writing help

World Building: Maps

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

So here we are!  The last piece of my world building segment and everyone’s favorite thing to look at MAPS!

After all this planning and speculation, it’s time to take it all and put it into a coherent world.  I love maps.  I love reading a story and following along on the maps provided, and in all honesty I wish they could fold out so I could read and look at them at the same time.  They add a whole other level to the story telling.  But just how do you do this?  Well there are several options.

Option 1

Hire someone.  This is by far the easiest method.  It’s gonna take some time to find one that works within your budget but that’s easier than making it on your own.  They’ll ask you questions to get a general idea of how your world should look and adjust from there.  To find these wonderful people, you’ll need to search for fantasy cartography freelancers.

 

Option 2

The pasta/6sided die method.  This is a pretty fun method that could be at least a good starting point.  Basically what you do is take a large handful of macaroni noodles or 6 sided die and drop them onto a piece of paper.  From there you can adjust as needed.  Areas with large concentration of whatever you use could end up being cities or other features.  Then when you’re happy, trace first in pencil then marker and voila! A map.  Click the link here for full details: macaroni map

 

Option 3

Use a map generator.  I like this as another good reference because most of the hard work is done already for you.  In the generators, depending on which one you use, you can adjust everything right down to the coastlines.  A simple google search will give you plenty to choose from but I liked Asgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator.  They create maps randomly and if you have the patience you can build a whole map with cities, ports, and natural features.  You can also add whatever you need to make it fit your story better.  The link for it is here: Fanstay Map Generator.  One word of warning however, if you close the page, you’ll lose everything.  There’s no save option where you can go back later and work on it some more.

 

Option 4

Draw it yourself.  If you’re artistic or just like torturing yourself, you can always make your own map.  Maps don’t have to look fancy or pretty, they just need to give you a basic understanding of the layout of the world/country.  There are plenty of blogs that will help you draw them from scratch (I reference one above) but if you don’t like that then you need to read Fantastic Maps’ blog post on the matter.  These people make maps for a living and collaborate with other creators to help others create realistic worlds.  Their post is very easy to follow and applies a healthy helping of real world logic.  A great tool for anyone wanting to create their own map.  You can read the post here :World Building by Maps

 

As always, if you have any tips or tricks about creating maps or just world building in general, please comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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book reviews

Book Review: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

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:

Connie Goodwin is a grad student at Harvard whose specialty is colonial American History.  She has a tense relationship with her mother, the free spirit against Connie’s meticulous nature.  When her mother tells her that Connie’s grandmother’s house is being repossessed for back taxes and it’s up to Connie to clean it out.  Grumbling but complying, Connie goes and gets sucked into a mystery several hundreds years in the makings.  Strange forces are at work that go against everything Connie stands for.  Can she face the truth before it’s too late?

 

My Thoughts:

I LOVED THIS BOOK!  From page one to the last, I gobbled up this story.  I love witches and their history and colonial history.  So this book was right up my alley.  I know that some people didn’t care for the research aspect, but I’m a nerd so whatever.  To each their own.  I never knew how this story was going to end and honestly, there was a bit of a twist at the end.  Bouncing back and forth between the witch trials and the modern age, this book is two stories wrapped up into one.

 

Reread factor:

I reread this book often.  I may go a year without reading it or I’ll read it three times in 6 months.  It really just depends on my mood.  Knowing the ending doesn’t take away from the mystery and overall pleasure of reading this amazing story!

 

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writing help

World Building: Economy

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s time again for another segment in my world building series.  This is the last one that pertains to the planning stages.  Next week we’ll dive into the final segments.  But without further ado, let’s talk about money.  I actually only have four things for you to consider today.  Like with everything else these don’t have to be completely hashed out as long as you have a good understanding.  The reason why I’m even bringing up money is because that is the force that drives the world.  It doesn’t always have to be coin or paper.  Use what ever system you like.  Let’s go.

Are all my countries wealthy?

In the real world there are countries who struggle for one reason or another.  Is your single country or multi country world well off?  Poor countries might try to steal what they need or work out some kind of deal with countries who are better off.  On the flip side, countries that have an abundance of wealth are usually targets for those who either have nothing or want more.  Your countries status will change how other countries interact with them.

What (if anything) is your country know for economically?

I live in the US and each state has a couple of crops that they have claimed as their state crop, or they produce a large portion of a certain crop.  What is your country known for economically?  It doesn’t have to be a crop.  It could be meat, a trade, or spices.  This just adds another layer of realism to your world/country.  Everyone is known for something.  If your country isn’t known for something then you might want to ask yourself why?  Is your country mediocre?  Do they have seat at the table but no real power?  These are some interesting questions because they could end up as driving points for certain characters.

How do the masses access the goods and in what form?

