world-building

All posts tagged world-building

Saturday post

Published 21/05/2016 by Barb

Since this week is screwed anyway with three posts in a row, I thought I’d do one on Saturday instead of Friday. And since it’s not a usual day for a post, I’ll do an unusual post – the maps post! πŸ™‚

I’m working on the tales of the northern kingdoms, so here’s a little chronology of the most wandering characters – Beautiful, Prince Splendor and Quests.

First is Beautiful, set in the year 1350 – same map as the upcoming Lovers, but Rithvik and Kerrien seem to wander a lot more, or better, they make a journey that can be followed on a map.

Beautiful_resizeThen we have Prince Splendor that is set twenty years later (1370), and the borders are more or less the same, the itinerary slightly different.

P&A_resizeFinally we have Quests. It’s set in 1405 and as you can see, the borders are shifting. Soon the Varians and the Blackmore will start the long war that will end with the birth of the Varian Empire (see full chronology).

Quests_resizeHere’s the complete journey, improvised as I wrote along that brought the wordcount up to 40K almost. I hope to finish this weekend, like I said, but simply looking at the map made for an excellent plot of the heroes’ journey! πŸ˜‰

And… little spoiler! See the yellow arrow? Yes, I’ll be soon writing more tales of the southern kingdoms with two very special half-bloods visiting them! πŸ™‚

All the maps are by the awesome Federico Distefano, although the writing and the itineraries are added by yours truly. They’re like the real maps of Silvery Earth where the Sila draw them and the Genn put in the writing (although I’m afraid he doesn’t have wings and I don’t have pointed ears)! πŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

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Writer Wednesday

Published 13/01/2016 by Barb

Hello beautiful people who keep showing up. This is a writer’s blog and this is a writing post! πŸ˜‰

Yesterday I was checking through an old story to see if I had a description of a town I’m reusing in a story – my series is based on the world of Silvery Earth throughout its history, hence the need to reference to places I have already used in other stories – and noticed a “shocking” thing: I ended a chapter on a cliffhanger!

So it wasn’t all crap after all! I don’t do this anymore because it irritates me, but obviously I used to do it. Which tells me that maybe I could redraft some of those old stories after all. They need a lot of meat to meet the new standards, but they’re not totally hopeless! πŸ™‚

So eventually I’ll get down to rewrite the stories of the Moren Empire, adapting it to Silvery Earth. Originally it was classical high fantasy with elves and dwarves, but turning it into a Silvery Earth “cycle” might be a good thing. When I’m done with the Tales of the Northern Kingdoms that spawned after the death of the last Moren Emperor, that is! πŸ˜‰

Currently rewriting and expanding an old graphic novel that was also a fairy tale revisited (without the m/m aspect of the latest works) and adding more to Colors, the Snow White-slashed story I started in December. Having heard from the betas, I came up with a different ending, which is not at all unusual for me. That’s how Beautiful went from short story to short novel! πŸ˜€

And how Rajveer was rewritten as well… but that’s why I love my beta-readers. Their comments help to make my stories better. They force me to think about what I’ve poured out and make sense of it! A very special thanks (in totally random order) to B-Abby, Lissa, Linda, Camila, Tori, Joleene, Nikalee, Jeff, Shafali and whoever else happened to read a story of mine before publication and comment on it! πŸ™‚

A random selection of links for other writers who happen to stop by:

Penguin Random House and Author Solutions (Davig Gaughran) i.e. writer beware, beware and beware some more.

Starting Late (Dean Wesley Smith) which goes well with this guest post by CD Reiss. Starting late or 20 (like her) or 40 (like me) years ago doesn’t change a thing – as long as you don’t quit. Quitting is the only thing that can stop you from achieving success.

Reactive Business model (Kris Rusch) and if you’d like to sign up for a writers’ workshop, check WMG Publishing online and offline workshops – I can vouch for both, worth every penny…

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

Published 02/09/2015 by Barb

Welcome to September! No, it didn’t sneak up on me, since this summer was waaaaay too long and hot for my tastes. And it’s not completely over yet. Sigh.

