Category Archives: Worldbuilding

#WriteTuesday – Working on City of the Dead

Last week I actually did sit down and think through a couple of the City of the Dead worldbuilding kinks I’ve been putting off for two weeks!  I’ve been needing to properly think through some of the fantastic ideas my brother gave me about the setting when I told him what I was working on.  At the time I was trying to puzzle through whether the undead need to sleep.  My brother and I discussed what the different undead within City of the Dead are like and as I mentioned before, he made some suggestions about the undead that were fantastic but had huge repercussions for the entire setting if I decided to use them.  Having mulled them over for a few weeks, I finally examined what those suggestions would mean in practical terms last Tuesday night; in the end I decided to use them (I kind of thought I would because they really were fantastic ideas!)

Of course, all of this led to more questions I needed to answer about different kinds of undead.  I continued working on worldbuilding City of the Dead for a few days until I felt I had sufficiently found answers to my outstanding questions.  Then I finally turned back to thinking about the actual story for the Make Your Way anthology.  My first order of business was figuring out how all of the new worldbuilding changes impacted the characters.  Once I’ve got all of that figured out, I will be able to get back to actually writing!

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#WriteTuesday – Taking Some Me Time

This week I’m trying to slow life down a bit to get caught up with things that I’ve been putting off.  To that end, on Sunday I finally uploaded the pictures I took from the second day of ThunderCon to Flickr (they’re in this album), as well as all the pictures I’ve taken with my phone over the last few months.  You can find all of my pictures on my Flickr photostream. 🙂

While going through my pictures (specifically the ThunderCon ones), I was a bit sad that some of them really didn’t work out.  I’m hoping to be able to work on taking better pictures, specifically of people in low light settings, so if I’m taking pictures for them again next year my pictures will be better in the future.  That being said, I still got some fantastic shots (especially of the Fire Eater, but he was outside so I think that helped a lot!)

Along with slowing down a bit, I’m also trying to take this week to kind of reset myself both mentally and physically.  Over the weekend I was eating a ton of pizza (as well as just way too much on Saturday night at a Christmas party).  So today I went to buy some mandarin oranges (they’re my favourite holiday treat!) and some ingredients I need for some no bake energy bites that are great to snack on.  If you follow me on Twitter you may have also seen a few Tweets I’ve sent to  – I signed up for her 30 Day Challenge, which sends you a 15 minute workout every day for 30 days.  I’ve felt super sedentary over the last few months, so I’m hoping to be a bit more active and healthier with her help.  So far her workouts have been pretty great!

On the writing side of things, this week has been rather quiet.  I went for coffee with my brother last Tuesday and mentioned the worldbuilding kinks I’ve been working through with City of the Dead.  As we were talking, he gave me some fantastic ideas, so now I need to see how well they actually work with the setting.  Unfortunately these ideas may have some far reaching consequences for both the setting and the specific story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology , so that’s set the story back a bit.  But hopefully I’ll be able to work through everything and be back to writing soon!

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#WriteMonday – Mostly Worldbuilding

So this weekend I managed to actually work a bit on the story I started for the Make Your Way anthology.  I had a really hard time sitting down with it for some reason, but last night I finally started thinking through the characters a little bit.  I guess the problem was that I knew I needed to do some worldbuilding in order to properly think through my characters.  But once I started I ended up on a roll!

One oversight that I made with City of the Dead was that I failed to come up with naming conventions for the world.  I’ve got rough naming conventions for pretty much all the other worlds I’ve come up with because I want to make sure characters from different settings don’t have too similar-sounding names.  So last night I sat down and thought through that; from there I moved on to thinking about the individual characters a little more.  Thinking through everything also made me realize that lands and titles in City of the Dead move through matrilinear lines.  This is a little thing, but it is pretty obvious because City of the Dead is ruled primarily by the Queen (she has a King, but he is in charge of security and military matters while she is the one who does the actual ruling).

I came up with my character motivations as well.  I think I’ve figured out how they think (and why things unfold the way they do).  Last night I was thinking they were an aristocratic family, but after sleeping on it I’m thinking they are not.  While I liked the idea of them being aristocrats (especially because it explains where the family’s father is), I’d then have to figure out either why they don’t have servants or why the servants saw and heard nothing.  Plus having servants in the picture may pose a problem for keeping the character count down (which I want to do because this is going to be a short story).  If they aren’t an aristocratic family, and so don’t have servants, all of these problems become nonexistent.

Most of the work I did was yesterday, but I did find names for the characters today.  I’m planning on doing some more work on things tomorrow afternoon, too.  After that I’ll probably have to turn my attention back to Sustainably North and getting a blog post ready for next week.  Thinking of Sustainably North, today I talked about drinking straws, if you’re interested in reading it. 🙂

I hope everyone has a good and productive week.  🙂

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Last Weekend Writing

So last weekend was a long weekend here in Canada.  I set myself a couple of low-grade writing goals: get a post written for Sustainably North (that’s kind of a given), and write a first draft of a short story.  The Sustainably North post ended up a short rant about garbage and what to do about cat litter (I don’t have an answer to that last one – if you have any ideas, please let me know on the post!)