This is where you get to decide what system does your country use when it comes to the acquisitions of goods and services.  Do they use a coin system?  A digital credit?  Rations?  Barter?  Are there any taxes or other fees?  Just put yourself in your world and figure out how would you go about living your daily life.  That will really help you figure out some, if not most, of the small details that might pop up later.  Doing it a head of time will keep you from having to stop and think about it later and then go back to establish it earlier on.

Crime.

Unless you set it up as some type of utopia, there needs to be a shady element.  There are going to be people who’d rather steal for what they want.  Let’s not forget about assassins and other thugs.  Crime is a lucrative enterprise.  Just look at the Cartels and Mofias.  The crime element can also add a bit of unpredictability to your world or settings.  Like the saying goes, there’s no loyalty among thieves.

Well there you have it folks, just four simple things to think about when you’re setting up your country’s economy.  So what about you?  Do you have any ideas that you would like to share?  Did I miss anything?  Comment below!

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book reviews, Greetings My Peeps!

Book Review: Catwoman Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

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:

4 Cups

 

General Overview:

This is the third installment of the DC Icon series.  It follows Selina Kyle as she returns to Gotham City and sets herself up as the Queen of the Underworld.  Instead of Batman, they pair her up with Luke Fox, the son of Lucius Fox, with the call sign of Batwing.  We see some old favorites like Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and the Joker.  This story has an ending that I never saw coming.

 

My Thoughts:

As a kid I loved Catwoman.  I still do today (minus that Halley Berry film).  Catwoman lives her life by her own rules and no one else.  I also love Sarah J Maas.  I stumbled across her Throne of Glass series and instantly fell in love then I read A Court of Thorn and Roses and sold my soul to her.  So this mash up of my two favorite women was a match made in heaven.  I had no idea where the book was heading but that’s the way I like it.  I never got the impression that Selina was whole good or bad, which is true to her character.  I loved the cat and mouse between Catwoman and Batwing.  It never bothered me once that she wasn’t with Batman.  The ages wouldn’t work so hey…I also loved the Harley and Ivy dynamic.  All in all, another good read from my queen.

 

Reread factor:

This was an entertaining read.  I’ll definitely read it again at some point, but probably when I stumble across it on my shelves.

 

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writing help

World Building: Religion

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

It’s time for part three of my World building segment.  So far we’ve talked about you country and the people who live in it.  Now it is time to talk about religion.  I know some of you may already be rolling your eyes, but you cannot deny that religion is an important aspect for any people, culture, world.  So without further ado, here’s the five things you need to keep in mind when creating a religion for your world.

 

Do I even need a religion?

Let’s go a head and nip this in the bud.  If your people don’t need a religion then there’s no reason to continue on.  But if your character doesn’t but the the rest of your world does, then you need to keep going and hash it out.  Now I can hear some of you asking….”What do you mean if they need a religion?”  Your world may not need religion.  Are then science driven, then they may not need to have a religion at all.  Think of the Vulcans.  They don’t really have a religion (that I’m aware of) because they value logic above everything.  Religion is about faith not logic, so if your people don’t need faith then you need not worry about the next four steps.

How does my culture and landmass effect the religion.

I took a religion class in collage and one thing stuck with me.  Did the religion have an effect on a culture or did the culture have and effect on the religion.  Religion is an organic thing.  It tends to evolve over time not just with text but with practices.  But it still depends on the people who follow it.  A desert culture isn’t going to jungle goddess.  A people who are matriarchal will probably not have god as the ruler of their gods. Whether you believe the divine is 100% real or archetypes, it has to make sense to the people that are going to be involved in it.  You really don’t have to spend too much time on this just make sure that you do.

What type of gods are there?

This is where it gets fun.  Let your creative juices flow unrestricted.  Are you going to go for an all encompassing singular god/ess?  Or will you create a whole pantheon?  Are all your god/ess good or do you have some trouble makers (looking at you Loki and Coyote).  Are they tied into certain aspects like seasons, trades, skills?  Research the gods of religions past and present.  This should give you a good idea where to start from and let you spend more time on baby name websites looking up cool and unique names for your new gods.  Maybe they just pray to the vast Universe knowing that humans could never fully understand or perceive the divine?  Go crazy and have fun.

Do your people worship something other than gods?

In some cultures families are so important that you pray to your ancestors to intercede on their behalf and in turn the living family provides sustenance for the dead family in the afterlife.  Perhaps your people worship nature spirits.  Just know that there are always options and if you choose to go this route, you can still have fun with it.

How do your people access their gods?

Are there holy text that only a few can read?  Are there sacred sites or buildings?  What are the holy days?  Basically how do the masses practice their faith? This is important because if only a few really understand then that can lead to corruption and oppression.  If it’s open to all then that could mean that there’s less rigidity in the religion.  Perhaps there are holy people who travel and teach?  Maybe there’s holy sites that they only go to at certain times but the rest is handled in their homes?

