World Building: People

earth

What is a world without people?

Well, I mean, it’s probably a world with a lot more green in it and generally healthy ecosystem, but people aren’t reading your book for the trees are they? Unless your book is The Lorax, but as that’s already been written, we can assume that isn’t your book.

Odds are, people are reading your book for the characters; the people.

Now, this series is about world building, not character creation, so I’m not going to be talking specifically about how to create characters, but rather the different people that could inhabit your world (not including your main cast).

So, first things fist, are there are any important figures in your world? By this I mean, government or royalty figures.

Is your world governed by a monarchy? Is there a king or a queen? A prime minister? A president?

If you do have any of these characters, how big a role do they play in your story?

Are they central to the plot? Is your world in a dystopian state because of the government? Or are they a background character? One who isn’t even seen, but you know is there?

Remember, all aspects of world building are important, but not all of things you create for your world have to make it into the story.

If your story takes place on a lake, there might be fishermen; or diving instructors; lifeguards; a guy who rents scuba gear. If your story takes place in a castle, you don’t just have a king or queen. You have maids, servants, cooks, knights, squires, and so much more.

A lot of this might seem totally insignificant. Obviously there are servants in a royal castle, why do I need to acknowledge that?

Honestly, you don’t. However, I find it really helps me in developing my story to have an idea of the community within the story.

You never know when your main characters might suddenly interact with that random fisherman who you forgot about. You might be writing the story, but your characters control it.

What would Harry Potter have been without the teachers? Lord of the Rings without the villagers (and 10,000 other extra characters)? Chronicles of Narnia without the Narnians?

Your background characters give your main characters something to fight for.

I’ve said it a million times and I’m gonna say it again, all aspects of worldbuilding are connected. You might create most of your world and then suddenly get an idea for a character or an aspect of the world and then need to change some other things.

If you’re unsure of anything when creating your world, Google it! Honestly, I Google a lot of things when I’m writing. Like seriously, I’ve got some weird search histories and, talking to other writers, I know I’m not the only one.

What characters would you include in your world? Did any of your background characters suddenly become a bigger part of the story?

I’ll be continuing this series in a couple weeks with a post all about technology for your world!

Is there anything specific you want to talk about?

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World Building: History

earth

Developing the history for the world you’re creating is probably the aspect I have the hardest time with. But it’s also very important. The history of your world sets the foundation for events happening currently in your story.

While you do not need to have every tiny detail of your history hashed out, you should have a general idea of what took place in your world before your story starts.

For instance, if you choose a dystopian world, you should have an idea of what took place for the world to reach that point. If your world is magical, were there any significant events that took place that were caused by magic? Is magic accepted or feared? Harry Potter and Merlin both have magical settings, but very different reactions and understandings of that magic.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when building your world’s history:

  • What type of world do you have?
  • How did it reach that point?
  • Were there any major events that took place prior to your story?
  • Are there any historical figures who could impact the story or characters?
  • How has your world developed since the beginning?
  • How long ago was your world created? Five years? A hundred years? Five thousand years?
    • This is important for how developed your world and other aspects (technology, architecture, etc.) will be
  • If you world did have significant events prior to your story, how long did they last?

These questions are important to address no matter what type of world you are creating, though they are especially important in a fantasy world.

Your fantasy world is entirely your own and your readers have no knowledge or information about it. It is entirely up to you to show and explain what has happened prior to the story so they will have a reason to care about what is happening in your story’s present.

Now, like I said, it’s important to develop the history for your world, but it doesn’t have to be done all at once.

Significant figures will also be developed through the creation of people for your world. The layout and geography may be affected by certain historical events. Technology you have may depend on how long your world has existed. All elements of worldbuilding are intertwined.

This was a short one, but like I said, creating the history for worldbuilding is an aspect that even still confuses me a bit so I didn’t want to include too much here. Worldbuilding is a pace you have to set for yourself so we’re really just covering the basics here.

Usually I’d only post one of these worldbuilding posts once a month, but since I’m just soooo good at keeping on top of my own schedule (can you hear the sarcasm?), there will actually be another of these posts up tomorrow!

I’ll be talking about people and the different types of people and figures you might want to consider for your world.

Let me know what you thought! Are there are questions you ask yourself when developing history for your world?

Is there are certain aspect of worldbuilding you struggle with?

