a frame to weave a story, on worldbuilding (3)

a frame to weave a story, on worldbuilding (3)

Part 1 – crucial & tedious work, on definitions

Part 2 – “X” marks the starting point, or identifying procedures

Part 3 – Genius loci & fabulae, or finding the spirit in the story


We all consume stories as an organic part of growing up. It is food for the mind, equally important as food for the body. So we should be equally carefully picked and checked for quality like actual food.

Dear reader, dear writer, do you remember what kind of stories you were fed?

What is the blueprint of your world? What do you believe about morals? What is right? What unwritten rules are valid in the world you live in or makeup? How do you cope with the allies/villains of your world? How do you expect them to behave? Remember the goodnight stories your parents, grandparents, or siblings told you? What kind of stories did you imagine, when you were scared at night, when the darkness seemed to move, to breathe?

I’m convinced that stories are our first language to perceive and understand the world around us. We extrapolate meaning and rules from them. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I know that I used the blueprints of stories, fairytales, history, and family anecdotes to find my place and way in this world. My family knows this hunger and made me the story keeper. Well, I made myself the keeper and collector of the family tales, tree, trauma, beliefs and traditions.

Continue reading “a frame to weave a story, on worldbuilding (3)”

a frame to weave a story, on world building (2)

a frame to weave a story, on world building (2)

Part 1 – crucial & tedious work, definitions

Part 2 – “X” marks the starting point, or identifying procedures

Worldbuilding methods:

Before we begin, I want to share some good articles on worldbuilding that I found helpful. What you will find, are individual attempts to tackle world building. Here are some resources: Chuck Wendig, Tad Williams, Jerry Jenkins, the writing practice, vantange point, the write life, masterclass, world building school, now novel, writer’s digest, reddit.

I’m allergic to info dumps. Period.

I, as a reader, will chuck a book through the room and never open it again for spoon-feeding me information, for shoving my face into data-dumps. That’s a no-no. I don’t like it, and that’s an understatement. There is a stack of books in the shame corner, for precisely this reason. They sit in book-jail, modestly, unassuming, setting on a coat of dust, awaiting my most bottomless boredom to put up with them again.
I want the necessary details to be slipped by me effortlessly. I want subtext, secrets, hints, a literary heist happening around me, and be clueless about it. So please, dear writers, bamboozle me! That is your mission. I like your stories to immesh me, to trap me, to take me hostage.

Continue reading “a frame to weave a story, on world building (2)”

a frame to weave a story, on world building (1)

a frame to weave a story, on world building (1)

This is such a can of worms I’m about to open.

Every time world-buildings comes up, I’m perplexed. Where does one start? Do I have to pave the story’s road with cold hard matter, or do I start with (made-up) facts? Is it appropriate to leave it out and start with the smoke and mirror games right off the bat? Do I make up everything, do I invent the wheel? Do I use maps? Do I? Do you?

How much is too much?

How much is too little?

Continue reading “a frame to weave a story, on world building (1)”

The Road to a Place called Evil (2)

The Road to a Place called Evil (2)

PART 1 / PART 2

The canary in the coal mine, or how moral declines.

A child’s heart

Do not kill, lie, steal, or poach another’s mate. Our innate moral code is an early source of guilt, if we go against it. In comparison, the validation of this behavior gives us a good feeling. Since cooperation is the key to survival, not only as a group, a society but as a species, this code is present in all of us. It’s not an exclusively human thing though. There are behavioral trials with dogs, rats, elephants, crows showing that helping another fellow specimen gives these animals euphoria, even if there’s nothing else to gain from this act. There is also evidence of altruism crossing the border of species. (Pics, or it didn’t happen? See here or here.)

Continue reading “The Road to a Place called Evil (2)”

The Road to a Place Called Evil (1)

The Road to a Place Called Evil (1)

On writing a believable villain

PART 1 / PART 2

“Nobody is the villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes in our own stories.” George R. R. Martin.

In real life, it seems fairly easy to find evil powers. They come in all shapes and colors: remember the bully in your class? Remember the nasty villain in your favorite book? Remember the welcomed scapegoat, when you parked your car in the no-no-place? If not, just open a newspaper, social media or switch on the TV. What do you see? Murder, war, hate, accidents, fear, racism, bigotry… In this frenzy of bad and catastrophic news, one can get the feeling the world is a horrible place, and humans are disgusting.

Now, how does one start to write about all the terrible stuff that’s happening? Dear writer, you start with yourself. What are your experiences? Think about your stories of survival: recall the time you escaped harm, the time you felt in danger, and the time you couldn’t avoid the hurt. Every survivor has his/her own story to tell about the evil they’ve faced.

Linger there and use that as emotional fuel, even if it hurts. Let your raw voice retell the events, bleed them unto the page. This article might help you with that.

Continue reading “The Road to a Place Called Evil (1)”

PTSD, or meeting a long-lost friend

PTSD, or meeting a long-lost friend

The last three months were a challenge to me. And it doesn’t look like it’ll stop soon.

Old wounds ripped up, old pain butted its head and I tried my best to welcome it like an old, long lost friend… It’s an understatement, if I’d say that it’s easy.

I had some years in mindful and buddhist training; so I observe. I learn, about me, my situation, my hidden puppet strings, the booby traps I set for myself, and how others are capable of manipulating me.

My past isn’t pretty. I’ll leave it at that. But I’ll never move forward, if I back down.

My psychological strength isn’t what it used to be too, I guess there aren’t any reserves left. I jump at the smallest, unexpected noise. I cry at the news (which is very unusual for me- been called “Iceberg” before) and stopped watching TV and read the newspapers. I do the same with pictures of disasters, personal and global… My emotions and feelings overwhelm me, and I seize to function. Continue reading “PTSD, or meeting a long-lost friend”

Spiderweb of Understanding, a Puny Guide to Writing Emotions

Spiderweb of Understanding, a Puny Guide to Writing Emotions

So you made up a character you are fond of? Well done!

Let your character come to life. You know the drill: a face, a body, a CV, a past, jobs, families, friends, past lovers, nick names (cool and nasty ones), pets, favorite drinks, tattoos, scars, allergies and whatnot. The being of the character forms gradually in front of your mind’s eye. Mannerisms give a vivid stroke. Borrow them from people you know, if you must.

Almost there! Your character is fleshed out, but still a bit flat. Facts and habits do not add up to a realistic figure. The whole is more than the sum of the parts. The magic potion to add depths, is labeled – no, not unicorn tears – the character’s emotions. Continue reading “Spiderweb of Understanding, a Puny Guide to Writing Emotions”