Anyhow, if it’s hot outside, I stay in and write, so it’s good for productivity! πŸ˜‰ (as if I go out much anyway… I’m an indoor person and I don’t care, LOL!) So I finished another short novel and I’m working on some origin story that I might never publish if I’m not happy with it, but I thought I’d jot it down, since I need to know the background of that particular character.

It has to do with the past of Silvery Earth – before the Books of the Immortals, and in the northern part of Varia. Mentions of a Moren Empire have already been made. That was my original fantasy empire, too much based on roleplaying games with elves and dwarves and goblins (I assume could be called a LOTR rip off, except I haven’t read the LOTR, so…).

I want to save some of those stories and rewrite them in the current Silvery Earth. Some might just be for me, since, like I said earlier this year, sometimes there isn’t much to save in those old stories, but they give me some kind of background for newer stories.

Like that short novel has “guest stars” from those old stories, so I’ll probably rewrite those next. They were in graphic novel form, so writing them in prose should be like writing something new! πŸ˜‰ Or using an old summary/outline and rewriting almost from scratch… I’ve started with those origins and will go from there.

Got my umpteenth rejection on shorter works, so I better write something else short than I can submit! Thing is, now that I don’t feel any constraint in length, I just write the stories at their natural length… which is mostly in the 20-50K for me. So too long for short story markets, and fairly short for novels in my preferred genre. Sigh.

Finally uploaded Rajveer to Amazon, so you can pre-order it from there too. There’s a placeholder manuscript, since I want to have another pass at it with my proofreader, but you can read the excerpt already… For links and e-ARC, go to the publisher’s site

On Writing by Stephen King is one of my favorite non-fiction books. And now I discovered we have in common also a favorite Keats poem “When I have fears…”! πŸ™‚ That’s why I’ve always been so productive, for fear of not writing everything that came to mind (and I didn’t, but moved on and ideas kept coming, so… I really don’t know what writer’s block is!)! Read the whole article on productivity by Stephen King.

Ten stupid writer business practises by Dean Wesley Smith and the second Zombie Publishing Meme by Joe Konrath about low prices of ebook… I still use wordcount to decide price, but the new books are mostly more expensive than the old ones. I should take down the price, but then… maybe next year! πŸ™‚

Next week I start two online workshops, a b-day present to myself to further my education and comprehension of business practises (althought then I have to adapt it to my home country, sigh). For which, by the way, if you need help, you can read Business for Breakfast vol.1. If you’re not American, you’ll probably enjoy more the second part, on how to get into a routine and motivate yourself! πŸ™‚

As long as you remember to have fun! Ending on a non-writerly note, I wish Muse K a wonderful birthday. I might easily spend the afternoon drawing him instead of writing. My procrastination techniques are wonderful (but when I draw I can brainstorm new stories, so maybe it’s not really procrastination. Denial much? πŸ˜‰ Nah!).

Have a great week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

Published 19/08/2015 by Barb

Summer is over, yay! Well, at least it’s cooler, finally! πŸ˜€ Been writing – back to the Northern Kingdoms of Silvery Earth before the Varian Empire. Some new stories and some “recycled”. Not all the old stories will be rewritten, but a couple are worth a second chance…

So, toying with the “clean” map, trying to place castles and towns that might not be there anymore centuries later. Maybe I should do a slideshow with the “political” evolution of Silvery Earth, LOL!

Anyhow, I might interrupt the current, new short novel – especially since I submitted the first part/chapter to a mag and I have until the end of the month to get that umpteenth rejection letter – to rewrite an old graphic novel (unpublishable, the drawings really suck!!) and sort of tie it to it. I’ve done 3/5 of the new story, but I need to decide a little more background on the characters before I continue, and rewriting the old thing might help!