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Names of the Week

Ah, February, the month of love. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching (though if you walked into any department store it’s been approaching since mid-January when all the red hearts and decorations came out.

This month, all names will be of French origin! As France is often called the city of love this seemed appropriate and was a lot of fun to find all these different names.

Amelie

Female
Alternate Spelling: Variation of Amelia
Nickname: Amy/Ami
Pronunciation: Am-ell-lee
Origin: France (Form of Amelia)
Meaning: Hard Working
Well-Known Amelies: Amelie (Morganville Vampires, Rachel Caine); Amelie Leslie (Bonnie Prince Charlie, G.A. Henty); Countess Amelie de Laville (St. Batholomew’s Eve, G.A. Henty); Amelie Nothomb (Belgian Novelist); Amelie Rives Troubetzkoy (American Novelist)


Beau

Male
Alternate Spelling: Bo
Nickname: N/A
Pronunciation: Bo
Origin: France
Meaning: Beautiful; Handsome
Well-Known Beaus: Beau Wilkes (Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell); Beau Hutton (Country Strong), Beau Berkhalter (The  Client List); Beauregard “Beau” Langdon (American Horror Story: Murder House); Beau Bokan (Lead singer of Blessthefall)


Charlotte

Female
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nickname: Charlie; Lottie
Pronunciation: Shar-lot
Origin: France
Meaning: Feminine
Well-Known Charlottes: Charlotte Lucas (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen); Charlotte DiLaurentis (Pretty Little Liars); Charlotte York (Sex and the City); Charlotte Honoria Holmes (Charlotte Holmes, Brittany Cavallaro); Charlotte Bronte (Novelist), Charlotte Armstrong (Author)


Noel

Male
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nickname: N/A
Pronunciation: No-L (Holiday pronunciation, hard L), nol (one syllable, soft L)
Origin: France
Meaning: Christmas
Well-Known Noels: Noel Kahn (Pretty Little Liars, Sara Shepherd); Noel Crane (Felicity), Noel Fisher (Actor); Noel Coward (Playwright), Noel Fielding (Comedian)


Clara

Female
Alternate Spelling: Considered a variation of Claire in some places
Nickname: N/A
Pronunciation: Clah-rah
Origin: France
Meaning: Bright; Clear
Well-Known Claras: Clara Radley (The Radleys); Matt Haig; Clara (Der Sandmann, E.T.A. Hoffman); Clara Boden (White Teeth), Zadie Smith); Clara Oswald (Doctor Who); Clara Bishop (Royals, Geneva Lee)


Fleur

Female
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nickname: N/A
Pronunciation: flur
Origin: France
Meaning: Flower
Well-Known Fleurs: Fleau Delacour (Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling); Fleur Forsyte (Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy); Fleur (Being Human); Fleur Jaeggy (Author); Fleur van Eeden (Stuntwoman)


Giles

Male
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nickname: N/A
Pronunciation: jiles
Origin: France
Meaning: Pledge; Young Goat
Well-Known Giles’: Giles Fletcher (St. George for England, G.A. Henty); Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer); Giles Coren (Novelist); Giles Scott (Architect)


Juliet

Female
Alternate Spelling: Julliet; Juliette
Nickname: Jules; Julie; Julia
Pronunciation: Ju-lee-ett
Origin: France
Meaning: Youthful
Well-Known Juliets: Juliet Capulet (Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare); Juliet (“The Transformation”, Mary Shelley); Juliet (Love Actually); Juliet Burke (Lost); Juliet Grey (Novelist); Juliet Moss (Water Polo Player); Juliet Turner (Singer-Songwriters)

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Writing Playlist

Writing Playlist - Music Notes.jpg

Journey. Beethoven. Sinatra. The Avenue Q Soundtrack.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to music options in 2018. Which is good because everyone has different taste and different things they enjoy.

And for writers, we all have different things we like listening to when we work.

Now, I work in a music store so I’m literally surrounded by music pretty much all day, every day to the point that I can’t work in silence. I’m listening to Louden Swain’s, Sky Alive, album as I write this.

I’m also a big movie watcher and the way music affects a scene and the mood of the story is something that has always interested me.

For this reason, it’s always super important for me to have music on while I’m writing.

Now, I have different playlists for each of my projects. I used to listen to the same things for everything I was working on (usually film scores), but found this really didn’t help as all it did was make me want to watch the film.

