately I think there are two novels set there – one back when the place was new and one later, after things got codified a bit more. And, actually, it would lend itself well to a series of short stories.

(No, it doesn’t have a name. The working title is Sanctuary. (Or Haven or Refuge or Oasis. Apparently I can’t make up my mind.)

As much as I want to start working on this story (because it’s shiny and sparkly and oh, look, a squirrel!) I don’t think I’ll start writing it yet. It needs some pretty intense world building.

The city (or whatever it is) is a melting pot of different races and nationalities and cultures and religions and what-have-you, and I need to know about all of them.

Will the reader know about all of them? Probably not. At least, not all at once.

But I need to know.

And for once I would like to have everything settled and sorted before I start writing.

Just to see what it’s like.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under writing

World Building — Background Info

First of all, let’s define world building. The way I see it there are two different aspects.

One is the creation of the world, the background information, etc.

The other is showing it to the reader.

Let’s start with the creation of the world and background information. We’ll come back to showing it to the reader another time.

As I mentioned on Monday, I tend to do more world building for things set in the “real” world, like the novel I’m going to be trying to finish during Camp NaNoWriMo next month. You would think that I would do more of it with my more fantasy oriented stuff. I mean, after all, I’m creating a whole world from scratch for that. But no one can actually fact check a world I create, so there’s less research involved.

For instance, this book is set in a small town in Pennsylvania because… Well, because I know small towns in Pennsylvania. I grew up in them and I live in one now. My main character, Cara, is a lawyer, and at the start of the book she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Why? Because Oklahoma and Pennsylvania have a reciprocal agreement about law licenses so she doesn’t have to take the bar exam again to practice in Pennsylvania. Before I decided on where she lived, I Googled for information about lawyers practicing in more than one state and found the Oklahoma thing. (The fact that I know someone in Tulsa that I can pester with questions helped cement the choice.)

And having never dealt with arranging a funeral or cremation, or settling an estate/inheritance, my search history is a little… interesting… at the moment.

Most of the paranormal stuff in the book comes from general background knowledge that I already have. Some of it came from asking questions in a Face Book group I’m in (my knowledge of herbs can be a little lacking) which actually prompted some people to experiment with different herbal incense combinations.

(I’ll be turning to them again soon with some questions about the Fey and agreements with them.)

For something more strictly and fully in the fantasy genre I wouldn’t need to do all of that.

So what do you need to do for stories that lie outside the “real” world?

Well, there’s a lot more naming involved. Planets (for science fiction), countries, oceans, towns, rivers, etc.

And maps. For fantasy especially you should have a map. (Says the writer with about seventeen thousand notes in various places in her series to “draw a map” or “a map would be nice” or “check the map if you ever get around to drawing one.”)  Now, this doesn’t have to be a really pretty map that you would show to someone else. It just has to be something that shows the relative positions of towns in relation to each other and any major geographic features so that when you have your characters travel from Town A to City B they go in the same direction every time.

And it’s probably a good idea to make the map as you go – or even before hand – instead of getting stuck where I am now with my series. I have a rough idea where most stuff is but there are one or two things that don’t want to fit in. For instance, the Fortress is east and south of the Academy. And there’s a town that is south and west of the Academy. And that’s fine. Except it makes the town too far from the Fortress. (Well, it makes it farther away than I want it to be.)

But that’s okay. I can work around that. My real problem lies with a couple forests that need to be… somewhere. Somewhere south of the Academy, but east of that town, but not near the Fortress.

So, yeah. I really should draw a map.

Another thing about non-reality based writing is government and religion. Not something you have to think about for books set in our world, but for fantasy and science fiction?

And those are both things that I tend to gloss over, usually falling back on a traditional monarchy and not mentioning religion (or even government) unless it becomes an issue in the book. (Or is central to it, like a couple of trilogies that I’m ignoring, one of which probably wouldn’t take too much to finish…)

And I think I’ve rambled long enough for one blog post. On Monday we’ll tackle some other aspect of world-building.

