Posted in 2017, World Builiding, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: World building websites

For this I’ll be focusing on two websites you can use to help you build your world. There are many more out there, and there are even more cellphone apps with the sole purpose of helping you build your worlds. Search world building in your app store to find some of these. I actually used one in the past and it worked pretty well, it was just on my phone which I didn’t like much. You can also just google world building apps.

The first website I’ll be writing about is Inkarnate. You can use this website to make maps for your world. It is really easy to use though if you want a realistic looking world you will need some practise. The maps made on Inkarnate look really good and there is now a commercial license you can get if you want to use inkarnate maps in books and games. Just a quick warning, don’t make a map and leave it without finishing it. There are occasionally changes which can make it so you can never finish your maps. These changes are related to the format of maps.

The other website is Notebook.ai. This is a website you can use to organize all your worldbuilding. It gives you a bunch of things you can add to your world such as characters, locations, items, magic, and religion. You can make a universe and connect all these things to that universe. When you click on a universe it brings you to a page with everything you have created for that universe. It’s really easy to use and you can use it’s Premium version for free all through October, but it’s online so you may not want to keep all your world building on it. Also I wish you could change the pictures used to differentiate between each category.

 

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Posted in 2017, World Builiding, Writing, Writing Tips

World Building Tip: Monsters: Otherworldly

I would count faeries, angels, demons, yokai, and any other spiritual creature as otherworldly creatures. Otherworldly creatures tend to not understand a lot of things that go on in human society because in their own worlds those things either didn’t happen at all or were done in a completely different way. An example of this is the exchange of  this is money. An otherworldly creature may not know what it is at first and will probably continue not understanding it even after they’ve learned what it is because there was no such thing in their own world.

They don’t have to literally be from an entirely different world, they can be otherworldly in a more metaphorical sense. For instance a moose with human intelligence could technically be classified as otherworldly because it would understand nothing about human society.

One thing to remember when writing otherworldly creatures into your world is that you should be respectful of the cultures of other people while you do it. Also do your research if you’re using creatures that already exist because it may give you inspiration.

Posted in 2017, Fiction, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: Word Processors

A word processor is anything that you can use on an electronic device to write. The one I use is Microsoft Word. Word is perfect for what I need it for, plus I have yet to have any problems with it that aren’t caused by me being stupid (like having an entire assignment written on Word being corrupted because I saved it only on my flashdrive, remember always save your work in more than one place and always use the safe remove option). There is also a similar word processor on Apple products which I’m pretty sure does pretty much the same thing, though I don’t know much about it because I’ve never used a Mac in my life.

Word is a good word processor to use and is fairly easy to get. However there are many more that you can choose from. There is also Google Docs which is like Microsoft Word only online and free with any Google account. It works pretty well and allows you to easily collaborate with other writers, but its online which is something I don’t like much. Another word processor which I’ve heard writers talk about before is Scrivener. I’ve never used it before but after some research I have discovered that it allows you to keep everything you need for writing in the same program, so basically your outline, background material, characters, and settings. It is useful for writing longer works and though you do need a subscription to use it after your free trial, there is a 30 non consecutive day free trial which basically means that you can use it for 30 days worth of actual work time without a subscription if you want to try it out. You can download Scrivener for the free trial here.

There are other word processors of course, but they tend to not be as good as the ones I just wrote about. There are some which can be very motivating in the fact that if you stop writing for too long it will start deleting words. There are others which make writing a literal game. You don’t really need much in a word processor, but if you want to you can search Google for word processors. You may find something that suits you better than Microsoft Word or Scrivener.

 

Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: There must be a change

If you look at pretty much any story you will notice something they all have in common other than the main building blocks of a story (plot, setting, characters). Something changes from either the beginning of the story to the ending, or between the inciting force and the ending. Sometimes the change is a significant one which cannot be undone which is the case of stories where someone dies, something is destroyed, or something falls. Sometimes this change is less significant and can be easily undone such as when Mario saves Princess Peach (because Bowser will always kidnap her again no matter what), a character adjusts to a new life, or a character learns a new skill.

