Don’t Let World-Building Get in the Way of Story-Building

A post of mine regarding Far Flung on John Robin’s blog, Epic Fantasy Writer!

John Robin's Blog

Happy almost-November!

Today I’d like to share more on world-building by means of a guest post from an author I recently connected with—TCC Edwards. You can check out his book, Far Flung, which is has been picked by an Inkshares syndicates and is still funding, at nearly 1/4 of the way to meeting the Quill publication milestone.

TCCHow many lists of world-building tips, hints, questions, and resources have you seen on the internet? They’re a bit intimidating, aren’t they? Especially when they’re as exhaustive as the queen of all world-building lists by author Patricia C. Wrede, with questions about politics, science, religion, and many more aspects of your fictional world.

You could spend a lot of time building your world with a list like this, but without proper attention to the story and characters, readers aren’t likely to appreciate the effort. If you are writing a multi-novel…

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What a writing journal can teach you about productivity

A great post by Tim Kimber of rightplacerighttim.com on how to use a writing journal to increase your output!

Right place, right Tim

This week, I reached 115,000 words on my novel. I’m three and a half chapters from the end, on the home stretch, and already dreading the editing.

Since October 2015, I’ve been tracking my progress with a writing journal, in which I record the time of each session, its duration, the number of words written and what chapter I was working on. A year later, I’m up to my eyeballs in data, and can draw some enlightening conclusions therein.

But first, a graph! Gadzooks!

word-count-oct16

As you can see, there are a number of lulls in productivity, loosely matching life events: Christmas in December, getting married and going on honeymoon in April, and being on holiday in August. Oddly, it is my holiday time that I’m at my least productive.

Getting deeper into the data, I can glean which type of session I get the most out of…

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Reblog: #IWSG #AtoZChallenge Ether-wall, Force Field, Genetic Engineering, and Hive Mind

I missed my IWSG post this month! Oh no!

So I’m going to  cheat with a reblog, but for a good purpose – to give a shoutout for Alex J. Cavanaugh!

I found out that he also posted Hive Minds for the letter H in the A-to-Z Blog Challenge – along with Ether-wall, Force Field, and Genetic Engineering!

As soon as I checked out his blog, I realized where I knew him from – he’s the author of the CassaSeries, founder of the IWSG, and all-round Very Busy Writer!

So go check out his site, and cheer him on for his hard work for the writing and blogging communities!

Keep at with the A-to-Z, fellow bloggers!

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“North of Reality” – Weird & Funny short fiction by Uel Aramcheck

I was looking around Web Fiction Guide today, searching for hidden gems…

I think I found one!

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I’ve been reading a lot of serial and web fiction lately, but North of Reality by Uel Aramcheck is different from most.

Rather than being a strict serial, it is a blog from the author’s imaginary realm – each piece is either a short story or an encyclopedic entry from another universe.

One of the best examples of the self-contained story entries is “Then Before If“- I loved how this piece plays around with the paradox that arises from knowing the future, and builds a rather poignant story around it.

My favorite encyclopedia entry so far  is “The Projectile Heart“, informing readers that humans can eject their hearts through their mouths in extreme situations (just like sea cucumbers vomiting up their insides).

I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read from this site so far. Since each piece can be read on its own, it makes it a great site to stop by once every few days for a weird fiction fix.


jukepopMy next writing goal – have Chapter 10 of Far Flung ready for the next Tuesday Serial Collector!

Reblog: Worldbuilding in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Jay Allan

Worldbuilding can make great stories even better!

It’s hard to imagine classic series like Asimov’s Foundation or modern series like Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn without richly detailed worldbuilding. Populating a fantasy universe with political systems, past wars, myths, technology, and other details help everything in the story work as part of a whole.

This article is a really good summary of how worldbuilding can serve an author and help draw in readers.

Worldbuilding.  It’s a term that gets bandied about quite a bit when discussing fiction, especially in genres like science fiction and fantasy, but for all the endless times it is repeated, I think sometimes the importance is overlooked.

