Yawn… Most productive time of day?

Why is it, that every time it is “i really should be going to bed time”, the writing fever gets me, and I end up clattering away on the keyboard until the early hours of dawn?

I can’t seem to help it, the creative juices just seem to start flowing out of nowhere, and the characters mug me, hold a blade to my throat and force me to write… kind of 😛

It does get a little unhelpful with “normal life”, but nothing that cannot be handled. On the other hand, I sometikes wonder where all that productivity is during the day, because, well, I could use it then maybe? Not that I can’t write during the day, but the 11pm + few hours seems to be the sweet spot.

Do any of you have similar experiences? At what time of day do you feel most creative? Would love to heae from you~ ^,,^

 

 

Worldbuilding, part 3

This is a sequel to part 1 and part 2. These two parts deal with the theoretical and behind-the-scenes parts of worldbuilding. In this last part, it will be about how it can come across into the final story.

How does one translate their meticulously created world into the actual text of the story?

You kind of weave it into your text. The best way to imagine it is just like as you percieve your world every day: You mainly keep your eyes on the characters, and pay attention to the plot, but in there is landscapes and life in the background, random stuff to notice and to find out through various interactions. Different features of your world will come across in different ways.

Some random examples:

The mannerisms of  characters:

  • Body language and expressions, pleeeease include them! They are just so key to making a character come alive and also giving them a background!
  • They might be overly polite, formal and distant if they come from a very structured society. They maybe insist on calling everyone by their full name and title,  express themselves in a very vague, diplomatic way, and go great lengths to avoid showing outbursts of emotion.
  • Cultures have different rules about what is polite and what isn’t. One character may for instance always greet everyone with a firm handshake, while the other will avoid any “hostile grabbing motion”, and look down on what they percieve as a petty gesture to try and assert dominance.
  • How do characters react to certain environments? Do they scramble to get out of rain? Do they leave a trampled path in the wilderness and feel more at home in an urban surrounding?

Backstories:

  • Everyone is a product of their homeland, both in real life and in fiction. This is another thing that is crucial both to character building and worldbuilding.
  • If a character’s background places emphasis on social class (noble/peasant/whatever) then they are the child of a highly stratified society.
  • People love rebels, and thus the society could give birth to someone who doesn’t fit in at all, and could be destined to bring it down (see practically every dystopian ya book out there right now). The question is, WHY are they such a rebel (al opposed to the rest of the population)? Have they witnessed a lot of injustice while growing up, that others have not? Are they seeking revenge on a member of the government? Have they come across some forbidden political material?
  • A highly militaristic society could demand that all children at a certain age are trained to fight. Such a society can thus yield characters who are skilled warriors, “despite” being young/female/other “can’t fight” stereotype. Of course the “despite” only comes from our point of view, for them it is perfectly normal, and they probably will not understand foreigners’ disapproval.

Names:

Names can say so much!! They are a sample of language first of all, but naming customs also say a lot about a society. Are the names give at birth, or earned sometime later? Are they constant throughout life? Perhaps not. Do family names exist, or perhaps a village name? Are names supposed to be unique, or identify the person as a member of a certain collective?

Landscapes:

Ever so often, pause as a writer and have a look around your scene. What do you see around your charactes? Describe it to the readers. Forest? What kind of trees are in it? Any animals? City? How are the people acting? Is it noisy? Clean? What kind of architecture? Weather? These details provide the backdrop. If you leave this out, then the story will play out on an empty stage.

Appearance of characters:

Every character’s background influences their appearance, just like in real life. Characters (including minor background ones) from the same origin will look similar if it is a relatively homogeneous society, or can be completely motley if there is a history of mixed peoples in the area. (Compare Iceland to USA.) Appearance also includes clothing.

History:

Societies always have a history, and since every single event, incident and decision is a cinsequence of previous actions, the history of a world will, even if only indirectly, influence the story taking place. The history can come across as told or remembered by characters, but also while introducing a new character, object or place.