I’m still not very good at deciding beforehand how characters are. You can check this interesting discussion on how other people do it – a guest post on Joe Konrath’s blog. I’ve tried to use those “character sheet” taken from various places (both writing and screenwriting), but they just don’t work for me. I need to discover the characters while writing them…

But then, I’m signing up for two online workshops in September, so things might change! πŸ™‚ Therefore I better hurry with rewrites, so I can write new stuff with maybe a new style afterward! πŸ˜‰

By the way, there’s a new title out, but not the official announcement yet, since it’s still missing a buy link… sign up for the publisher’s newsletter be updated. At some point I’ll figure out some way of rewarding you for subscribing, but I’m still working on it…

Since this is the year of experiments, after the pre-order on Rajveer the Vampire (more on that in September as well), I want to try the KDP Select/KELP thingy, after reading Joe Konrath’s numbers. Not because I think I can sell as much as him, but because I want to try with one novel.

Except I don’t know when the next novel will be ready! πŸ˜‰ Hopefully by the end of the year… or it might be the next. I can give Amazon 3months of exclusivity for an experiment, I guess…

Here’s the ultimate guite do self-publishing and book distribution tools anyway – I will probably still use most of the distributors for the next few titles (most certainly for Star Minds Interregnum and its related tales).

And an interesting take on getting indie books to libraries – which I don’t expect to reach from Italy, but if you’re in the US, you might want that.

Oh, and welcome to the new world of publishing, where writers can have a career even after walking away from a traditional publishing contract. What traditional publishing says it does best is no longer real… Have a great week!

Random Friday

Published 04/07/2014 by Barb

I thought I’d make more lively the character interviews by having an interviewer instead of the cold Q&A. So from the next one, there will be someone asking the questions for me. I considered having Samantha the Witch, but letting her take over the blog doesn’t seem safe. She is totally aware of us and all the other worlds of fiction, but I don’t trust her! πŸ˜‰

So after thinking about who I could pick, since I don’t have alien journalists available (the Star Minds characters are quite wary of journalists and don’t like asking questions), I thought I’d use the only journalist from a Silvery Earth story, Brenda de Zorig. You can find her in Books of the Immortals – Earth. Here’s Brenda:

BrendaTrailerMy name is Brenda de Zorig and I’m a journalist for the Konigtown Gazette. I’ve been on the road for years as an actress in an itinerant company, but eventually decided to go back to my hometown to start living of the thing I like the most – writing. So while I write my Masterpiece, I took this job at the Gazette and they send me on various assignments… I thought I might as well starting interviewing random people. Since I intend to write fiction, but truth is always stranger than fiction, I’m eager to hear about people out there – on my world or beyond. And don’t worry, I won’t use the information you give me as is – I will mix them and mash them in a way you’ll never recognize your story! Be bold and answer my questions as truthfully as you can. What? You want me to interview myself? Umph. Fine…

1) Tell me a little about yourself

I’m in my late twenties and just came back to my hometown after years on the road.

2) Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Brunette who finally enjoys wearing gowns.

3) Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

No, I don’t have enemies. I have people I don’t like, but I don’t let them ruin my life – most of the time.

4) Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

I don’t think so. Too busy daydreaming to actually care…

5) Where do you live?

I found a room at my friend Cristabella’s. I actually share the room with her daughters. Eventually I’ll find my own place. And no, I’m not going back to my family.

6) Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

I don’t believe in love – which drives Cristabella mad, but I’ve stopped believing in Prince Charming and I don’t think the man for me is born yet.

7) What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Probably meeting that person who shakes you to the core when you don’t want to be shaken at all…

8) Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

No, I don’t want to talk about my perfect sister and the rest.

9) Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I’m an actress and a writer. I wrote most of the plays we performed on the road. I’m trying not to let reality influence the Masterpiece, but my friend Thea – former mercenary who has joined the Konigtown Police – is investigating some royal mureds… if only she could tell me more about them, I’m sure my muse would give me much more interesting ideas!

