Greetings My Peeps!

NaNoWriMo: is it worth it?

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

For years I’ve heard and seen people talk about NaNoWriMo, which stands for National November Writing Month.  The basic premise of this event is for you to pump out a 50k word story in 30 days.  I’ve never worried about it because that seemed like an awful amount of work that I wasn’t sure if I was ready to tackle.  But this year I decided to give it a go.  I mean what’s the worse that can happen?  My writing has been pretty much non-existent lately so I’m hoping that this will help kick my butt into gear and get me back into the habit or writing a little bit each day.  

So here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Setting up is pretty easy.  It’s free!  The daily goal is 1667 words a day.  But there a ton of resources to help you.  There are forums for any and all topics to help you if you get stuck.  They also have this nifty thing called Word Sprints which is basically a timer that you set and try to punch out as many words as you can within that time frame.  When racing against the clock, you don’t have time to worry over every single word.  Using sprints is a great way to really hit the word count.  You can also join up with your region and gain access to write ins around you.  Write ins are exactly what they sound like.  People participating in NaNoWriMo meet up and write together.  It’s a great way to meet your fellow writers.  The region I’m in has their own open chat room where you can join in on word sprints or ask questions and get help in real time.

It’s only four days into it but I’m going pretty strong.  I just attended my 1st write in it was nice to meet writers near me.  At the end of the month I’ll check back in with you guys and let you know what pros and cons I discovered during this process.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  Comment below and share your tags!  We can pair up and do this challenge together!

 

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See ya next time!

 

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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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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!

 

book reviews

Book Review: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

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:

Head up to the mountains of North Carolina and visit a place where simple magic is all around.  A place where strange things happen nearly every day but nothing as strange as the Waverleys.  In their back yard they have an apple tree that they protect, not because the apples are delicious but because the apples will show you the greatest event in your life, and not everyone can handle that.  Claire Waverley has built a successful business out of her family’s oddities.  Her food can “influence” your dinner guests thus making her a prize commodity.  Everything in her world is going smoothly until her sister, Sydney, returns with a daughter in tow.  Sometimes, you have to shake the branches to get what you need.

 

My Thoughts:

The only reason why I didn’t give this book a 5 cup rating is because I wanted it to be longer.  I know, I’m being petty but that’s how much I enjoyed reading this book.  I stumbled across this book in my local library and knew from the first few pages that I was going to have to buy it for my own.  The magic in this book is so subtle that you can miss it and that’s why I love it.  It has a Practical Magic feel to it but is something all its own.

 

Reread factor:

I have read this book several time already and as I sit here typing it’s review I find myself with the urge to reread it again.  It’s an easy read with lovable characters with strong messages about being true to yourself and family.  You need this book in your life.

 

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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.

 

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See ya next time!

 

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

5 Tips for Writing Scenes

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Scenes make up everything in writing….

If you didn’t know well now ya know (Hamilton).

Writing them can be excruciating.   How do you create the right amount of emotion using only words?  I mean it’s not like you can add lens flares, choir boys singing, or dramatic music to your scenes….or can you?  Here are 5 tips to help you write better scenes.

1.   Does this scene even need to be included?

This may seem like a simple and slightly ridiculous question to ask, but it’s important.  Can you story carry on without this scene?  If the answer is yes then cut the scene.  Scenes need to convey something be it emotional development, action that moves the plot forward, or shows some form of character development or show something about the character(s). If the scene you’re planning on doesn’t meet any of that, then it might be best to cut it.

2.    Use the five senses.

Now I know this is a common suggestion but just how in the world are you supposed to do that.  Well here’s what I do using an action scene.

We heard them before we saw them.  The ground thundered beneath our feet; the terrible drumming march of a thousand demons.  My men shifted behind me, their chain mail and armor clinking softly.  The wind shifted and with it came the fetid odor that assaulted the delicate skin of my nose and caused the bile to rise to the back of my throat.  My stomach rolled in violation coating my tongue with the acrid taste of fear.  A fear that I can’t show.  Not if I don’t want my men to flee.  So I swallow it down.  It sticks in my throat and stays there.  I lift my eyes to the heavens.  Even the stars have fled from this ungodly army.  Five seconds.  I give myself over to the fear for five seconds.  After that, I cannot have any other thoughts in my head, not if I want to survive the night.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five.

I am ready.

From the tree line, gleaming eyes emerge.  They have arrived.  With a roar that turned my blood to ice and my limbs to quiver, the demon hoard descended.  The smell of carrion crashed over the field.  I grip my blade tighter; the sweat on my palms making the hilt slick.  That could cost me my life but I don’t have time to wipe them.  Summoning a roar of my own, I raise my sword to the sky.

“For Mareth!”

My men roar in reply and we surge to meet the black army that we meet with the familiar song of clashing blades and screams of the dying.  It is a good night to die.

 

Did you become the character?  Did you feel what he felt?  That’s what you need to do when you write.  Don’t be the god that observes.  Be the on in the moment.  Think of how you would feel in that situation, let you body feel it then put that to paper.

3. Want a dramatic flare to your writing?  Slow down the pacing.  Or speed it up.

When the character in the above scene counted to five I made each count it’s own paragraph.  That will naturally slow the pacing.  Up until that moment the pacing was much faster.  Play around with the pacing.  The more action you put into a single paragraph the faster it will be.  This can be applied to all types of scenes not just action ones.  In a romantic scene maybe have your characters come together slowly making each paragraph only a few sentences as they notice more, feel more.  It’s your story, have fun playing with it.  The rules that we learned in school don’t necessarily apply.

4. Use music for emotions.

I’m a music lover.  I work better with it than without.  I listen to music when I write.  I have several playlists that are just for writing.  I have my general writing music playlist, but I also have ones that are for spooky themes, villains, fighting, romance.  All the songs in those playlists play up to the emotions that I need.  When I’m working on a scene and it starts to give me trouble I start the appropriate playlist.  I listen to it for a bit and then get right back at it with the right mindset.  So play around on wherever you get your music and create playlists for the emotions that you know you struggle with.

5. Act it out

I know this sounds a bit strange but trust me.  When I get stuck, I step away from my computer and act the scene out as best I can.  This also helps with dialogue.  Acting it out will help you achieve some all too important realism in your writing.  Pay attention to the facial expressions you make when you talk.  What’s you body language like?  Now you might get some weird looks from your significant other, but they’ll get use to it.  My hubby just rolls his eyes and asks if I’ve finally lost my mind every time.  If you choose to apply this method, do so at your own risk or comfort.

 

Well that’s it.  My five tips to help you write scenes.  Do you have different methods that you use?  Let me know by commenting below.  I’d love to hear them!

 

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See ya next time!