writing help

World Building Part One: The Land

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Today is part one of my six part series on world building.  I’m supper fricking excited to get into this.  I love creating worlds and all that mess.  You would think that I play D&D because of how much I love creating new worlds, but nah I don’t.  Not that there’s anything wrong with playing D&D it’s just I don’t have anyone around me who plays so I never had the opportunity.  Any way, lets get started.  

So you’ve decided that you have to create a whole new world for your story.  That’s awesome but where do you start first?  My suggestion is the land where the story will take place.  Here are 5 things to ponder while creating your world

1. Is it one country or a whole bunch?

One country is a whole lot easier to manage than let’s say a continent.  But with a continent, you will get more diversity in your world and therefore, a world that’s more believable.  You can have multiple climates in one country (for reference check out Tamora Pierce) but you still have to apply logic.  If you decide to go the multiple country route, you don’t have to go crazy (like me) and create countries that you may not even go to.  You can always add countries later so staring out with only two or three could be more than enough to get you started.  So let’s say for the point of this post that you choose to have multiple countries.  The best thing for you to do is to tackle each country individually.  Don’t worry about how they connect, you can deal with that at the very end when you create your map of your new world.  Which leads us to the next point….

2.  What’s the topography?

What land masses make up your country.  Now bear in mind that most countries have more than one.  Does your country have mountains?  Is it a flat plane?  Are there forests?  Hills?  Cliffs?  Glaciers?  What about swamps and marshlands?  Deserts?  You can combine as many or as little of these as you want.  When using land features you should also keep in mind what other uses could the land mass be.  Sometimes they make for good boarders or even territories within the country for different cultures.  Go as wild as you like but try to stay on this side of logic, you can’t go from arctic to savanna with only a small mountain range separating it (unless you have a magical explanation).

3. Waterways

Most countries, even desert ones, have some type of water.  Water is life so it’s important to include it in some fashion.  You could have a river that cuts through your countries serving as a natural boarder.  You could even have massive lakes.  Having your country back up to the ocean is by far the easiest option.  Don’t forget to think about your farmers or work out how the water gets to the people.  Do they build wells?  Are there tributaries?  Irrigation canals?  Just having a vague thought now in the planning process can help deter a major headache later on.

4. Climate

You can’t develop a country without thinking about it’s climate.  You can have mountains in the desert that have snow and flatlands that get a fair amount of rain.  Does your world have normal seasons or is it irregular like in Westeros.  Or is it one season all the time like Narnia during the rein of the White Witch?  These factors will help you develop the cultures and peoples in your world.  People who live in harsh climates use every last scrap of whatever they get while people in milder climes can be wasteful because there’s always an abundance.  Milder climates mean easier to produce goods which can lead to some countries being wealthier than other.  Just use our own world as a guide when choosing a climate for your world.

5. Cities

You don’t have to put every possible city, town, or village on the map.  But it does help to think about the placement of a few major cities.  It’s at these places that most of your population will live in.  The first city you would place is the capital.  It doesn’t need to be in the heart of your country, but it can be.  You could even have it backing up to some of your other land masses.   I have the capital in my new book backing up to a cliff side with a drop straight to a rocky coast.  This serves as a natural safeguard for the capital and the royal family.  No hostiles can encircle the capital and they have to fight up hill to get to the ruling family.  Towns along coast lines, rivers, and before mountain ranges, all have the potential to be ports or trade cities.  If you’re going to have a class of people who rule your country, you could include some of their homes on the maps.  But if you are, maybe think about what those ruling people contribute.  They could provide lumber, so that means near woods.  Or mined minerals?  Or even crops and livestock.   Just put like a half a second thought into the places you add.

 

Well that’s all that I have for this weeks installment.  If you think I left something out or want to expand on what I talked about please comment below.  I actually, truly and honestly love getting comments.  I love connecting to my audience.

 

Want other content?  Want to get to know me on a personal level?  Follow me on my other sites by clicking the links below:

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See ya next time!