1 Comment

Filed under writing

World Building, Sort Of

Since I touched on world building on Friday I thought I’d write a bit more about it for today.

There’s just one small problem…

I don’t know what to say about it.

When I write something that is science fiction or strictly fantasy I tend to make things up as I go, which leads to some interesting problems, so it’s a bad habit that I should probably try to break.

When I’m writing something that is more along the lines of paranormal or urban fantasy I actually do a lot more research than I do for SF&F.

Why?

Because people can fact-check it and I don’t want to look like I was making it up as I went.

So, anyhow, there are some questions I want to tackle on this subject:

Why is world building important?

How much is too much?

How little is not enough?

But I’m not going to tackle them today. It’s way too hot and my brain has melted and my body is in process of doing the same.

I’m on night shift this week so I’ll write about them when I’m in air conditioning.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under writing

S.A.B.L.E.

In the world of counted cross stitch (and probably other crafts) we have an acronym of S.A.B.L.E., which is Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. In other words, there’s no way we’re ever going to stitch all of our charts in this lifetime. After spending several hours last night trying to organize my plot bunnies I’m beginning to wonder if there is a similar acronym for writing. If not I may have to invent one.

I’m not at all certain that I’m going to get this project finished tonight. I might be able to at least get the rest of the ones that I have printed off put into the binder, but as I was ,working on it last night I kept thinking, “I know I started writing this,” which means that there are more lurking somewhere.

The question is, “Where?”

And I’m afraid the answer might lie in my Plot Bunny Bag, so I have the feeling that tomorrow (my day off) I’m going to drag it out and see what horrors may be lurking within it. If you don’t hear from me on Friday I was eaten by a rabid plot bunny.

It’s really frustrating to know that you’ve written something and then not be able to find it, and I have several starts like that. Hopefully, though, with the binder of starts and ideas that I’m making, from now on when I run across something like that I can put it in there and keep everything together so there’s no more of this.

But meanwhile…

 

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

NaNoWriMo Rebellion

 

No, I’m not being a rebel. I’ve started a new novel and I didn’t begin writing until the first.

No, it’s my characters that are being rebels.

In addition to the name issue, there seems to be some marital discord.

There wasn’t supposed to be. They were supposed to be in a loving relationship and she was not supposed to be a bitch.

On the other hand, her being a bitch is going to work out quite well.

Eventually.

Eventually being the last book of the main series.

*sigh*

On a brighter note I’ve managed to stay slightly above par so far. Barely, but still above par.

I just keep thinking that I should be further along because I’ve had two unexpected days off this week. The little boy that I ride the school bus with is in the hospital.

On one hand, my paycheck is going to suck. But on the other hand, more writing time. Except I don’t seem to have been doing a lot of extra writing other than staying a little over where I need to be.

In my own defense, though, I lost a couple hours on Wednesday getting my Work Box assembled. (Former landlord came and helped or it would still be in pieces on the floor of the front room.)

And today I had to do a shopping run and that ate about four hours.

And it doesn’t help that this is one of those times when words are being dragged kicking and screaming from my head to the screen.

I’m hoping that tomorrow and Sunday go better so I can get a nice cushion built up.  I’d like to be about 5k ahead of par. (I have blog hops those days, though, and have to clean the rat cage.)

But I’m pretty sure I’ll be off on Monday too, and probably Tuesday. (He’s supposed to be discharged on Tuesday but they’ve changed that before, so I’m kind of pantsing my work life right now.)

So, back to the grind. I still need to write 829 words just to hit par for today and I have a little under three hours to get it done. That’s less than five words a minute though, so I think I can make it.

Good luck to everyone else doing NaNoWriMo.