10) What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

I believe I’ve said enough. Go discover me through my books!

So, from next character interview, you’ll have Brenda interviewing people. She’s from a time when the Magical Races have gone into hiding, print is being invented and magic seems gone from Silvery Earth. Hopefully she’ll be able to interact even with people of future Earth or other planets. She has a wild imagination,Β and wants to be a fiction writer, so I’m sure she can act blasΓ© even when she’s surprised – she’s a former actress, after all! πŸ™‚

Not much else is going on, so I wish you a wonderful weekend.Β 

Writer Wednesday

Published 25/06/2014 by Barb

MTSKhoodedman_resizeAnd a new title is up! Remember the hooded man? I sent it to Writers of the Future, and got a honorable mention! And now you can read it on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, B&N and DriveThruFiction – and then Apple! πŸ™‚ I’m aware it’s not a very original title (in fact while I was waiting for Kobo to actually show it on my page lots of other titles came up in the search – and my own has #3 after the title), but it is a very original story, so check it out! πŸ™‚

As for the writing – I’ve put aside the Amazons for now. The assassins’ guild is much more interesting! Besides, during last week’s offline writers meeting, a comment sparkled a brand new idea, so… A new character is introduced in the sequel and I will explore him in the third instalment and finish the story in the fourth – with the birth of the Varian Empire (seen in BoI – Fire) from the other side of the peaceful invasion! πŸ™‚

And I’m writing another prequel, set in the same monastery you see in the opening of The Hooded Man – two centuries later… I think I’m going to spend the summer with these honorable assassins (well, next month I will have to translate Male Lovers, but then, there’s Saif’s Legacy in there as well, so… not completely away from it! πŸ˜‰ Can’t get away from those brass wheels and pole-arms…)! πŸ™‚

Kilig&Saif is currently with Dear Beta who requested a sequel, and then I’ll send her Kilig’s Heart (if I stop tinkering with it because I come up with more ideas – being a pantser doesn’t help sometimes!). I plan to finish that other prequel with the new character this week and maybe start outlining Hakeem’s Rival. Then I’ll take a translation break and get back to it in August…

When I’ll have a week off anyway, both for Loncon and because I’ll stay in London afterward. I have that one panel and if I don’t feel comfortable with it, they’re going to take me off the programme altogether, so I better try to find something to say. Apparently “At the moment it is very unlikely we will be able to allocate different panels – there are over 1000 people in our database“, so… we’ll see. I’ll brush up my fanziner hat and find something to say anyway, LOL!

Now, if only I could get back to drawing SKYBAND instead of wasting time with unused covers and portraits that don’t add anything to my publishing schedule (but they’re good to relax and brainstorm ideas with myself, LOL)… Except I find it easier to write at DayJob than draw at the moment, so I’ll keep writing… sorry for my only SKYBAND reader, I know you haven’t given up on me! πŸ˜‰

Some writerly links! πŸ™‚ Think there is only one way to publish a book? Wrong! Check the latest instalment of Killing the Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing! I’m still mostly in option #1, but don’t despair to eventually have some sort of co-op with other indies (and I do hire some stuff done already – some covers and the proof-reading/editing). As for selling books cheaply… I base the price on wordcount, and then sometimes I can offer a bundle for a discounted price – limited time offer (like the BoI on Amazon, Kobo, Apple and B&N)…

Just remember the basic rule: the money flows to the writer! Now I’m going to study what is Google Authorship… hoping it won’t take too much time! Since, much like fellow indie author Jonathan Gould, I’m anti-social and would rather be off writing than touting my horn on social media! πŸ™‚ Have a great week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

Published 11/04/2012 by Barb

First of all, please hop to Jonathan’s blog to hear me rambling again. If you remember, Jonathan was interviewed last year on this blog when I read his book Fiddlerbugs. He was kind enough to let me read his longer work Magnus Opum before release, and I absolutely loved it! That mix of Lewis Carroll and Douglas Adams in a fantasy setting was just wonderful. I highly recommend it to any fantasy lover.

