Tag Archives: City of the Dead

#WriteTuesday – Book + Make Your Way Story Editing

Hey everyone, how’s the week been? Did you have a good Halloween? 🙂

Last week was mainly spent on editing the book.  I finished editing a third chapter and sent it to its author.  Then the first chapter came back to me, so I spent the weekend working on that (just finished those edits yesterday).

Once that was finished, I found myself with some unexpected extra time.  After reading some of The Wealthy Renter (which I picked up over the weekend – very excited to read it!), I turned my attention back to the Make Your Way story.  I’ve been wanting to go over the character’s dialogue for over a month now, but haven’t had the time (or energy to be editing more in the middle of book edits).  Going over the dialogue actually led me to a bit more worldbuilding for City of the Dead – I got stuck wondering what someone would say rather than “thank goodness.” “Thank goodness” didn’t sound right to me, coming from someone living in that particular world.  What immediately came to mind was “thank the gods,” but I hadn’t actually thought about whether or not people living in the City worship gods.  But they do keep altars for the dead, so I settled on “thank the ancestors” as what would probably be said in that case.

I did the initial edits to the story using the Game Book Authoring Tool (GBAT) file, but in the end decided to randomize all the sections and just start working off of a rich text format document instead (which is easier to search through).  I went through all 73 sections looking at dialogue; I’m not sure how well I succeeded in differentiating the characters….but there are some definite subtle differences in how they speak.  One character uses really long words and no contractions (assuming I got rid of them all properly) because she’s a lady who is extremely bookish/studious.  Another character uses more formal words, but they’re tempered with contractions because she is exhausted (and has more real world experience than her studious twin).  The minor soldier characters don’t use big words (again, assuming I successfully caught all of their dialogue).  The only character’s speech that hasn’t been changed is the avatar/player character.  I made that character purposely vague because they are the “you” in typical choose your own adventure-style books.  For that reason, I wasn’t really planning on giving them a specific style of speech, especially since the player has the choice between playing a smarter character or a stronger character (and I was not going to give different versions of dialogue depending on that choice! The story would have ballooned to double the length it is now!!)

Depending on how the rest of the week goes with the book edits, I’m hoping to go over the Make Your Way story a few more times (or at least once more really in depth); after that, I’d really like to submit it!  Wish me luck!!! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

#WriteTuesday – Edits Begin, 2.0

I feel like my May 28th #WriteTuesday was a bit of a false start. At that time I “started” the edits on the Make Your Way story – which really meant that I read the whole story over and made note of things that jumped out at me needing changes.  But I honestly didn’t really edit the story in any meaningful sense at that time.

But yesterday, the edits actually started!

So far I’ve rewritten the first two sections.  The first section has a lot of the setting information; this story takes place in the City of the Dead, which, while I think it’s an awesome setting, there’s a lot of ground rules that the reader needs to know to set the stage. I ended up sending the rewrite to a friend to look over.  He said that it sounded good: it properly set the stage without being overwhelming. Once the whole story is edited, I’m going to send it out to a few other friends to read over – hopefully they’ll agree that the first section makes sense!

The second section is where the story really begins.  That got a total rewrite as well – it has the same information as the first draft did, but I’m hoping it’s a bit more engaging than the first draft was.

So from here, I’m hoping to rewrite the rest of the first encounter (that’s sections 3-8) by next Tuesday. Wish me luck!

Flowchart of the MAke Your Way story showing the sections I'm rewriting next

Here are the sections of the story that I’m working on next!

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

#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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Worldbuilding, Writing

#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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Conferences, Photography, Worldbuilding, Writing

Last #WriteMonday (It’ll Be #WriteTuesday Going Forward!)

Just to warn everyone, this is going to be the last #WriteMonday.  I was thinking about it, and since I generally work on things on Monday (and so never really have a consistent time when I post on Mondays), I’m going to move the weekly update to Tuesdays instead.  That way I can do all my writing without trying to remember to post on here simultaneously! 🙂

Fitting in with this change, I also decided to move the monthly Tuesday Book Talk to Thursdays.  So starting this month, that will now be happening on the last Thursday of the month instead of the last Tuesday.

This last week has been full of brainstorming and worldbuilding and plotting, all for the Make Your Way Story I’m working on.  As I mentioned before, the story is going to be set in City of the Dead.  After finally finishing bingeing through the Pitch Meetings on Youtube (they’re by Ryan George for Screen Rant), I started thinking a lot more about this story.  I don’t know why, but I was having a really hard time working on it, so I forced myself to go over things and see what the matter was.

My thoughts led me off in some unexpected directions: the original story I envisioned had a man looking for his betrothed, but I wasn’t really clear on how he realized she was missing.  Thinking through that, I thought it made the most sense that they separated because of an argument and he realized she was missing when he went back to apologize to her.  But the more I thought about their argument, the less sense the story made as I had originally envisioned it.