Of course, this list is by no means extensive!

Ir was just the first few random things that came into my mind.

Do you peeps have some good worldbuilding techniques you would like to share? Please do so in the comments ^_^

I hope you enjoyed this mini-series by me. On the 20th of March there is going to be an awesome announcement regarding future posts, stay tuned 😀

Worldbuilding, part 2

This is a sequel to this post here. For those of who have read it, carry on! ^_^

How does a world get built?!

Either from top-down or from the inside-out.

The top-down direction is the order I described in the previous post. You start large scale, creating first the space, the ground, the landscape, then you populate it with various forms of life, their attributes, abilities, how they behave, how they interact, what kind of civilisation, history, culture, language etc… down to minute details of typical mannerisms. For instance, someone with a certain background may consider it rude to look directly in the eyes? Who knows.

The inside-out direction is the reverse. There, you first start with a few (1-5, lets say) characters. Their appearance, name (or lack of?), personality, childhood memories, actions, decisions, manners, abilities and all that shebang are a product of the world they were born into. This way, you can discover that world by looking for the backgrounds and roots of the characters’ attributes.

Of course this is a nice dualistic theory. In practice, it will probably be a mix of the two. For instance, you may start with a character, build up their background and their country, then build up a neighbouring country to pit against it, then from that, derive the main character’s arch nemesis.

You can also start somewhere in the middle, maybe with fragments of a language, that then develops the need for characters that speak it, and a world for those characters to live in. It’s a non-linear process.

Which direction you choose is up to you of course. That’s the beauty of creative writing! In my experience, it depends on what kind of ideas you already have. If it is a great history of the several kingdoms, or the intricate workings of an exotic culture, then you will probably go top-down. If you’ve got some bombastic scenes, or have met some awesome characters wondering your mind, then it will be likely inside-out. You can start from almost anywhere; a fancy salute, a new word, a dazzling landscape…

It might sound somehw complicated but the truth is that at a (unexpectedly early) point the life awakens and your world will kind of unfold in front of your eyes while you struggle to keep up scribbling down the details 😀

More on that later 😀 stay tuned for the third part, the grandiose finale 😛 byee~

 

Worldbuilding, part 1

What is Worldbuilding and When is it Necessary?

In short: Worldbuilding is one of the two essential components that give your story life (the other is Characterbuilding), and it is absolutely always necessary, in every single piece of fiction you will ever write.

Alright, so this is all very eloquent but not too helpful, so I shall elaborate. :3

Worldbuilding is literally the art of building a world in which the story being written takes place. This does not just mean writing elaborate descriptions of scenery; it means a process of creating an entire world, Genesis style. Is it a planet, or multiple planets? An endless, flat ground? A strange dimension? What physical laws apply? How was this ground shaped over the ages? Once this is set, create some life. What kind of life is on it? What different species? What are their attributes, necessities, strengths, weaknesses? How does that life behave? Is there civilisation? Then it gets more involved. Cultures and the clash of them, languages, customs, geopolitics…

Once such a consistent system exists, the events have background, the characters have ancestors and the story is not anymore hanging in a strange vaccuum. It becomes a slice of a living reality. When good worldbuilding is present, then the reader, reading the descriptions, actions and dialogues of the characters, can imagine all of that happen in context, much like in “real life”.

When is it necessary? ALWAYS. Seriously. And it doesn’t even need to be a high fantasy piece. High school romance? You really need the worldbuilding too! Are we on earth? Is it the “common” reality, or an alternate history? Perhaps a certain significant war had a different outcome and now the geopolitics of an entire continent is different than the readers know. Where are we, what is the environment and culture like? And then, even if everything is kept boring “normal”, highschools are lit their own world, regardless of all these external factors. That world will stay trapped inside your head, and not reach the readers, unless you show it to them through your writing.

Describe stuff! Show cultures, delicate balances and relations through character mannerisms, interactions, backstories… Basically, every story is a new world (unless it is a direct sequel). A world needs space, time and life, and that means geography, history and culture, all coming from you, the writer?

