As we deal daily with the Pandemic, our writing may be jumbled. Right now our brains are trying to keep us safe and sane. We dare to ask it to go a step further, to create.
How can you use daily stress in your story? Share a dose of this chaos with your main character. How will he or she handle situation if the blockade to their goal becomes 5 times harder? How will he/she react to other characters when frustrated, struggling with insomnia or overwhelmed with concern for a loved one? Fire up your laptop, start writing and let some of this out. It will be good for you and your story.
Writing may be purely an exercise in frustration right now. Forced to be housebound, worry for the health of loved ones and unemployment can be soul crushing. Trying to complete a project or to start a new one may seem impossible.
Let’s pour some anxiety onto the page. Journal about the weird way the world has twisted. This is a space for anger, pain and ugly emotions. No thoughts written here are wrong.
Only one word/sentence or paragraph may be scribbled. Fine. The point is to let out at least a drop of the creative and emotional toxins.
Go, release something onto the page.
It’s time to build your characters’ society.
What are the laws? What are the punishments for breaking the law?
What the sources of commerce? Are they agricultural or industrial ?
What is the social economic structure ?
Does everyone speak the same language?
Do they practice a form of religion? If so, detail it.
Describe the typical household?
Describe the style of dress: casual, for special occasions and military.
Do the people or creatures dance, enjoy or make music? Are the humanities a part of their civilization or forbidden? If forbidden, why?
Is there a defense system or military? If not, why not?
Do any of the characters have powers or magic? What role does technology play?
Non-fantasy/sci fi writers- Flushing out the language, societal structure, religion, clothing and weapons can be useful for your writing.
Scribes, it is time to take all the tools offered in the 5 parts of World Building and start creating.
Who or what is the villain?
Something or someone must challenge/ attempt to destroy your main character.
What is the villain’s motivation?
How far is the enemy willing to go to reach his/her’s goal?
Are they a part of your main character’s tribe, community or species?
Does the villain have accomplices?
**A villain should be as intriguing as a main character.
Coming Soon: World Building- Conclusion
It’s time to add in the creepy, crawling and yapping. Bring on the beasts or creatures.
What are the beasts on the planet like?
Are there predators?
Describe the creatures. Tomi Adeyemi does an excellent job of describing strange animals in her young adult novel, Children of Blood and Bone.
What sounds do they make?
What do they eat? Information on what is eaten is essential for fantasy and sci fi ( every Trekkie knows that the food in Star Trek comes primarily replicators.)
Perhaps your world has no animals/creatures. If not, why not?
Has it always been void of them?
Have they been hunted to the point of extinction?
Has the environment changed to the point where they could not survive ( toxicity or limited food brought this about)?
Okay. You have the guidelines to expand your novel. Go! Create!
Let’s build the environment.
Describe the color of the sky. Is there a sun? What does the sky look like in the morning, midday, evening and at night?
Is the night sky illuminated by a moon? Are there multiple moons?
Is it flat? Are there mountains? If so, what are the shape and height of them?
Is there sand, dirt or mud?
Are there any rivers, lakes or oceans? If so, how deep? What color and temperature is the water?
Are there plants, trees, flowers or crops? Do they resemble the kind found on Earth?
Are there nature wonders (i.e waterfalls, geysers)?
Are there villages, cities or buildings on the planet? What are they constructed from? What do they look like?
Are there roads, cobblestone or paved streets.?
Describe all of the above and tune in soon for part three.
What does the terrain look like?
World Building Part 1:
Every fantasty or sci fi novel needs to contain an amazing world. It must draw the reader in, let him/her walk around and discover the surreal creation of the writer. When world building is done well, the written universe feels real.
Have a fantasy or sci fi story wiggling to burst forth onto the page? Pause. Let’s start with a strong foundation. Let the world building begin.
This post and the couple that shall follow will present a guide. I see you non-outliners shaking your head in protest. Try using the guide! Sci fi and fantasy readers pay close attention. They notice inconsistences in plot, description, rules of the mythical land and character behavior. The guide ensures that you stay true to the aforementioned and also helps you vividly bring everything to life.
What are your characters? Aliens? People? Robots?
Gender? Age? Skin Color? Hair? Skin texture (fantasy or sci fi based characters’ features can look normal or resemble anything you can imagine).
Describe the above and you will have developed the first section of your novel’s guide. Yes, it’s subject to change.If it shifts as the story develops, ie. character’s features , come back to these areas later and make the necessary adjustments.
Okay, go! Describe! Stay tuned for the next section of this sci fi and fantasy world building guide.
We are in the midst of the holiday season and counting down to a new year. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
A) Calories don’t count. Really, the chocolate and rich foods consumed between now and January 2nd are calorie free. Ignore the tightness of your jeans.
B) Nurture your body although you may stuff it with munches. Workout or do yoga. Fitness will help you manage holiday stress.
C) Word count can be flexed during festivities. As you run around to parities, dealing with family, etc., it’s okay to write less than usual.
**The next post will offer ways to set realistic writing/publication goals for 2020.***
We have reached the half mark of NaNoWriMo.
How’s it going?
Are you meeting your daily word count?
This is not a perfect process.
If you word count is less than ideal, keep going!
If you’re right on track, keep going!
We are one day away from National Novel Writing Month. Planning to participate? Okay, I see the group of you shaking your head no. It’s not as horrible as it sounds.
Na No Wri Mo as it has come to be known is a fantastic tool. The trick is to tweak it to meet your needs.
Pick an existing project . Use November to complete a draft.
Use the time to do a line by edit or second draft of your manuscript.
Do the dirty work~ Write an outline, summary and query letter for your manuscript.
Research agents and small publisher to submit to.
Embrace Na No Wri Mo in either the tradition manner of creating a 50,000 word draft or tweak it to work for you. Crush November!