A change is a sign that there actually is a plot in your story. It doesn’t matter how frequently there is a change. Television series with self contained stories in each episode will have a change every episode whereas a story with a much larger scale will have a major change only every once in a while. Even a story where it seems like nothing happens will have a change somewhere because a story needs to at least have a minimalistic plot.

Here are some changes that can occur. Conversions are where something or someone transforms into something or someone else. Destruction related changes where something is destroyed which can include death, the fall of a civilization, or the destruction of a structure like the Death Star. A gain in knowledge which is when a character learns something new which is difficult to unlearn. And reversions where something reverts back to its original shape which does in fact happen in stories occasionally where something or someone is being rebuilt or reformed.

Posted in 2017, World Builiding, Writing, Writing Tips

World building tip: Transportation

There are many different forms of transportation that people can utilize in order to get from one place to another. In our own world you can take a plane, a bus, a boat, or a car to get from one city to the next (of course this depends on the location of these cities). In fictional worlds there tend to be many modes of transportation. This is of course important to think about because knowing how people travel in your world can help you decide on how much time your story actually covers and can lead to some interesting scenes.

The original mode of transport was by foot. Usually you can see people walking in cities and towns, as well as between two places that are close together. Sometimes you can find lower class people walking between two places that are further apart because they can’t afford the more convenient mode of transportation (which is usually by horseback). You may or may not know this, but walking is usually the slowest way you can get someplace unless your destination is so close that preparing another mode of transportation like a horse or a car would take longer than just walking.

Another popular mode of transportation is the use of animals. In a more realistic fictional world with a medieval European-esque setting, people would use horses. Horses would pull carriages, wagons, or carts, or they would have saddle bags to put things in. People would either sit on the horses backs or sit in a wagon, cart, or carriage. Horses aren’t the only type of animal used for transportation however. Dog sleds are found in places with a lot of snow and ice. Camels are found in deserts. You can also use fantastical creatures such as dragons, phoenixes, unicorns, or giant stone pigs for transportation. It doesn’t really matter. Be creative.

The final popular mode of transportation that I’m going to talk about is the usage of technology. This includes cars, planes, boats, and any other technologically advanced devices that you can think of. This of course doesn’t only include sci-fi type devices like hoverboards or transporters, a simple wooden sailing ship is included in this category. Even magical methods of transportation can be included in this category (though only because I don’t want to write another paragraph just for magic).

The most important thing to remember when deciding on what modes of transportation people use in your world is that you should be creative about while also being intelligent. You need at least a simple exclamation as to how your mode works. You can’t just say that your hoverboards just float for seemingly no reason. Why do people use one mode of transportation over another? Is there a cultural connection? Ask questions such as these when building your world.

Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: Naming Characters

Naming characters can be a very difficult thing to do. You need to make sure that the name fits the character, the world, and is not too similar to any famous fictional character such as Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, or Spock. There are two ways you could potentially name a character or at least two ways that I commonly use. The first of these is giving them a random name right out of your own head. The names could be jumbles of letters that don’t mean anything but look like names, words, or actual names you have heard in real life.

The other way is by going using a random name generator. The one I most often use is on BehindtheName.com which gives you the meaning behind the name as well as having a pretty good name generator. Keep on generating new names until you find one you feel suits your character. Once you have found the perfect name your character has a new name.

Posted in 2017, Writing, Writing Tips

Amateur Writing Tip: Write Every Day

Writing is a skill and because of this you need to practise in order to get any better at it. The best way to do this is by writing every day, which sounds easy but really isn’t. It is very easy to get distracted and write nothing but keywords into Google, Youtube, and other sites. It doesn’t matter what you write as long as you do and what you write has some substance to it. It may be best to set a daily goal of about a few hundred words. You can count almost anything into your daily word count. If you are working on an assignment for school you can count it towards your goal. If you are writing an important email, or writing a list of things to write about it also counts as writing.

If you have nothing to work on during the day you can write stories based on prompts or you can write blog posts. It doesn’t matter what you write because it will still count as practise and most likely you want to get better at writing. Remember that practise makes perfect.