Now, you Americans go check the new data out on e-books. I’m sending you to Dean’s post, but don’t forget to check the Pew Survey and Mike Shatzkin comments (all links on Dean’s post). For myself and my stupid non-reading country, I think the discoveries I did the past December are still valid (I’ve read on an Italian newspaper, commenting on American publishing and KDP Select, that sales of BOOKS in general are down in Italy, but as I don’t have the newspaper with me, I can’t tell you the exact numbers). Personally, I’m reading more on Kindle, and I’ve bought more for Kindle than paper books – because the physical pile is high enough already, LOL! But I’ve been reading e-books for research since 2006, albeit in PDF (printed) format or other docs (like pasting articles on a subject in a Word.doc and then printing them out). I started counting them only two years ago, though, so I don’t have data for previous years. This year I have read more e-books on my Kindle than paper books or manuscripts – and I haven’t started traveling yet! πŸ˜‰

So yeah, paper books are not going away yet, and my readers haven’t all switched to e-books yet, but I know eventually they will. I’ve never seen anyone reading on an i-Phone in this country, but I’ve heard of Americans who do – but then Italians read even less than Americans, LOL! And because of the answers I get whenever I tell aspiring Italian readers that they can find my books on the internet, either in print or as ebooks, I don’t think they’re ready to purchase BOOKS online (I know they buy clothes on catalogs, but apparently books are better found in a bookshop, sigh).

Anyway, I’m thinking long term for my own books, so I’m not in a hurry. Please check the interesting posts by Lawrence Block, who opens a window to the past, Dean Wesley Smith, on indie publishing thinking (love those pie charts! ;-)) – and Kris Rusch on audience:

In my opinion, Tracy Hickman gave the best advice of the week for all writers.

β€œIt’s a big world out there,” he wrote, β€œbut you don’t need the whole world to succeed as a writer. You just need a very small piece of it that is wholly your own.”

Which is what I’m aiming at (5000 true fans, remember?). All the above links are tied together, somehow, about the fascinating and ever-changing (or not?) world of publishing. I sure hope to be able to afford another workshop with Kris and Dean next year – this year I’m saving for… Chicon7! πŸ™‚ I’ll book everything when I come back from Torino… I’m hopping on a train tomorrow and will be back on Monday.

Finally! Because posting questions on Facebook apparently leads to no answers, I’m going to ask it here. Italian speakers, please don’t answer! πŸ˜‰

So, if you read something like this:

1. Roma

Daniele stopped his olive green Fiat 127 in front of his gate, his mind still on the party at Marilena’s.

Would the name “Daniele” confuse you about the sex of the character? I know there are pronouns later in the sentence, but if it’s too confusing at first sight, I can change it to the similar name “Davide”. I originally chose Daniele because in Italian (and most specifically in Roma, where he was born) it’s shortened Danie’, but as there won’t be much dialog in Roman (Rome dialect + Italian) at this point, I can easily change the name with not much lost. Or I can start with “He” and then tell his name later – like, having his mother saying it out loud, so the reader doesn’t know he’s called that until his sex is really well established in the reader’s mind…

I know I left a “he” at the beginning of CVE3 because he’s called Lost, and especially in English it’s confusing if I start a sentence with his name (but I kept it “hidden” until he got called by another character even in the Italian version, LOL).

Any comments? Should I have a “he” until his mother calls him or can I leave “Daniele”?

Oh, and while I’m asking for comments, would you Indian readers be put off by an alien (humanoid, but still born on another planet) character called Gaurishankar? The presence of two characters from Planet Earth makes for interesting jokes (like calling him “mountain man”)… I know it’s a place (mountain), and not a person (well, a second search on Wikipedia brought a few people named like this as well…), and it’s the fusion of a male and female name – any comments before I use it for publication purposes?

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