Thomas Goebel Photography

As an Indie Author, I know the struggle of not just creating the art but marketing and selling your work.  It’s often said as writers that a good strategy for getting more sales is to write more books.  While that is undoubtedly true, I also believe in the power of leading through example.

Pictured to the right is a recent purchase of mine.  This b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l  photograph was taken my a friend of mine from college.  I was lucky enough to join the same business fraternity as him, and through our meeting I’ve been able to see the world through his eyes.  And damn, does he capture the world’s beauty perfectly.

For the sake of my phone having terrible picture quality, I’m also attaching below a tiny snippet of the photo in high definition.  His portfolio is filled to the brim with breathtaking work, all with different themes that could fit into any room.

I chose this particular piece because I love the mixing of green with red.  It reminds me that change is constant, and makes me feel both warm and calm at the same time.  There are photographs of greens and oranges, beaches and mountains, sunrises and sunsets, forests and fields.

Excuse my sales pitch, but don’t worry.  You don’t have to just take my word for it.  Click here to look through more of his stunning art pieces  on Instagram!

Chapter 11: Questions to Ask When World-Building

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?

 

Follow the Nerd

One of the stereotypes I hate most in this world is its idea of a nerd: someone who only finds adventure on pages or through gaming.  While it’s true we enjoy those methods (I mean come on now), why does anyone seem so shocked when they learn we vary just as much as anyone else?  Myself – I love hiking and traveling and spending my time working out.  Nerds are guilty of this too; I’ve seen people look particularly offended when I’m at a convention (last year I went dressed up as R2D2.. this year it’s the cute version of the Flash) and I mention “that one time I traveled around the United Kingdom.”  Well, a dear friend of mine shares a similar mindset to me.   She loves not only traveling, but also targeting ‘nerd locations,’ as she likes to call them.  If you want to enjoy her travels alongside me, click this link to follow her on Instagram!  She recently went to England, Germany, Austria, and Italy, and is about to go to Louisiana for all you American Horror Story fans!

The Smokies

Here’s a picture of my ever-pale self in the Smokies!  This particular hike was 2 miles each way, so a total of 4 miles.  It was rather flat, but as you can see the scenery was beautiful.  It also was quite inspiring!  As I wrote a fairy short story titled “Between the Trees” that will hopefully find a home soon!

Cure for Writer’s Block

 

What’s better than working on your latest novel or reading a good book?  Doing it OUTSIDE.  This weekend I encourage you to find a park or even a coffee shop with outdoor seating.  You’d be surprised how it can get your creative juices flowing.