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!

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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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.

 

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!

 

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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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!  Patrons get special goodies like sneak previews, bonus content, and opportunities not available to public.

Patreon Page

 

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!

 

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!

Greetings My Peeps!

Why I became a Writer

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Today’s post is a bit of a personal one.  Often when I talk to people about my writing and the books I’ve published, they tend to look at me like I’ve grown three heads.  To people who aren’t writers, writing is often this crazy and amazing skill.  And then they usually follow up with “WHY?”

Such a funny question “why”.

I tend to find that I cant really answer that question.  I don’t know why I feel the compulsion to write, only that I do.  I’ve been telling stories for almost my whole life.  But the firs time I put pen to paper was middle school.  And while those stories in my head raged and demanded to be let out, I never saw them to their end.  I lacked the discipline then.  But now I’m different.

I write because I can’t imagine doing anything else.  I love it.  I love creating worlds, people, and weaving them into a story.  While I have some control over the story and the characters, they still evolve organically.

I write because it gives me peace.  It quiets the demons in my head telling my cruel lies.  I loose myself in my work, my craft, living out tiny pieces of my soul in the worlds I create.  That doesn’t mean that I self insert myself…no… just fragments of myself (the broken bits) tend to make their way into my works.

I write because as of right now nothing gives me as much joy as finally being able to hold my book in my hands.  To see all that work and pain meld into something that brings joy.

These are just a few of the reasons why I write.  What about you?  Why do you write, create, or whatever? Comment below. I’d love to read them.

 

writing help

Balancing Writing with Life

 Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Sorry I missed posting yesterday.  Normally, I write my posts for the week on Saturday or Sunday and then schedule them, but I forgot.  Things have been a little crazy with moving and trying to get my classroom ready before my students show, but hey, what a great topic to talk about today.

Now, I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard the advise to write every day.   While I like the idea behind it, I still disagree.  That’s just not plausible.  Our lives, especially if we have day jobs, significant others, children, a social life, are not always going to allow us to get behind a computer to push out a decent word count.  What you should, to me, take away from this bit of wisdom is that you should carve out writing times.  Whether it’s a particular day or a hour, carve out some time that’s dedicated to your writing life.

For me that means that most of my writing happens on the weekends, either morning or evening depending on what’s happening.  I do leave some time from 7-9 at night to get some writing done during the weekdays.  I also carve out time to work on my author’s platform and building relationships with other writers and people in the writing industry.

You just need to find time that works for you.  I needs to be easy to accomplish and something that you can do consistently.  And that right there is key: consistency.  The more you do something, the more it will turn into a habit so that it feels like a chore.  Once writing during your scheduled time becomes habit, it becomes a little easier to balance your writing life with the rest of your life.

But what happens if the muses bless me and writing takes over?

Hey roll with it, if that’s what you want.  Just remember to take a break from your writing for a couple of days.  Get out of the house.  Take a shower.  Let your loved ones know you’re alive.  writing is an organic process.  It’s different every time you sit down in front of that computer, typewriter, or paper.  Just try to not let it consume your life and try to not go three days without doing something writing related.

What do you mean writing related?

Anything that will help you on your path to becoming a kick ass writer.  Take a writing class. Read an article about the publishing industry or tips to improve writing.  Dig around pinterest for images that go with whatever story you’re writing.  Hell, read a book from an author that inspires you.  Just don’t let writing get placed on the back burner.  Put it more on your second favorite burner (you know you have a favorite).

 

Also, if you don’t make it during the time you schedule, don’t fret.  Just get it done another time.  Like me and this late post.

Question time

Do you guys have any helpful suggestions about how you keep your writing life and regular life balanced?

What are some of the problems you’re having right now?

I’d love to hear them, just comment below.

As always, for more content, follow me on Twitter and Instagram. You can find the links on the About Me page. 

What to help me keep posting writing help, book reviews, and kick ass stories, head over to my Patreon page link on the About Me page.

Until next time folks!

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

My Top 5 Favorite Vlogers

Greetings my lovelies!

 

Like many of you, I spend countless of hours on Youtube.  I watch a mix of music videos, nostalgia cartoons, and to learn stuff.  I’m a visual and kinetic learner which means that I have to see and do it in order for a skill to set in.  Plus, it’s entertaining.  As a writer it’s quite easy to get lost navigating the literal thousands of vlogers out there.  And in case you’ve been living under a rock, a vloger is a person who blogs with videos.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for these people.  I can plan an entire series in a three days but I can’t edit a 5 min video.  It turns me into a fire breathing bitch queen.

So here are my 5 ish all time favorite vlogers.

5. Try Guys/Ladylike

I can hear you guys now….”These guys are really vlogers or writers”  I know, but hear me out.  The Try Guys and Ladylike are my go to when I’m feeling fried.  After days of planning or hammering through a bought of writer’s block I need to reset my brain and these guys are the best.  Their videos are entertaining and they make my brain switch gears.  Now I set a limit as to how many videos I watch (usually 3).  This keeps me from falling down the rabbit hole.  To check them out for yourself, click the links below.

The Try Guys    LadyLike

4. Sea Lemon

Again, not a writer, but Sea Lemon is an artist.  Watching her work keeps me going.  It’s hard to not watch her make these and not want to create yourself.  Creation feeds creation people!  She’s also supper bubbly and sweet!  Check her out below.

Sea Lemon

 

3. Amy Landino

Her vlog Amy Tv is the newest addition to my list.  I stumbled across it one day and instantly fell in love.  I haven’t had a chance to see all her posts but from what I’ve seen she is the Queen of motivation.  Her vlog is about how to become and maintain success.  She as posts about habits that she’s adopted and how they’ve helped her, how to overcome things like self doubt and embarrassment.  Honestly, just check out and see for yourself.

Amy TV

 

 

2. Derek Murphy

I found Derek right when I needed him most.  I am an indie author, which means that I have to take care of everything if I want my books to be published.  I’ve used Createspace and Ingram Spark.  They have their templates that you can use for your books interior, but I’ve never been 100% happy with them.  Fonts don’t always come out right.  They can sometimes look cheap.  Sigh.  I had no idea how to make the interior of my books just as engaging as the outside.  Honestly, a little effort inside goes a long way.  Well that’s where Derek comes in.  He’s all about helping some indie writers get their shit together and his videos on formatting book interiors are easy to follow.  They’ve helped me out a lot and I keep going back to him.

Formatting Book in MS Word

 

1. Jenna Moreci

ALL HAIL THE CYBORG QUEEN! I love Jenna.  I mean seriously.  I have yet to met a vloger that I love as much as her.  She’s hilarious and incredibly kind.  She encourages everyone to go out there and get some shit done. Her videos have helped me as a writer and given me a laugh or two.  Her post include topics on story structure, outlining, and the darkest aspect of publishing….marketing….shudder.  But she also loves sharing with her audience and clearly appreciates every once of support she gets. She’s who I want to be when I grow up.  But in all seriousness, check out her and see for yourself.

The Cyborg Queen