 

There’s probably a hundred more topics just related to religion but I believe that these are enough to get you started.  But the main thing is to not be afraid when creating your religion.  All religions sound a little crazy when you really think about them.  But religion is something that can either mean a great deal to your people or not.  But in our world there have been plenty of wars waged in the name of religion so it can’t hurt to at least think about it in your new world.  Well that’s all that I have this week.  Be sure to comment below if you have any questions or have points you think others should know.

See ya next time!

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book reviews

Book Review: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Greetings My Lovelies!

Hey guys.  Sorry I missed last week.  I had a family emergency and didn’t think about it.  But I’m here no so let’s get this party started.  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:

0 Cups

 

General Overview:

The Owens women are cursed.  They have no problem finding love, the trick is keeping it.  Death, rumors, and loneliness are as common as the sun rising each morning.  But Sally isn’t having any of it.  She and her girls will have a normal life if it kills her.  She does everything she can to turn her back on her family’s heritage until the day her sister Jillian returns carrying a trunk load of trouble that can only be solved by being an Owens woman. 

 

My Thoughts:

I’d seen the movie so many times before I read this book.  I didn’t even realize it was a book until many years later and I think that’s why I didn’t like it.  I went in with tons of preconceptions.  The sisters and how they act with each other are completely different in the movie.  The same with the aunts.  The director took plenty of liberties when he made this book a movie.  But all that aside, the writing and pacing are pretty good.  I made it a third of the way through before I gave up.  I kept expecting certain things to happen because of the movie and they never did and I knew that I couldn’t keep on going.

 

Reread factor:

I don’t think I will give this book another chance.  Sometimes if I don’t like a book, I’ll set it aside for later.  Sometimes that helps but sometimes it doesn’t.  I’ve just seen the movie way too many times to separate the two.  I have the same problem with Stephen King and his movies/TV shows. 

 

If you’ve read this book, please comment below.  Maybe I’ll give it another chance.  I felt so bad not being able to finish it.

Have you had this happen to you?  Comment below!

 

See ya next time!

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writing help

World Building: The People/Cultures

Greetings My Lovelies!

Sorry this post is a little late.  I’ve been dealing with a stomach issue (thank you lovely children).  I’m feeling a bit better so I figure it’s better to post late than never.  Today we’re delving into the second segment of my world building series…The People.  Now I don’t mean your characters.  When I refer to people I mean the humans in the background and the factors that create the basic foundation of your characters.  

Last week we created the countries that made up your new world (insert Little Mermaid reference) now we got to fill it and like before we have to apply a little bit of common sense.

So here are five things to keep in mind when creating the people for your new world.

How are they structured?

Do your people group themselves by families, profession, or lifestyle?  Do they have war chiefs, elders, councils, or singular rulers?  Are they lead by their religious leaders?  All societies have a structure so make sure that you have this thought out because each one will cause your people to act differently.  For example, if your people are ruled by war chiefs then that means that they value strength.  That also means that leaders can change.  How would they go about this change?  Is there a specific time to challenge the old leader or can it be done anytime?  What about lineage?  Does that come into play at all.  These are just a few questions for one way.  You don’t need to go too far into it, just get a basic understanding.

In what ways does their environment affect them?

World building is laying layer upon layer.  And here is where your work with the countries come into play.  If your country is cold and full of ice, then your people aren’t gonna wear shorts and tank tops (unless you provide a logical reason for it).  My recommendation is to use real world examples.  This will help to give your culture a more realistic feel and you can always tweak from there.  Another thing to bear in mind is how your countries interact with each other.  Some countries get along better than others.  If your countries have conflict, then why?  Are they fighting over resources?  Land?  Differences in religion or culture?  Blood feuds?

What does your culture value the most?

You could pick something from what you’ve already worked out with the land or what you’ve hashed out while planning your cultures.  But you could always choose, or not, something entirely different.  Some cultures value respect above all.   For some it’s all about advancing your family.  While some it’s all about that green.  Even different regions in your country can value different things like people in cities verses rural environments.  It could provide some fun depth or the possibility for conflict which is always entertaining.

Religion

I’m not going to delve too far down this rabbit hole because it’s a post all it’s own.  But a religion can have just as much influence on a culture as the landscape.  Even the lack of a religion can drive a people.  They might scoff at religion and strive to be logical and pursue the sciences and other areas of learning.

Outsiders

In every culture there are those who lie outside the cultural norms.  Who are these people for your culture.  Are they people who despise the ruling class?  Sexual orientation?  Genders?  Mixed ethnicity? Who are your low status people and why are they there.  There’s no culture that is all bright an shiny.  There are areas of gray or full on black.  By having at least thought about these people can add complexity to your story and add that much needed realism.

 

Well that’s all I have for now.  Like I said earlier, I’m getting over a stomach bug.  It honestly took me three days to get this post done.  I tried to work on it a little bit so I wouldn’t miss it.

If you think I missed something please comment below.  I’d love to hear your suggestions on creating a rich and complex culture.  Until next time!

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See ya next time!