So that left the draft of the short story.  I knew what I wanted to do – I found a market on Duotrope that wants short stories about monsters (and not the usual ones either). With a bit of thought, I decided to write about a monster from Imezza (specifically a kraken, because why not?)  I originally started developing Imezza specifically to write short stories in it, so this seemed like an easy choice.  Unfortunately, as much as Imezza is developed, there are still gaping holes in the setting.  Which makes it very hard to stay focussed on writing in the setting right now because I keep getting sidetracked by research needs.

The main problem I was having last weekend was that I decided to focus on a character whose species hasn’t been very well developed by me to date (whoops!) And then the kraken itself started giving me grief.  Do kraken look like octopus?  Squid?  What do their eyes look like?  That last question sent me onto the internet for probably 45 minutes or so.  I now know how octopus eyes see colour.  But I never did track down what colours exactly octopus eyes come in (I ended up having to image search octopus eyes to see what colours they come in).

Despite all the research quagmires, in the end I did succeed in crafting a first draft of a story.  It’s going to need a whole lot of work, but at least it’s a start.  And in the process, I hit my writing goal for last weekend, so that’s a win in and of itself. 🙂

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Hello 2017!

Happy New Year everyone!  2016 was in many ways a difficult year.  But in other ways it was a great year.  I started my radio show AND got a permanent part time position at the library.  I also just got back from a wonderful few weeks in sunny Florida (pictures forthcoming on Flickr!)

Here’s all the things I wanted to do in 2016:

  1. Finish Tears of the King – failure.  I didn’t finish it, but I did work on it a bit more earlier in the year (to the point that I would say 1/3 is functioning and built).  I think I made this game much bigger than I should have; it’s going to take me awhile yet to finish it.
  2. Write four polished short stories – failure.  I don’t think I really wrote any short stories.  I brought a few older ones with me to edit and that didn’t even happen.  Oh well.
  3. Take a Lego Picture a month (and actually post it in a timely manner) – failure huh partial success. I took one and posted it relatively on time every month until the fall.  I seriously thought this had fallen apart long before then.
  4. Eat healthier – huh, partial success. I started using my dietary scale to make Greek yogurt parfaits with granola (which I love). I’m also a bit more conscious of my portions.  Not bad!
  5. Be more active – partial success.  I walked a lot over the summer, and a lot over the last few weeks in Florida.  Plus last month I went swimming a lot, too.
  6. Read the anthologies I own – failure.  I read 4 anthologies or short story collections.  One of them was honestly an accident (I didn’t realize The Jungle Book was a short story collection when I started reading it).  I also think I’ve read one of the four before (but didn’t realize it until I recognized the final story in the collection).  I’ve also got two anthologies on the go right now and haven’t read from either of them in awhile.
  7. Build 1 of my worlds that need building.  – this is another partial success.  I did spend some time working on another world, but I don’t think I got it to the point where I feel it is ready to work with (the setting is still unnamed at this point, though I have spent some time trying to name it with no luck thus far).  Hilariously I also spent a bit of time working on magic in Imezza while I was in Florida; sitting on a beach watching dolphins is sort of the best inspiration for an ocean world! 😉
  8. Edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 book – failure.
  9. Take apart my NaNoWriMo 2015 blob – success! I succeeded at this back in February!  🙂
  10. Work with Chat Mapper – failure. I have done nothing with Chat Mapper since January 2015 (which was fun though!)

While I didn’t accomplish many of my goals for the year, as I said, I ended up starting a radio show, which has been a great experience!  My life has taken me in some unplanned directions, making me a lot busier than I may have previously been.  So with that in mind, I’m going to make less goals for this year, but make them things I really, really want to accomplish.  Hopefully this way I can keep myself a little more focussed on things now that I have more limited time.  So this year I want to:

  1. Read 40 novels.  In 2016 I read a lot of shorter things (both graphic novels and short stories).  So this year I’d like to focus on longer works.  Ideally most of those longer works will come from books I have stockpiled in my house but we’ll see what happens.
  2. Write four polished short stories.  I have three worlds built to a point they can be written in/about, and a fourth one coming along okay.  It’s time to start using these worlds!!!  Plus there’s a short story contest I’d like to enter.
  3. Work on Tears of the King. Ideally I’d like to finish it.  But even getting another third built would be awesome!