By having different playlists, I can pick the music I listen to for each project and the songs on each of these playlists really helps me get in the right mindset for what I’m working on.

When I’m working on Brave Young Boys I listen to a lot of songs about war and loss. Carrie Underwood’s, “Just a Dream”; Dean Brody’s, “Brothers”; and Rise Against’s, “Hero of War” are just a few.

It’s not the most cheery thing to listen to, but it definitely gets me in the perfect mindset for working.

Kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum, I have a different writing project that involves two people going on a road trip. This playlist consists of (mostly) happy, fun songs.

“Beat This Summer” by Brad Paisley; “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers”’ and “mmmbop” by Hanson are three songs I listen to a lot when working on this particular story.

However, not every song directly relates to a theme of the novel.

In some cases a song will remind me of a character. Or I’ll hear a song and go “oh my god that’s perfect.”

Two instances where this has happened are with “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and “Lost Boy” by Ruth B (for two very different writing endeavors).

Everyone likes music. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t like music. It’s a universal thing, something that, even if you don’t speak the language in the song, you can still bob your head to the beat.

As a writer, different types of music inspire both my work and myself. I find it helps keep the story moving, gives me ideas for different things, and gives me a connection to my characters. It’s a language that transcends the usual barriers of most other languages.

Now I’d like to hear from you! Do you listen to music when writing? Is there a particular style of music you prefer to listen to, whether in life or when working?

Let me know down below and also let me know if you want to talk more about writing playlists!

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*Image at start of post does not belong to me, it was found on Google*

Goodreads Readers Choice Awards 2017

Goodreads Readers Choice Awards 2017

Goodreads

Best Fiction:

Little Fires EverywhereLittle Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

You can read more about Little Fires Everywhere on Goodreads

Runner Up: Bear Town, Fredrik Bagkman

Buy Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon

Buy Bear Town on Amazon


Best Mystery & Thriller:

Into the Water, Paula Hawkins

You can read more about Into the Water on Goodreads

Runner Up: Origin, Dan Brown

Buy Into the Water on Amazon

Buy Origin on Amazon


Best Historical Fiction:

Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate

You can read more about Before We Were Yours on Goodreads

Runner Up: Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders

Buy Before We Were Yours on Amazon

Buy Lincoln in the Bardo on Amazon


Best Fantasy:

Fantastic Beasts.jpgFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, J.K. Rowling

You can read more about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay on Goodreads

Runner Up: Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman

Buy Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay on Amazon

Buy Norse Mythology on Amazon


Best Romance:

Without Merit, Colleen Hoover

You can read more about Without Merit on Goodreads

Runner Up: Come Sundown, Nora Roberts

Buy Without Merit on Amazon

Buy Come Sundown on Amazon


Best Science Fiction:

Artemis, Andy Weir

You can read more about Artemis on Goodreads

Runner Up: Waking Gods, Sylvain Neuvel

Buy Artemis on Amazon

Buy Waking Gods on Amazon


Best Horror:

Sleeping Beauties, Stephen King & Owen King

You can read more about Sleeping Beauties on Goodreads

Runner Up: Final Girls, Riley Sager

Buy Sleeping Beauties on Amazon

Buy Final Girls on Amazon


Best Humor:

Talking as Fast as I Can.jpgTalking As Fast As I Can, Lauren Graham

You can read more about Talking As Fast As I Can on Goodreads

Runner Up: I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons, Kevin Hart

Buy Talking As Fast As I Can on Amazon

Buy I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons on Amazon


Best Nonfiction:

How to be a Bawse.jpgHow to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life, Lilly Singh

You can read more about How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life on Goodreads

Runner Up: Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Buy How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life on Amazon

Buy Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions on Amazon


Best Memoir & Autobiography:

What Happened, Hillary Rodham Clinton

You can read more about What Happened on Goodreads

Runner Up: Hunger, Roxane Gay

Buy What Happened on Amazon

Buy Hunger on Amazon


Best History & Biography:

Radium Girls, Kate Moore

You can read more about Radium Girls on Goodreads

Runner Up: Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann

Buy Radium Girls on Amazon

Buy Killers of the Flower Moon on Amazon


Best Science & Technology:

Astrophysics For People in a Hurry, Neil DeGrasse Tyson

You can read more about Astrophysics For People in a Hurry on Goodreads

Runner Up: Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story, Angela Saini

Buy Astrophysics For People in a Hurry on Amazon

Buy Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story on Amazon


Best Food & Cookbooks:

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives, Ree Drummon

You can read more about The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives on Goodreads

Runner Up: 5 Ingredients, Jamie Oliver

Buy The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives on Amazon

Buy 5 Ingredients on Amazon


Best Graphic Novels & Comics:

Big Mushy Happy Lump, Sarah Andersen

You can read more about Big Mushy Happy Lump on Goodreads

Runner Up: Wonder Woman, Volume 1: The Lies, Greg Rucka

Buy Big Mushy Happy Lump on Amazon

Buy Wonder Woman, Volume 1: The Lies on Amazon


Best Poetry:

The Sun and Her Flowers, Rupi Kaur

You can read more about The Sun and Her Flowers on Goodreads

Runner Up: Depression and Other Magic Tricks, Sabrina Benaim

Buy The Sun and Her Flowers on Amazon

Buy Depression and Other Magic Tricks on Amazon


Best Debut Goodreads Author:

Hate U Give.jpgThe Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

You can read more about The Hate U Give on Goodreads

Runner Up: Caraval, Stephanie Garber

Buy The Hate U Give on Amazon

Buy Caraval on Amazon


Best Young Adult Fiction:

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

Runner Up: Turtles All the Way Down, John Green

You can read more about Turtles All The Way Down on Goodreads

Buy Turtles All The Way Down on Amazon

*As Angie Thomas’, The Hate U Give, won two of the reader’s choice categories (congrats Angie!), information given here is listed for the runner up novel


Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction:

A Court of Wings and Ruin, Sarah J. Maas

You can read more about A Court of Wings and Ruin on Goodreads

Runner Up: Lord of Shadows, Cassandra Clare

Buy A Court of Wings and Ruin on Amazon

Buy Lord of Shadows on Amazon


Best Middle Grade & Children’s:

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Rick Riordan

You can read more about Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard on Goodreads

Runner Up: The Trials of Apollo, Rick Riordan

Buy Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard on Amazon

Buy The Trials of Apollo on Amazon


We're All WondersBest Picture Books:

We’re All Wonders, R.J. Palacio

You can read more about We’re All Wonders on Goodreads

Runner Up: Malala’s Magic Pencil, Malala Yousafzai

Buy We’re All Wonders on Amazon

Buy Malala’s Magic Pencil on Amazon


Congratulations to all the winners, runners up, and everyone who had a book featured in the Goodreads Readers Choice Contest for 2017!

All the pictures included in this post came from Goodreads. Make sure you check out the books on this list and if you’ve read any of them let me know what ones you think are worth the read!

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Names of the Week

Alessandra

Female
Alternate Spelling: Alexandra (Alessandra is the Italian and Spanish Version)
Nickname: Alex, Ales (Pronounced Alice), Ally/Allie
Pronunciation: Ah-Leh-Sahn-Dra
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Defender of Mankind
Well-Known Alessandras: Alessandra Cullen (The Devil’s Advocate), Alessandra Ambrosio (Model), Alessandra Torresani (Actress), Alessandra De Rossi (Actress)

 

Elena

Female
Alternate Spelling: Alena, Eleena, Eleana
Nickname: El; Lena
Pronunciation: Ee-Lay-Na
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Shining Light
Well-Known Elenas: Elena Gilbert (The Vampire Diaries, L.J. Smith); Elena Lincoln (Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James); Elena “Helene” Vasilyevna Kuragina (War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy); Elena Galathynius Havilliard (Throne of Glass Series, Sarah J. Maas); Elena Jane “Ellie” Goulding (Singer)

 

Horatio

Male
Alternate Spelling: Horacio
Nickname: Ray
Pronunciation: Huh-Ray-Shee-Oh
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Man of Time
Well-Known Horatios: Horatio (Hamlet, Shakespeare); Horatio Hornblower (Hornblower, C.S. Forester), Horatio Caine (CSI: Miami); Horatio Alger (Novelist)

 