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Weekends

Why do weekends always go by so fast? I swear, Douglas Adams was right; time really is an illusion. It was bad enough when my weekend came in the middle of the week but now that I have the same weekend as everyone else I swear I blink and it’s over before it’s begun – and long before I’ve had enough time to do all the things I wanted to do.

Fortunately, this is going to be a short week for me. I work today and tomorrow, then Wednesday is just a half day and no school on Thursday and Friday, so maybe I can actually finally get caught up on stuff.

Of course, one of those days I have to take my car to the garage. On the way to Michael’s on Saturday it started sounding like it was going to drop the muffler at any time. (Actually, it sounded like the entire back end of the car was going to fall off, but the logical part of my mind knows it’s the muffler.)

Aside from the car it was a pretty uneventful weekend. I did a lot of errand-running on Saturday (and got thoroughly peopled out) and on Sunday I got a lot of stuff done around the house. (Not all that I’d planned, but, well, time went into hyper space and came out near bedtime.)

I’m doing pretty good at keeping up with my Habitica goals, although I do find myself changing the “due date” on some of the stuff on my To Do list because I always over-schedule myself.

I haven’t worked with WordKeeperAlpha much yet (and probably won’t until December or January) but I am getting a handle on Asana and have a goal to add a project a day to it until all of my WiPs and starts and ideas are entered. Anyone want to start a pool on when that will be done? (And can I keep ahead of the plot bunnies?)

My outline for November is coming along slowly. At this point it’s probably more notes to myself than actual outline, but it’s coming along. I hope to have the first draft of it done by the end of the week. (Yes, I do drafts of outlines. Doesn’t everyone?)

And the space battle scene in Onyx Sun is starting to pick up momentum. I’m even doing more than the one sentence that I promised myself I’d do every day. (Hmm. Maybe that can get wrapped up on my days off this week too.)

So that’s the latest. I have a four (and a half) day weekend coming up that I’m really looking forward to and my writing mojo seems to be on an upswing. Can’t wait to see what the week holds…

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Revising Goals

On Monday, I wrote “I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.”

And so far I’ve done a pretty good job at that, despite having spent most of the week battling the cold from hell.

Unfortunately, all of it has been for the prequel to The Academy of the Accord (current working title: Creating Accord) and it’s been nothing more than a few notes jotted down in the traveler’s notebook that I carry with me at work. Some of the notes are things to check (or possibly change) in the other books and some are notes for this one.

So, it’s been some progress, but not much. (The lack of productivity is mostly courtesy of the cold from hell and the evil day job, but mostly the cold from hell.)

Since the cold seems to be breaking up and I’m starting to get some energy back, I think I’m going to have to revamp my goals a little bit, by changing just one little word.

No more “or.”

“Or” is now “and.”

I need to do one small thing daily for both The Academy of the Accord (either the series or the prequel – probably the prequel this month since it’s looking like it’s going to be my NaNoWriMo project) and Onyx Sun.

Otherwise, Onyx Sun will continue to be ignored, and I’ve already missed several “I want to release this by” dates, which is only adding to the frustration with it and the feeling that it will never be done.

Will this work any better?

I have no idea.  Monday will be too soon to tell so I’ll give it until next Friday to see how it’s working.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Goals for October 2017

We’re in October already, which means that November and NaNoWriMo are just around the corner, so it’s time to set up my goals for the month.

The main one, of course, will be to decide on a project for NaNoWriMo and get it outlined.

The other main one is to get the additional scenes for Onyx Sun written and inserted into the manuscript, then get it printed so I can do another round of paper edits on it. At this point I’m relatively certain that it is not going to be published this year.

I’m really balking at working on it, finding a million other things to do instead.

Why?

I’m not sure, but for some reason it just feels like my heart isn’t in it right now. The Academy of the Accord is calling. It’s been on my mind more and more lately. I really want to get back to it. I miss it, miss the characters, and I want to get back to it.

But Onyx Sun is my current project and I’d really like to finish it and get it published but…

But my heart’s not really in it.