Those are realistically my most important creative goals for this year.  Taking Lego pictures is fun, but I don’t want to bog myself down thinking I HAVE to take them.  Chat Mapper hasn’t happened for the last few years, so there’s no point in worrying about it now (but if it does happen this year, that’s still cool).  Likewise, I haven’t gotten around to editing any of the NaNoWriMo books I’ve written and they’re not a priority to me at this time (but again, if I do get around to them, that’s great).  And I don’t need to do any more worldbuilding, but again if it happens, that’s great (and I already know I have to tweak a few things in my Imezza and Faeriia Google docs thanks to my brief work on Imezzan magic over the last few weeks).  I also decided not to bother posting my non-Creative goals here since this blog is entirely devoted to my creative endeavours.

EDIT: I came up with one more goal.  Goal #4 is to spend one hour a week on writing.  This hour can be spent on Tears of the King, worldbuilding, editing, short stories, novels, whatever. I’ll even schedule it into my week if I have to!

So there we have it – my goals for 2017.  Wish me luck as I work to accomplish everything!  I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated with my writing progress.  🙂

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#WriteFriday – June 17th and 24th

I apologize.  I had every intention of posting last Friday about the writing I did last week.  But I ended up going out to the movies after work (and stood around chatting with a few of my friends for about 2 hours afterwards) and ended up completely forgetting.  So here’s the info now!

On my actual birthday last week, I didn’t end up doing as much writing as I’d planned.  I ended up spending way too much time trying to track down a comic I was 99% sure was by John Kovalic.  I was looking for the wrong thing though and had trouble finding it (until I asked him on Twitter and got a response almost immediately – it turned out I was looking for a bus when I should have been looking for a train!)  But once that was done, I did some worldbuilding!  I decided to work on the world I have creatively been referring to as either “the Centaur World” or “Werewolves, etc” (I think it’s the latter on my Google Drive).  I haven’t really talked about it on here, but it’s the world that my failed Script Frenzy attempt takes place in.  I chose to work on the bird people who live in the world, too (yes, the world is going to be made up of a lot of half-human beings).  They have always been an integral part of this setting, but I needed to figure out how a few more things about them worked.  Long story short, the answer is “shut up, they’re psionics, that’s why!”  Thinking through their psionic aspect ended up making me really excited about them!

I did that bit of work hanging outside with my cat, writing in a notebook.  So later in the week, I ended up meeting up with my brother at a coffee shop for a bit.  I started transferring the notebook notes into my Google Drive document.  I finally got around to finishing that off on Sunday.

Sunday also brought me to an interesting dilemma.  A number of years ago, I had created an awesome minotaur character for a roleplaying game run by a friend of mine.  I loved that character so much that I ended up writing a short story about her, trying to bring her into her own world (lol, I tend to like doing that sort of thing – creating characters for someone else’s setting and eventually changing them to a point where they no longer fit into that setting and so jump into one of my own making).  When I was working on the NaNoWriMo blob, I did a bit of worldbuilding for this setting, making the note that these minotaurs (they call themselves the Rundarin), would fit on Werewolves etc.  But try as I might, I actually can’t get them to fit into this setting.  So after thinking about it long and hard, I made the decision to make the Rundarin into the centaurs, rather than having them be minotaurs.  I’m a bit sad about the change, but it feels so much better for the setting!  I think that as a consolation to the poor lost minotaurs, some of the centaurs will have horns, too (because really, why not?)

Once that was straightened away, I started trying to decide on the other creatures that live on this world, or at least on the part of the world I’ve currently got stories for in my head.  One of the major ideas behind this world is that it is made up of creatures who descended from humans and other animals, so there will be lots of half-animal people.  I haven’t quite got it all sorted yet, but hopefully I will soon!

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#WriteFriday – May 20th

I am super proud of myself – this week I actually finished editing and organizing my notes on Faeriia from my NaNoWriMo blob!  When I first started this process of consolidation, I said that I was falling in love with this setting all over again.  This is still so true; this setting has a history and characters that are very alive in my mind.  Of course it helps that several stories I’ve come up with over the years have all found a home in Faeriia.  I may abandon my goal for this year to edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 book in favour of either editing the NaNoWriMo 2011 novel (which is now set in Faeriia) or of writing something totally different (again set in Faeriia).

The final Google document is 24 pages long now.  Remember the comparison?  Imezza is 9 and City of the Dead is 8.  That also makes me want to work on Imezza again, fleshing the setting’s history out a little more (although that’s not super necessary; if I write some stuff in the setting, I’m sure it will slowly flesh itself out).

Oh yeah, thinking about goals, finishing this small editing project means that I have officially finished one of my goals for 2016!  Goal #9 was to take apart my NaNoWriMo blob, and finishing up with Faeriia means I did just that!  This took me a little bit longer to accomplish than I thought it would, but it is done!  I guess it’s another reason to be proud of my week. 😀

While I think I’m on track to finish a few other goals, it’s unfortunately the only one I’ve accomplished to date.  I haven’t worked on Tears of the King since early May, so it’s time to get back to that.

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