What made more sense within the story was to have the lady looking for her betrothed instead. That meant I had to change some aspects of the characters I had originally envisioned, too.  At its most basic, she was originally going to be a revenant, but now he would be instead (revenants are the soul that remains when a zombie is made – I talk a little bit about it in this post from 2015, and wrote a short story dealing with revenants and zombies for Apocalypse Madness).  Making that change led to some unexpected worldbuilding problems within City of the Dead that I had to work through (specifically whether the world’s magic is capable of affecting a revenant).  That question took an unexpectedly long time to answer (about two days!)  But that was okay, because now that I have answered it, I feel a lot more confident about this new version of the story.  And now that most of the worldbuilding is out of the way, I’ve been able to start re-plotting the story.  That has (of course) kicked up a few more worldbuilding things I need to think about, which will hopefully take a bit less time than the last one did.  But no matter how long it takes, once I’ve figured all of this out I think both the story and the setting will be much stronger!

Once I’m finished with working through the plot and the few worldbuilding kinks, I’ll get back to actually writing the story.  Unfortunately the changes I’ve made mean that most of what I had already written will be scrapped.  But that’s okay, these things happen (remember when I was working on that story for the Dark Crystal Author Quest? I wrote 5+ drafts of that story, many of which involved huge structural edits like this!) The main thing is that no matter how many drafts this takes, I end up writing the strongest story I can! 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

#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.  🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Worldbuilding, Writing

#WriteFriday – November 27th

I actually did some writing on a Friday!

This week has been so full of writing, it’s kind of ridiculous!  I wrote a stupid amount last weekend.  I think it was almost 5000 words before midnight, then another almost 5000 after midnight.  I started Saturday about 13,000 words behind, and ended Sunday only about 5000 words behind.  And as of Thursday, I ended the day with 43,399 words written; the target for the day was 43,333.  And yesterday I was about 1000 words ahead of target.  Seriously, check out these stats, it’s ridiculous!

So what did I write this last week?  As I already mentioned, I finished the Grief Project draft.  Then I went on to write a rough draft of a story for a friend.  His dog, who was rather old, wasn’t doing so well and my friend thought he’d have to put him down.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to give him this story, but it was written for him.  Well, I definitely won’t be able to give it to him as it is because it’s a very rough draft.  I set it in City of the Dead because that seemed appropriate.

After that, I really had to move away from stories about grief and pets.  Another friend told me Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void was out.  He started talking to me awkwardly about it, but didn’t want to spoil anything so I decided I had to go play it.  With my head firmly in science fiction mode, I turned away from Faeriia and another untitled world (I’m calling it the Centaur World right now.  It’s the world the screenplay I started for Script Frenzy takes place in) and started working on a science fiction setting instead.  This was helped by me rewatching Firefly as well.  I wrote down a random scene I’ve had in my head, which I have to admit, writing story makes the words go faster than working on world building stuff.  From there I decided to write another story for Apocalypse Madness (it’s set on Faeriia and called “Scourge of the Seas“).  And then I decided to write this blog post as part of the word count because I was just rambling otherwise.

I have to admit, writing 50,000 words of mostly world building is really, really hard to do.  Around the point where I started writing more stories (so I’m talking “Scourge of the Seas” and the other scene), I felt like there was no more world building I could do.  I know there are lots of holes in the settings that I’ll need to think through.  But right now I’m sitting at the end of an 80+ page document that’s basically just a big blob of text.  I tried to make notes and comments on the side of things that need doing.  But I know the way that I work, and right now I need to print out this document and go through it, organizing all the world building bits into their own documents to actually see exactly what I have and what I’m missing.  So here I am now, sitting with less than 3500 words to go to win, and I don’t honestly have anything in particular to write about (which is why I decided to write this blog post there, even though it sort of feels like cheating).  The sheer amount of world building stuff I’ve done this NaNoWriMo is awesome – I’ve got one world up to the point where I can easily start writing stories in it, even if it’s missing things, and two more (well, one world and one “setting”) in the works.  I’m super glad to be fixing some of the issues I had with my story ideas (namely the problem that almost all of them were stuck in world building).  But it’s super hard to remember everything that I’ve done these last few weeks (especially when I’m typing like a maniac to get caught up and jumping from setting to setting as it strikes my fancy).  I definitely think, if I ever decide to do NaNoWriMo again, I’m going to write a novel rather than another writing blob.

So apologies to everyone.  I keep saying I’m going to get caught up with your blogs, but realistically that’s not going to happen until after NaNoWriMo is over in a few days.  So wish me luck as I finish off the remaining 3000 or so words I have to write, and I’ll talk to you after the 1st!

Leave a comment

Filed under Worldbuilding, Writing