As promised, here’s a picture of me at SuperCon this past Saturday! That’s obviously me on the left and then my future husband, Spider-Man on the right. (No idea what he looks like underneath so I’m using my imagination.) While there, I made several art purchases (which I plan to post later) and one graphic novel. Several people asked to take a picture with me, but my favorite was this sweet little girl (possibly six to eight) who looked at me as if I was the real Flash. I hope she grows up knowing she can be her own hero! My whole family went, and I can truly say there’s no better feeling than being surrounded by thousands of people dressed as a super hero with absolutely no judgement!
To say it’s harder than it looks would be an understatement. Your story is more dependent on it than you think, especially in both fantasy and science fiction. You have world that are so complex like in Game of Thrones, more simple and based on this world like Harry Potter, and then complete universes like in Star Wars or Star Trek. It’s always so beautiful to watch how the setting influences the characters. But, how do you build it from the beginning?
Ironically, much the same as you do a book.
Outline the big stuff. Is it all in one country? Several? Know where they are in relation to one another as far as north, west, east, south. Simple enough, right? Next step is to put that into Microsoft Excel. Set each country to a different color, and put a key to the right accordingly. (I’ve put a picture as reference from my latest book for what I mean as far as using Excel, minus the key. I don’t mean to have it so detailed and laid out in the beginning.) This outline should be completed while you are outline your main plot.
Once you have your basic outline of the main plot points (Again, I’m going to have to suggest Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland if you’re having problems.), then it’s time to delve into the culture. If you already have a clear image of your characters in mind, this part should’ve technically been at least part way done. Now it’s time to go more into detail. Make sure to put sub-races within the same culture. Look at America, Germany, France. There’s people of every skin tone. If your culture is ‘pure’ like the Japanese, why?
Do they celebrate religious holidays? What different classes does it compromise of? How is violence looked at? Gender equality? Religion? Liberal or conservative? Monarchy, democracy, anarchy? Animal life? What’s their main source of food? What’s the weather like there? How does that affect your plot? What’s their take on honor? What do the buildings look like? How do they view art? Do they have their own language? What type of job does a ‘commoner’ have? What sports do they play? All of this might not make it to your book, but nonetheless it works in your favor to show a well-rounded nation.
Now that you have your outline, time to go into the subplots. If you already have some in mind, how’s your map effected? Do you need to put in mountains? A lake? River? Sea? If you’re struggling with creating subplots, refer to the last paragraph. If it’s all within one or two nations, delve more into it. How could the answers you come up with affect your protagonist? If you’re going across many countries, create a whole new one. Make it drastically different than your protagonist. What’s the worst type of culture they could stumble upon? Now, create it and add it into your map.
Look at your excel sheet. Think about natural geography. What’s missing? Add it.
Once that’s complete, look at the new countries you’ve created. How do they affect your general plot? If there’s a war, why aren’t they helping? Could they help? How would that change things? What’s their relationship like with the surrounding countries?
Question: What could be better than a bunch of nerds getting together and celebrating everything that makes them nerdy? Answer: Nothing! Don’t fight me on this, okay? This year SuperCon has Peter Capaldi (The Twelve Doctor), John Barrowman (In Doctor Who, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow), and Karen Gillan (In Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Who)! If you’re asking if I’m going to be dressing up, the answer is a big, fat HELL YES. Pictures will be posted next Thursday, but I’ll be going as the (cute girlie version of the) Flash! Stay tuned for more awesomeness.
Oh yes… the subject everyone deals with but nobody likes to talk about. As I’ve said before, short stories come to my aid when I’m in need of some kind of self-accomplishment. While that in itself is a beautiful thing (and one that I love doing) it also comes in tow with more rejection. I have received one rejection every two weeks or less since October. Still, to say I’ve gone numb to the feeling would be a lie.
