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 – where to start, 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?

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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.)

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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.

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Four Literary Questions

Janet Fitch's Blog

This question was posed for me by a reader on my Goodreads page. For me, the best questions are the ones that make me think more deeply about the issues involved. This was a good one:
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 “What makes a great story/book? There are so many writers out there, but only a few get any acclaim, and some of the best posthumously. It is a herd mentality that snowballs into popularity?”
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The questioner is actually asking four separate questions here.
1. What makes a great story?
2. What makes a great book?
3. Why do only a few books get acclaim?
4. Is it a herd mentality that snowballs a book into popularity.
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I answered them in order–but Number 2 is the one that interests me most.
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1. A great story is one which satisfies the question it raises in the beginning. It can be a…

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10 Writing Tips That Can Help Almost Anyone

these are very good! thanks!

Janet Fitch's Blog

1. Write the sentence, not just the story
Long ago I got a rejection from the editor of the Santa Monica Review, Jim Krusoe. It said: “Good enough story, but what’s unique about your sentences?” That was the best advice I ever got. Learn to look at your sentences, play with them, make sure there’s music, lots of edges and corners to the sounds. Read your work aloud. Read poetry aloud and try to heighten in every way your sensitivity to the sound and rhythm and shape of sentences. The music of words. I like Dylan Thomas best for this–the Ballad of the Long-Legged Bait. I also like Sexton, Eliot, and Brodsky for the poets and Durrell and Les Plesko for prose. A terrific exercise is to take a paragraph of someone’s writing who has a really strong style, and using their structure, substitute your own words for theirs, and…

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