Fantasy Race Template

I found a neato template for creating fantasy races. I might tweak it a little for personal use, particularly the “alignment” bit. Defining an entire race as good or evil seems a bit problematic to me, after all. And I’d like to expand the physical limitations section beyond simply speed and strength.

In other news, I continue to work on the short story with Casey and Staruff. The going has been a bit slow given that there is noisy construction upstairs that is making it hard for me to concentrate. Bleh.

Stay awesome y’all.

Creating a Fantasy Race

Some more reading I’ve been doing on fantasy world building. So far, I’ve only read the first part of Creating a Fantasy Race but it’s already chock full of useful considerations.

In other news, I finished writing the opening scene for Blood of Midnight: A Hollow Vengeance yesterday. Beginnings are always hardest. I shall have to rely on my Writers’ Circle peers to assist me in purifying it of suckage.

Today: more work on Hollow Vengeance, editing a short story, and possibly writing up a description of the Bonavista Writers’ Circle meeting format given that we’ve had a huge influx of new members. All-around good news.

Great News!

Okay, so the issue with the table of contents was resolved. If you’re making an ebook, and struggling with this, this might be of interest to you.

Apparently, sometimes when the book is converted from one format to another, or even simply opened in another program, hidden bookmarks are created that mess up the functionality of the book when it’s converted to an .epub format. Thankfully, this is easy to fix if you know how.

You go to Insert, then Bookmarks, and in the field where your bookmarks appear you’ll see the little buggers that snuck in there. You’ll know them because they start with an underscore: _like this. And you definitely didn’t put them there. Delete them. Make sure the document is saved. Close it and send it off.

I mean it.

Close it. Don’t open it again to check on it. And send it off.

Why? Because if you open it again, at least if you’re using Open Office like I do, the program will re-create those hidden bookmarks and you’ll have to do this again.

Now that that’s solved, let’s see what manner of mischief I can get up to today.

A New Year!

So I finished the Renew and Review Writing Challenge minus a few of the exercises I didn’t feel compelled to do. Very useful! I recommend Ms. Jepson’s work, at least insofar as the writing challenge goes. I haven’t read her book yet but I might look into it later this year. I now have a shiny new Writing Life Plan posted on the wall beside my computer so I can glance at it whenever I forget what the crap I’m supposed to be doing. Woo!

I had an awesome New Years Eve party with a ton of friends. Got a little networking done besides. Meeting creative people is awesome!

This year, I’ll be working steadily on the sequel to Blood of Midnight: The Broken Prophecy using Carroline Norrington’s Scrivener Template. It took a little futzing around to get it to work for me–being the amazing technomancer I am NOT–but once I got it downloaded properly it opened up a world of possibilities for me. If you don’t already have Scrivener, I totally recommend the investment. Even if I explain why I love it so much, you totally don’t understand its full worth until you try it for yourself. I actually use about 90% of the tools it offers.

So tomorrow’s my birthday. I’ll be 29. People keep asking me “for the first time?” I don’t get it. This year, I requested a kidless kid party. I want Kraft Dinner with ketchup, crayons, a colouring book, finger paint, Play Dough, and toys … and enough booze that I really do feel like I’m a five year old. Maybe my wife will buy me that Disney Princess cake and write something obscene on it? One can hope!

More World-Building Resources

Need more help with world-building? Have a look at World Building Projects for some inspiration.

For fantasy, I’ve actually found this Fantastic Armies article to be helpful and not just for battles. It lets you know when your population dedicating to fighting and other pursuits, is reasonable and when it’s off-base.

For religions, I like to hit up my personal favourite: The Writing Cafe for help.

Linguistic help? The Language Construction Kit is the best I’ve ever found.

I’d better not overwhelm. Hehe. Let’s just say, technology is wonderful! Literally thousands of resources right at one’s fingertips!

World Building Exercise – The Three P.O.V.’s

We had a very successful writers’ meeting this past Saturday and I’d like to share with you the exercise we did. The exercise was crafted to hone our ability to create fictional worlds in which to set our stories and, just as importantly, how to describe those worlds so as not to bore the reader to tears.

First, I’d like you to consider that there are two points of attacking the problem of world building: Top-Down and Bottom-Up. To put it very simply, you can build your world, decide on the geography, history, geology, cultures, religions, population, biology, technology, linguistics, etc and then write a story set in this world. Or, you can begin writing straight away and come up with the details of the world as you go.

I advocate for using both methods by turns. I largely let my mood determine which I am going to work on on any given day. Some days, I’m in a really good flow, the characters are coming alive right off the page, the plot is moving along smoothly, interesting things are happening. Some days, my writing is clunky and forced and I just don’t feel like it so, instead of abandoning my work for the day, I take care of other necessary tasks that come with producing a work of fiction. I do some research, I flesh out a character by filling out a character sheet, I seek out music that reminds me of a character or would be appropriate for a scene, or I work out some points about the setting by drawing maps, diagrams, writing lists, etc.

Here is an excellent post by Writing Questions Answered to help you determine when some world-building is in order and when you can safely proceed with putting pen to paper (or pixels to screen.)

Continue reading “World Building Exercise – The Three P.O.V.’s”

Writing Engaging Descriptions

Tomorrow, my Writers’ Circle is having a meeting. Which reminds me, I should probably do the exercise … Anyway! Tomorrow, my Writers’ Circle is having a meeting and the subject is world-building. In writing, world-building is more than simply deciding on the details of how your fantasy world is made up and how it works: it’s conveying those details in an engaging manner so the reader’s eyes don’t gloss over.

Here is a great article that my friend Gretar shared on that very subject: How to Write Descriptive Passages Without Boring the Reader or Yourself.

Enjoy! And remember: make good art!