My heart is with The Academy of the Accord and I’m starting to resent Onyx Sun for keeping me from it.

So, remember Friday, and that novel (prequel to The Academy of the Accord) that I’m not outlining? Yeah? Well, that non-outline now has an epilogue and the whole thing is looking like a good candidate for November.

It doesn’t have nearly enough plot points yet, and the main characters are still lacking some important things, like… oh… descriptions.

And names.

Definitely need names. (Actually, I need to check the current series and see if I ever named either of them. I think the wizard might have been named in passing, but it’s more likely that there is a note to myself to name him.)

Anyhow, writing down what the epilogue was going to be made me have to write notes to check and change things in the series.

Then I started making more notes that may end up changing other things in the series – mostly in the later books. (Book Seven, especially, and Book Twelve.)

I also wrote myself a note “Is this prequel going to delay the series?”

Then I wrote some more notes about things I will need to edit based on the epilogue, and then another note to myself: “Yep! Series may be delayed.”

(I hope not! I sincerely hope not. 2020 is a good release date.)

So, I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.

So yesterday I typed up what I have of the outline so far and today I wrote down another idea to include in it. It’s a rather vague idea and I’m not sure how (or if) it’s going to work, but it’s written down. (It kind of doesn’t fit the universe but I think I can make it work.)

 

2 Comments

Filed under writing

Grecian Formula for Plot Bunnies

It’s been a fairly productive weekend. Not so much where writing is concerned, but with taking care of other stuff that I’ve been procrastinating on.  It’s been too hot to do much, though, which means that I still have a couple swaps to finish up tonight so I can get them in the mail after work tomorrow. (On the other hand, glue is drying pretty fast.)

Back to work today, and it was a fairly low key day. We’ve kind of started a pool as to how many days he’ll be in school this week. (The world of nursing is strange. Almost as strange as the world of a writer.)

Writing-wise, nothing’s been written except blog posts. The journaling challenge that I’ve been doing on my other (Pagan) blog only has a few more entries to go, and I’m both happy and sad about that. It’s been nice to be kind of “forced” (even if it was voluntarily) back into the groove, but a post a day in addition to everything else gets to be a little much.

That’s not to say I’ve neglected novels.

Part of my mind is working out stuff for The Academy of the Accord and another part is busy trying to hide from old (ancient) plot bunnies.

Seriously old plot bunnies.

One wandered in the other day and I thought, “I should ask Danielle what this term makes her think of.” Then I started thinking and… OMG, I felt old! Danielle is one of my best friends and I have plot bunnies that are older than she is. (This one originated during the first Star Wars movie.)

(Do they make Grecian Formula for Plot Bunnies?)

And on that note I think I’ll go sit in a corner and melt…

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Interruptions, Distractions, and Annoyances

Predictably, no writing over the weekend.

I seem to have done an awful lot of running around on Saturday so pretty much nothing at all got done.

Most of yesterday was spent doing paper crafts. I have one more artist trading card to do to finish this swap and it’s almost done but it still needs… something. I just don’t know what that something is.

I had to cancel my car inspection for Saturday – it’s been rescheduled for tomorrow morning.

So today I have to:

  • do the Rainbow Snippet blog hop I didn’t do over the weekend
  • do the Snippet Sunday blog hop I didn’t do over the weekend
  • write the thrice cursed space battle!

And deal with the day job that is being super annoying as I’m trying to write this.

(I got a text that they didn’t get my time card so I scanned it and emailed it, and in the process of doing that I got a phone call that they didn’t get my time card. So I sent it and got an email that they got the emailed timecard but could I scan and email my log as well. Seriously? You couldn’t have asked me that when I was talking to you? I just got my scanner and program shut down. They’re gonna have to wait because now I’m more thoroughly annoyed than I was before.)

(On the plus side, I’m gaining a lot of villains for future stories!)

Off to find my logs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under writing