Tag Archives: 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.

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Wednesday Words #182(6/20/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a magical plant
a song
summer

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Wednesday Words #181(6/13/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a moonless night
a mysterious package
a lightning bolt

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Whyyyyyyyy?

The month is a third over and I haven’t touched the edits of Book 5. Why do I do this to myself? (Of course, I have a very good reason for not touching it – it’s a mess and I’m avoiding dealing with it.)

And then this afternoon, while trying to mentally sort out the opening sequence (yes, it is still giving me trouble!) and telling myself for the umpteen thousandth time that I really need to draw a map, an idea wandered in, plopped itself down, and said, “Make me happen.”

That wouldn’t be so bad (it’s a good idea, even a great one) but it doesn’t belong in this book. (It does belong to the series, though. I’m just not quite sure where.)

Why? *sob* Why me?

I have scribbled the idea down and now I just have to figure out where it goes. Some of it probably goes in Book 4 but I have no idea where the second half of it goes, but it needs to be before Book 8.

And now I have a headache.

I did make some progress (sort of) on the outline for next month. I need to make the changes in the Word doc and print it out again before I do too much more because it’s getting to the point that I won’t be able to tell what’s what if I don’t. (I ended up color coding the current print out.)

I’m also thinking I should maybe go get the current incomplete manuscript printed out so I can insert stuff where it belongs (and take out stuff that’s being changed) before it gets any more convoluted. That just might happen this Friday.

So, I’m working on stuff. And thinking about stuff.

If only it was the right stuff…

 

 

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Wednesday Words #180(6/6/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

yarn
pride
a book

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Wednesday Words #179(5/30/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

“Gawd, I hate this weather!”

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Wednesday Words #178(5/23/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a duck
someone is late
a change of plans

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Wednesday Words #177(5/16/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a bully
lace
a fence

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Wednesday Words #176(5/9/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a fever
a cold night
a chicken

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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Wednesday Words #175(5/4/2018)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a glowing sword
a masked figure
twins separated at birth

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

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