Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Worldbuilding Schmorldbuilding

As I mentioned before, I've decided to start a new book. I'm excited and just a little scared about this because I'll be entering uncharted territory, at least for me. My new book is going to be partly set in a fantasy world and of course that means I have to build this place from the ground up. I'm afraid I'm not one of those people wonderfully gifted with the automatic knowledge of what such a place should look like. So I've done a little research about the basics of worldbuilding and man does it seem intimidating. I found a page with a list of questions to ask yourself when you start this wonderful fantasy land. Frankly, I'm thinking about going straight back to bed, curling up in the fetal position and sucking my thumb for awhile. Or, maybe I'll just list a few of the questions that I found:

  1. Are the laws of nature and physics actually different in this world, or are they the same as in real life? Physics? Are you kidding. I barely made it through Geometry in high school.
  2. In which geographical areas will the story take place? I was thinking Peoria sounded nice....if only I could figure out exactly where that is.
  3. How much land is in each of the equatorial, temperate, and polar zones? I didn't understand a word of this question.
  4. Is magic legal here? Pretty much. Except that pulling a nickle out of your ear trick. No one likes that.
  5. Is there a "trade language" that facilitates commerce between countries that don't speak the same tongue? I thought maybe Pig Latin might work but I always forget which letters to rearrange.
  6. Are there actual gods/godlike beings? I figure since I'm writing this story that'd be me. Oh, the power. Bwaahaaahaaa.
  7. What is the basic style of government: feudal, aristocratic, oligarchy, absolute ruler, democracy, what? Hah! I'm still trying to figure out what makes up Congress.

My stomach literally hurt after reading these questions, and believe me there were many, many more I haven't listed. Who knew there was so much to worldbuilding? Oh, you did? Show off. Okay, I can do this. It might take a little longer than I thought, but I can't keep letting intimidation hold me back. And if you think about it, anytime you write a story there's always worldbuilding of some kind. This will just be a lot more involved. I wonder if I can call my new land Not Quite In The Middle Earth. I'm sure Tolkien won't mind.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

To Write or to Rewrite, That Is The Question

For the past few weeks I've been thinking about my first completed novel and ways I need to integrate a much stronger conflict into the story. I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head but overall haven't been able to bring myself to actually sit down and do it. The more I've thought about it, the harder it is to even visualize changing the story which is ridiculous because I know the book needs work. I don't have children of my own but I imagine it must be like someone coming up to you and saying "I hate to mention this but your child is ugh-ly". You'd probably bitch-slap them right? But wait a minute, what if they have a point? Okay, it's hard to imagine any child warranting that harsh a description but you're telling me maybe they don't need the dirt scrubbed off their face and a comb run through their hair? If only my book was so easy to fix. I feel in a lot ways I'd be going backwards to stop and repair it now. Tightening sentences and enhancing descriptions are one thing, all first drafts need that. Mine needs a complete face lift (hopefully not the scary Burt Reynolds kind), maybe even Botox injections and at this point I'm just not sure it's worth it. I've learned a lot since I first started writing and wonder if this new knowledge wouldn't be best served wrapped around a brand spanking new story. I've had the germ of an idea for a storyline written in my "book o'thoughts" for a while now and have finally decided to try and flesh it out and see where it goes. That's all I have, just an idea. There's a vague outline of the hero and heroine (kinda like the chalk outline of a murder victim at a crime scene which is neither here nor there but makes for great visualization) and not much else. I'm willing to see where it goes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Moment of Silence

As you've probably heard many times over (it's been pretty much everywhere except perhaps written in the sky, and the week isn't even over), Miss Snark has decided to hang up her sarcasm and helpful advice. I really have nothing to add to what's already been said except I, too, will miss her sorely. I was still new to the whole blogging thing when I first stumbled across her website. Anyone who writes knows how lonely this can be if you don't have friends or family with the same interest. Their eyes usually roll back in their heads as soon as we mention anything about writing. Finding her blog meant finally feeling a sense of kinship with other people out there who had the same passion as I did and that's all they talked about! It was wonderful and frankly a bit scary. I knew I wasn't the only aspiring author in the world but somehow only in an abstract kind of way. At Miss Snarks' I found hundreds of other writers, all with the same goal as I had: to be published. I lurked and listened and watched quietly as they discussed the craft of writing, bandying about words I had never heard before. GMC, ARC, TSTL. Was this some kind of secret language only truly great authors could understand? I continued to listen and gradually (I'm talking glacier gradual) became less intimidated as I read and learned. I'm nowhere near being the writer I should be, mostly because of my own insecurities and lack of discipline. But I'm also not as alone as I used to be and for that (as well as her wonderful advice), I'll always be grateful to Miss Snark.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. Granted, no one but me is reading this but that was kinda the point to starting the whole thing.....so I could maybe learn a little discipline of some kind when it comes to writing, maybe even find my voice again. I know it used to be around here somewhere. I don't think I've seen it since 2005. Definitely not a good year for me, or at least it didn't seem to be at the time. Now, I think it was just what I needed only I didn't know it. And what's all this blathering really saying about me? Um....I'm easily distracted? No? Oh, right. I have no focus and I've let myself lose my voice which is the kiss of death for a writer. There are many, many good, even great writers out there, but only one me with my distinctive voice. Sometimes it whispers to me as I'm going about my day....usually when I don't have access to pen and paper. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as I do get where I can write it down, poof! Gone! Even as I re-read my blog postings, only a tiny bit of my true self is shining through the words. I'm frustrated, mostly at myself for not having the witherall to work through this. There's a writer in there somewhere. I just know it.