I often still find myself falling into the dark pit of depression. In all fairness, who wouldn’t? No matter how many times a loved one tells you your work is good, it still doesn’t hold the same value to a stranger saying the same. I’m not saying my support system is fruitless; in fact, they’re the only reason I haven’t given up. With that said, someone at least putting me on the waiting list would be a nice pat on the back. It’s so hard right now to find the motivation to write anything, because what good is a book if it’s not being read?
On happier news, I just finished my YA Fantasy novel, The Freedom Game, and am beginning to send out my query letters to agents. I know there will be countless bullets to my heart before I hear a happy response, and that’s assuming I hear one at all. …If you’re an agent into YA Fantasy, feel free to email me 😉
I started this book on January 1, 2017, so you can indeed say I’ve spent a lot of time on its betterment. I have to admit, though, part of the reason is because, well, I just wouldn’t write. It’s hard to find the motivation when you’re not reaping any rewards. It seems like it’s you against the world, and the inner desire to write is beaten down by all the little things.
Still, my book’s become so near and dear to my heart that I’ve decided no matter how many battles lie ahead, I will publish it. Self-publishing is a beautiful thing, and with my degree in finance I think I could do it decently well. After all ‘self’ means the only approval I need is my own, and thus no one is poking a stick at my head telling me ‘You’re not good enough.’
Now, I’m no fool. I know I’m not the only writer who goes through this kind of pain. So, below I put a list of what I personally do to try to claw my way out of the pit.
- Drink tea. Simple, I know; but, also powerful. The reason I’m putting this first is because I think you should do it while trying out my other ideas. Drinking tea while sitting there crying won’t have the same effects as drinking tea while reading a book for instance. But seriously, have you ever tried Yogi Stress Reliever Tea? If not, you should! It’s not an instant cure as much as a slow-proving one. It also has the habit of making me sleepy, proving that it does indeed calm my nerves.
- Watch a movie that’s so bad it’s funny. This is a weird one, I know, but it has multiple benefits. It doesn’t require any brain power, and so you can spend your time laughing your butt off and just letting loose. It’s amazing how a bad film can actually take you away from the miseries of reality. Also, it doesn’t hurt to know that there’s art out there that’s much, much worse than your own (Sad to say, but true). One Netflix show that I would suggest for this exact purpose is ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return.’ It’s hilariously stupid and gets me laughing.
- Go on a walk/hike. Personally, I live in Florida. Aka flat and humid. That doesn’t stop me from walking in the mornings, though. I love to find random nooks where a trail is hidden in the middle of city, etc. If you’re in basically any other state, there’s probably easy walks with glorious sights. There’s something to be said about leaving your apartment, even if it is to something as simple as walk. Different location translates to different emotions.
- Go to the gym. No, don’t run away. Even if you are, I got you running ;). It’s science; working out releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. I’m not saying you have to go every day; far from it. The gym is a place of noise. Weights falling. People talking. Music playing. It jars at your mind in just the right way. It’s hard to get lost in thought when so much is going on around you, which in this case is good. Why? If you were just rejected, you want your thoughts anywhere but on that fact. If you’re like me, you’ll also enjoy people watching as an added bonus.
- Write a letter to a friend. I know, how old fashioned! Still though, when you’re writing someone a letter, you automatically feel required to write more than just a quick hello. You should take the opportunity to catch them up on your life. And, guess what? Now, you’re forced to think about everything else going on in your life. Your puppy is now a dog. You’re up for a promotion at work. Your family is about to visit. You live in a nice area. You just met someone as wacky as you are. Hell, even tell them what you made for dinner the night before. It doesn’t matter!
I’d very much like to start reviewing books, if you have any that you’ve written/published or would suggest as a good read! I’m partial to fantasy and science fiction, although don’t mind branching out on occasion. I also want to give priority to newer authors, as a review does much more for them than the bigger names. If you have a book in mind, please comment on this post or email me to discuss! I would post my review here on my website, on Amazon, and Goodreads.