It’s very fashionable to say things like, “character development is the important thing,” or “it’s the story that matters.”  And, of course, those things are absolutely essential.  But they’re not the whole story.  Not by a longshot.  Not in science fiction or fantasy.

A work of historical fiction set, say, during the American Civil War doesn’t need worldbuilding…it’s world is the world, and beyond pointing out some historical facts the reader might not know, the author can focus almost solely on characters and storyline.  But science fiction and fantasy demand more.  These stories take place in worlds that are the creations of their authors.  They may be set in the near future, based heavily on the real world, or they may be wildly different (a galaxy far, far away), but either way, the reader needs to understand this setting, and the only way that’s going to happen is if the author fleshes it out.

Imagine a work like Dune, without the immense detail of the empire, stripped of the customs, institutions, and history so carefully laid out by the author.  What is left?  A good story, some well-developed characters?  Yes, perhaps.  But an enduring classic of the genre? Doubtful.

Or Asimov’s Foundation series…with its galactic empire and its ‘world as one giant city’ capital.  The characters come and go in what is mostly a series of short novellas, but the overall plot of the fall of empire ties them all together.

On the fantasy side, could there be a better example than the Lord of the Rings?  The three books cover little more than a single year’s activity, yet Tolkien’s work wouldn’t be the classic it is without the massive worldbuilding that gives us thousands of years of fictional history interspersed with a few months of real time action.

In science fiction and fantasy, the setting is like a character itself, often as much a part of the story as any hero and villain.  When I think of the books that have resonated with me in my forty-odd years of reading science fiction and fantasy, it is those that offered rich worlds in which I could lose myself that became the favorites I pull out every couple years to reread.

See the rest at http://discoverscifi.com/worldbuilding-in-science-fiction-and-fantasy-2/

“Lessons From My First Year in Serial Fiction” by Adam Sherman | Tuesday Serial

Today’s reblog comes from the Tuesday Serial Collector, and has some valuable lessons on the sort of thing I am attempting with Far Flung:

“Lessons From My First Year in Serial Fiction” by Adam Sherman

Several months into 2015, I realized I had screwed up. I had begun writing my web serial, Nowhere Island University, in February. Ever since, I had been writing chapters of varying lengths and posting them one at a time on two sites at least once a week. Sometimes, I even needed to pull all-nighters to finish a chapter or side-story. To top it off, my views were minimal and the lack of comments on both versions were disturbingly low. Finally, before a family vacation, I realized that this couldn’t continue. I needed to make changes.

The first thing I’d need to do, as suggested by other authors, would be to create what is called a buffer: that is, to make a certain amount of pre-written chapters that I could upload at my leisure. That way, I could still upload content at the appointed time even if I was occupied. It also allows you to work at whatever pace you need, as long as you can keep to schedule.

However, if you’re like me, you need to build momentum in any way, shape or form. The first comment, the first view, the first post… these need to happen soon or eventually you lose interest. I posted the first two installments (I call them tracks because I am a somewhat stupid special snowflake) to the Spacebattles forum. It was the same post where I keep the table of contents. Then, I began to work on the next installment, oblivious to the fact that I’d soon be spending multiple all-nighters, even though I was not working full time. This was solved in a way easier said than done by writing more than one installment a week. Eventually, I was able to get a backlog of over ten chapters.

Read more at http://tuesdayserial.com/?p=5172

Writing: Paying with Exposure (Reblog)

Wise words about writing for “exposure” on today’s reblog.

As I write a serial and release parts for free (at least at first), I have to agree – the exposure I’m getting is a) not that much, b) ain’t going to pay the bills, c) only helping me in very small way towards being a full-time writer.

That’s why my serial isn’t the only thing I write (and why there are long gaps between parts) – I’m always working on submissions for paying publishers as well.

Aden Ng

Any person working in the arts can tell you, the hardest thing to sell is exposure. Personally, I prefer the phrase, “You can’t eat exposure”. But that’s what many “publishers” offer, and even as recently as last week, I have been offered to ‘write for exposure’.

I’m here to give four reasons why you should never, on your worst days, accept that offer.

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