Sienna

Female
Alternate Spelling: N/A
Nickname: None that I am aware of
Pronunciation: See-En-Ah
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Reddish Brown
Well-Known Siennas: Sienna Martin (The Lifeboat Clique, Kathy Parks); Sienna Blake (Hollyoaks); Sienna Rosa Diana Miller (Actress and Model); Sienna Tiggy Guillory (Actress)

 

Enzo

Male
Alternate Spelling: Enzio
Nickname: N/A
Pronunciation: N-zoh
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Short Form of Lorenzo
Well-Known Enzos: Enzo Valenciano (The Young Elites, Marie Lu); Enzo (The Vampire Diaries); Enzo Knol (Dutch Youtuber); Enzo Anselmo Ferrari (Founder of Ferrari)

Francesca

Female
Alternate Spelling: Franncesca; Fransesca
Nickname: Frankie, Frannie
Pronunciation: Fran-Ches-kah
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Free
Well-Known Francescas: Francesca (Torment, Lauren Kate); Francesca Altifiorla (Kept in the Dark, Anthony Trollope); Francesca “Franky” Fitzgerald (Skins UK); Francesca Isabella Simon (Author); Francesca Gregorini (Writer/Director)

Isabella

Female
Alternate Spelling: Izabella; Isabela
Nickname: Bella; Issy; Isa
Pronunciation: Iz-ah-bell-ah
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Devoted to God
Well-Known Isabellas: Isabella “Bella” Swan, a fictional character in Stephenie Meyer’s, Twilight, series; Isabella Knightly (Emma, Jane Austen); Isabella Thorpe (Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen); Isabella Linton (Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte); Isabella (Measure for Measure, Shakespeare)

Mara

Female
Alternate Spelling: Marra
Nickname: N/A
Pronunciation: Mar-ah
Origin: Italian
Meaning: Of the Sea; Bitter
Well-Known Maras: Mara Jade Skywalker (Star Wars Extended Universe); Mara (Clockwork Forest, Doug Macleod); Mara Amrita Dyer (Mara Dyer Trilogy, Michelle Hodkins); Mara Carlyle (Spontaneous, Aaron Starmer); Mara Wilson (Actress and Author); Mara Liasson (Journalist)

 

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World Building: Deciding the Type of World

There are tons of blog posts out there that talk about world building. There are entire books that discuss the different aspects put into creating your own fictional world and all the intricacies of it.
So naturally, because it’s been done so many time before, I decided to add to the madness and give you my thoughts on world building in this new series of posts.

World Building is still a process I’m figuring out for myself so I thought through these posts I could share with you what I’ve learning about the different elements of creating your own fictional universe.

The first and most basic step is deciding on what type of world you’re going to have.

Is it a dystopian world? Utopian? Conformist or evolutionary? Medieval or fantasy?

This is the most basic thing you need to determine because the type of world you’re creating will literally affect every single thing you write and decide for your story.

If you’ve got a dystopian society, the world you create isn’t going to be bright and colourful. It won’t be full of rainbows and people won’t be skipping down the streets. It’ll be dark and gritty and you’ll use a thesaurus to find every variation of the words “dark” and “gritty” to describe the setting.

On the flip side, if the world you create is a utopia then there probably will be rainbows and skipping involved. Your characters will probably be happy with their lives and things will seem good.

Now obviously neither of those descriptions are set in stone and there is always the possibility of a light at the end of the dystopian tunnel or of a dark underworld side in your utopia. But you get the general idea.

Choosing the type of world is just the first step in world building. It’s the first layer of a very elaborate cake. It’s the base for many different things that will happen in your story and happen to your characters.

The world you build does not have to fit exactly in to description box of the world you choose. But you can’t choose to have a totally normal story and then, five pages before the end, a dragon suddenly appears and eats everyone.

I mean, sure, that would be really cool, but it’s not really plausible when the rest of your story was set in a normal, average, every day town where, previous to those last five pages, there were no dragons.

And if you do choose to do that, you better have a really cool sequel lined up and ready to go.

Now, as I said before, this is only the first step. There are so many other aspects to world building that turn it from an idea into an actual thing. The people, the history, all the stuff that doesn’t necessarily make it into your book, but is still so important to your story.

In the coming months I will be talking about world building and the various things that go into it.

If there is anything you would like talked about or anything you would like to add let me know down below!

And let me know: is there a type of world you prefer writing over others? Do you prefer a fantasy universe? A dystopian world? The possibilities are endless and I want to know what you think!

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