Howwwww is that gonna happen? Stay tuned for part 2 :3 byedebye~

 

How to start WRITING!?

squeeeeee~ from excitement first of all: you’re gonna write something! yaaay! whether it be the next bestseller book, a groundbreaking article, or a heartthrob love song, the point is, there is something valuable inside you, wanting so badly to come alive! it is trapped in your mind, begging to be released into the real world, and that’s where you, the writer come in: your job is to breathe life into it, give it wings, and set this new little creature loose in the world.

…but how to do it?

maybe you’ve spend a lot of time planning, reading about, ruminating on the ideal conditions and techniques to write, while longingly visualising your final masterpiece, and then noticed that moe and more time is passing, and meanwhile the work is still not doing itself! damn!

i know this feeling very well because i’ve fallen prey to it myself.

before i launch into unravelling my touching origin story (every villain needs one, lol), i need to say that the single most meaningful advice that i follow to this day is: GIT YO BACKSIDE ON THE CHAIR AND JUST START! 😀 there ain’t no better time than the big, fat NOW!

i was always known to have a vivid imagination, with worlds within worlds inside my head, and years ago, still in my teens (ugh cue the feeling of oldness) i finally picked out one of those worlds and wrote a 200something page novel about it, whilst wilfully neglecting my school work. i the reread it, thought it wasn’t good enough, then… became embroiled in the epidemic of good grades, college hassle and the compulsive need to chase a future. since writing was “just a pastime”, it was, at least in my mind’s construct, not allowed to be important, unless there was some idle time that really needed filling. yeah right. idle time never just pops up. it meeds to be created. unfortunately, at this time, i don’t know that yet.

Fast forward a few years and I’m turning my world upside down, the exact details of which I will spare you, the point being that I was ready to become more… life-affirming? idk. whatever. On Christmas Eve 2016 I create a new file on my laptop called “Chapter Template.doc”. For the rest of December, that is all the progress I make, but it was a start. In the beginning of January I finally sit down and consciously, with determination, start with the first sentences. Now we are nearing end of February and i am almost done with chapter 7! *creepy heavy breathing*

So how did this happen? Not by magic, though it certainly felt like it. The simple things that suddenly glared me in the eye were the following:

  • What we do with our time is a consequence of our decisions. ONLY. Therefore, we are empowered to MAKE TIME for things we really want, like, writing! In my case I cut out the absolutely unproductive time of scrolling around on facebook, which I never enjoyed anyway, and abracadabra, already some free time! With the first such “weed” found, it becomes easier to find even more.
  • Don’t treat it as “just a pastime” if you want it to be more. I’m not telling you to quit your job or anything but the point is to set clear goals and boundaries, for example: Resolve to write for 1 hour each day, uninterrupted. That means no emails, no messages, no social media, etc.
  • Is the blank page creeping you out? The emptiness at the beginning of a new story can be daunting. Start by building a world, and it will be filled in no time! What can you see there? What is the sky like? Any smells? Sounds? Movement? You can always come up with the perfect first sentence later. More on worldbuilding in another post :3
  • Use useless snippets of time (like waiting for the perpetually late countryside bus) to plan ahead and write kind of mini-drafts of a dialogue, action sequence or whatever will come next. This wil be really helpful when you suddenly sit there and want to make progress.
  • You don’t need to be a genious, have a flashy diploma, or be a renowned expert, t write something worthwile! You also don’t need to be rich, have a prestigious job, the perfect family, or “have control over your life” in order to “be allowed” to start writing. The only one you need permission from is yourself!

So with this in mind, grab your laptop or paper (does anyone still write their manuscripts on paper? just curious) and get started! Let the seedling inside your head grow wings and become… become what? That’s up to you :3 personally I hope mine becomes a cute little monster with sharp teeth. :3 I really hope that I have inspired or helped one/some of you reading this ^_^ till next time~

^,,^