 

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book reviews

Book Review: The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s Monday so that’s means that it’s time once again for me to do a book review.  Yea!  So here’s how this works.  I rate books on a scale of coffee cups….because I love coffee.  Also there will be no spoilers in these reviews.

 

0 cups= I hated it/couldn’t finish

1 cup= did like but finished bc I’m stubborn

2 cups= meh

3 cups= Not the best but interesting enough to finish

4 cups= I really like it.  

5 cups=OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS

Rating:

5 Cups

 

General Overview:

This book starts in the late 1800s and ends in the early 1900s.  It follows the life of Fiona Finnegan as she suffers through tragedy, the loss of a true love and her road to revenge.  Her life isn’t all bad, though.  She finds a new family and experiences success in the American Markets.  A woman a head of her time, she blazes through one hurtle after another shattering glass ceilings, that is until a demon from her past rears its ugly head again.  But Fiona faces it like she has everything else, head on.  

 

My Thoughts:

This book is a large book, but I finished it in a few days.  I fell in love with this book.  Fiona is a heroine for the ages.  Now I don’t want to go into too much details (I try to not spoil), but if you love murder mysteries, early Americana, and true love, then this is a book for you.  This book is one that would probably be great for book clubs.  I’m telling you….get it!

 

Reread factor:

The first year I bought this book I think I read it six times.  Now I read it once, maybe twice a year. It’s one of my all time favorites and if you give it a try, it could just end up being the same for you.

 

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Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

World Building for Dummies

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

The world that you build for your characters to play in can make or break your story.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across a story that was great but I spent half the time confused because I was trying to understand the rules of the world.  Sometimes they give me names of people or cultures without explaining anything about it and then roll on.  Or sometimes they’ll sum up what appears to be complex magical system with a few short sentences and never build.  

Now I had decided that I wanted to do a world building post a while back, but as I sat down to get into it, I realized that it was an awfully big concept to squeeze into a few short paragraphs.  I mean, no one wants to reach a mile long post.  So I’ve decided that the better course of action would be to split it up into smaller, more manageable sections.  These being land, people, religion, economy, the every day man, crime, and finally maps. I know what you’re thinking….how can I build a world when I don’t have a world to go off on.  Trust me.  It will all make sense when it’s all said and done with. 

But just one small thing before I leave you.  World building is essential to your writing.  There’s no half assing it, or getting around it.  Not every world build has to be elaborate or complex, although, if you are making a whole new world from scratch you might want to put some extra though into it.  If your world is just a slight variation of this one then all you really need to do is figure out how the changes you made will logically fit.  And there’s the key word logic.  Even in fantasy worlds there has to be a bit of logic when it comes to the inner workings of your world.

Well that’s it for today.  If you any questions about world building, comment below.  I’ll try to make sure I address them in their proper places or right away if you say it’s an emergency.

On a different note….

My book, Time of Prophecy is available in paperback and e-reader.  Follow the link here for a list of all the places you can find it.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much a I enjoyed writing it!

 

Want other content?  Want to get to know me on a personal level?  Follow me on my other sites by clicking the links below:

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See ya next time!

 

book reviews

Series Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s Monday so that’s means that it’s time once again for me to do a book review.  Yea!  I had a book last week that made me want to reread one of my favorite series.  I’m actually in the middle of rereading it so I figured why not review it. 

So here’s how this works.  I rate books on a scale of coffee cups….because I love coffee.  Also there will be no spoilers in these reviews.

 

0 cups= I hated it/couldn’t finish

1 cup= did like but finished bc I’m stubborn

2 cups= meh

3 cups= Not the best but interesting enough to finish

4 cups= I really like it.  

5 cups=OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS

 

 

Rating:

4 Cups

 

General Overview:

These books follow Percy Jackson as he discovers his Olympian heritage and deal with the complications that come along with it.  Prophecies, monsters, and combating the embodiment of evil is a lot for a twelve year old to handle.  But at least he doesn’t have to do it alone.  Percy has some loyal and bad ass friends along the way, some of them even god like.  But all he really wants is to go to camp and have fun learning how to sword fight and fly Pegasus…you know, normal things; and spend time with his mom.

 

My Thoughts:

When I first read the first book, The Lightening Thief, I didn’t like it.  I enjoyed reading it but by the end I was like, “meh”.  When I told my friend Acree about it he urged me to keep reading.  I guess I owe him because I did and fell more in love with each book.  Yeah it can get tiring with all the drama, but that’s not really what moves the story.  The connections the characters make with those around them and within themselves are just top notch.  Plus, the chapter titles are pretty hilarious and there are some great one liners.  The energy in these books kinda fluctuates like the tides for the first three and then it kicks it up a notch for the last two.  But one of the things that I loved the most is that you have strong male and female role models, and there are different strengths.  It’s not all brawn.  You also have weak characters whose flaws are the very things that make them special.  There’s a lot of resentment for parents who abandon their kids and as someone who once felt that way about a parent, these books show kids that you are not who your parents are, be they in your life or not.   It shows them that they can find their own strengths and learn to soar as high as the heavens.

 

Reread factor:

Like I said before, I’m in the middle of rereading these books.  I reread them at least once every couple of years.  I thoroughly enjoy them now from start to finish.  I will probably have these books on my shelf for as long as I’m alive and having to replace them when they become too worn out like my Harry Potter books.

 

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See ya next time!

 

writing help

Digital vs Paper Outlining

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

I hope that everyone is doing well on this fine Wednesday.  For my people on the east coast watching the hurricane roll in, I hope you got all your provisions and let’s keep our fingers cross that we don’t loose power too long…

On a different note…I was supposed to have a book signing event this past Saturday but something fell through and I had to cancel.  I’m not gonna lie, I cried.  But I pulled up my big girl panties and went on with life.  I’m hoping to get it rescheduled soon.  It was my first event and I was really looking forward to it.  Sigh…oh well let’s in on to the matter at hand.

Outlining is something that you either do or don’t.  Some writers get their ideas and just see where they go organically while others (like myself) outline our works.  I outline because if I don’t I either run off onto weird tangents that have nothing to do with the story or I don’t put enough details into it.  And if you’re like me then I highly recommend outlining.  Now I know that this seems like a simple concept…and it is but it’s not either.

When I realized that I needed to outline, I did everything on paper.  But I ended up with piles and piles of paper, post-it notes, and scribbles in my writing journal.  My thoughts were scattered every where, so I searched for paperless options and came across Notebook.ai and I thought that all my problems were solved…not quite.  I ended up spending a hellish amount of time on little things, but I still like the site.

So here are the pros and cons of using paper and digital forms of outlining.

Paper pros

You can work anywhere as long as you have something to write on and with.  Also your ideas are locked into where you initially thought they would fit.

Paper cons

Lots of little pieces of paper to organize.  You can also loose them.  Plus once you’ve finished your story, it’s a lot of recycling.

Digital pros

Everything is in one place and you can access it anywhere and everywhere.  It’s a lot easier to make changes and you don’t really have to worry about loosing your ideas.

Digital cons

If you’re like me, you’ll end up getting sucked into a new toy.  If it’s not something you’re used to working with you’ll end up forgetting about it and not utilizing it thus making all that work that you put in a waste.

 

In the end it all boils down to preference.  I like having paper.  It helps me to remember but I do the vast amount online.  I use notebook.ai for world building but avoid the character fields bc I will get stuck there.  For my paper options, I have this cork board that I pin picture inspirations, notes, and whatever else on.  The blended option works for me, and you just need to find what works for you.

So what do you guys use for your outlining?  Do you even need to outline?  Comment below I would love to hear from you!

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See ya next time!

 

book reviews

Book Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s Monday so that’s means that it’s time once again for me to do a book review.  Yea!

So here’s how this works.  I rate books on a scale of coffee cups….because I love coffee.  Also there will be no spoilers in these reviews.

 

0 cups= I hated it/couldn’t finish

1 cup= did like but finished bc I’m stubborn

2 cups= meh

3 cups= Not the best but interesting enough to finish

4 cups= I really like it.  

5 cups=OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS

 

Rating:

3 Cups

 

General Overview:

A retelling of Greek Mythology with a more human flare.  This story follows the life of the infamous witch Circe.  It starts off with her life in the halls of her father the Titan Helios (sun god).  As she tries to find her place in his halls, she taps into something that even the Gods fear, magic.  She and her siblings are a mixture of gods and witches with terrible, limitless power.  This gets her banished to the island that will go down into legend, but not all is what it seams.  As heroes and gods make their way to her island and Circe struggles to find where she belongs and what she wants out of her long immortal life.  

 

My Thoughts:

I love mythology.  I vaguely remember the stories surrounding Circe so I’m not sure what’s original and what the author made up.  It was interesting to see how the author mixed in the legends and people with Circe.   Circe comes off as the most human of the gods.  You feel sorry for her but that’s about it.  I’m amazed at how dull the story was for the most part.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a good read and I enjoyed it, but it was dull.  And because of that, I had no idea how this story would end.  I guess that’s a good thing.  I was happy with it by the end but overall the story didn’t make any lasting impression on me other than I wanted to reread the Percy Jackson series again.

 

Reread factor:

I don’t think I’ll end up rereading this book.  It will most likely end up in my donation pile at some point.

 

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See ya next time!

 

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

Fiverr a Hidden Gem!

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Boy oh boy what a week.  I have survived my first week at school back with my students.  I have to say that it went pretty well.  But that makes me afraid for this week.  Positive thoughts though. 

Any who, let me tell you about this nifty little sight that I came across thanks to one of my favorite Youtubers, Safiya Nygaard.  She does a lot of weird posts and I love her.  Well one thing that she tried was Fiverr and that got me wondering if it could be used for writers.  I have not been paid to talk about this site.  This is just for fun/my opinion.

Now if you’re not familiar with Fiverr its a website where freelancers can post their resume.  Think of it like the personals in a newspaper.  Most of the jobs cost….that’s right 5 bucks, but there are more expensive ones too.  Those tend to belong to the professionals.  There’s a wide range of freelancers to choose from.  All you have to do is enter what you’re searching for and then have at it.  So far I’ve used Fiverr for editing and book cover designs.

The editors I’ve used are super friendly and they won’t break the bank.  Now I can hear a few of you already. “But if they’re cheap, they’re bad.”  Maybe but any editor worth their salt should be willing to talk to you about the changes they made.  If they don’t then you have a bad editor, no matter the cost.  Editors are there to help you and to help make sure that your book is the best that it can be.  I’ve seen big publisher books with mistakes.  No one’s perfect, but if you’re just starting out, you gotta do the best that you can with the funds that you have and a cheap editor is better than no editor at all.  Now some editors aren’t familiar with novel writing and rule bending that comes with that. But once you explain your thought process they will either agree with you or help explain it better.  I’ll use them again for future novels.  It  cost me about $300 for a custom job.  All in all it never hurts to ask.

I used to make all my book covers to help cut costs.  It’s not a bad option but what I wanted exceeded my skill level, time to learn, and patience to apply.  So for 30 bucks I got a new cover for a previous book (you know to test the waters).  Let’s say that I will be using this person again.  The thing that many cover designers do is have you pick the images that you like and then they blend it into your cover. Some have unlimited revisions while others only allow for three.  So please make sure that you look at everything before you hand over cash.

But overall, for the services that I’ve used, I can say that I’m satisfied with what I got.  The next service I want to check out would be book interiors.  I’ll be sure to let y’all know when and if I do.

Question Time:

Have you used Fiverr before?  For what?

Where did you find your editor/book cover designer?

Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

 

See ya next time!

Want other content?  Want to get to know me on a personal level?  Follow me on my other sites by clicking the links below:

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Want to help me continue putting out content be it book reviews, writing help, or epic stories, click the link below and become a patron today!

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