World Building

To Create a World: Part 2: The History

8:00 AM


(This is the second post in a series I started last week. You can read the first post here.)
 

So you have your map.


Now what?


Creativity, being what it is, is quite a crazy, messy thing. There are three other points that I will address: Wildlife, History, and People (I might do more, but these are the three I have planned so far). All three of these seem to happen in a jumble during the creation process. After much indecision, however, I think I will address History next.

So.

Part #2: The History

 

History. Why is it important?


These next two posts will help shape the last one (which is on people) so keep that in mind. History is important because it shapes who your people are as the story is taking place. Your book could start after a long war between two countries that our now at an uneasy alliance. Maybe your main character’s great great grandfather was the king who the people rebelled against, and he is still suffering for his ancestor’s actions.


 Whatever it is, the history of your world will likely influence the ‘now’ of your world. So it’s important to figure out the crucial details of how your world came to be, and what all has happened since that time.

 
 

Step #1: The Origin Story


How was your world created? How was it born? Can you get to it from Earth? Or is it in an alternate universe, where Earth doesn’t even exist?


I always like to know how my story world exists in relation to Earth. Earth just needs to fit somewhere in my mind. It bothers me if the world exists without an origin story. It’s okay, of course, if yours does. It’s possible that my readers will never know the origin story of my WIP’s story world anyway, but it helps me as a writer to know.


NOTE: There are a lot of things you will know, but the reader won’t, necessarily (this applies to all parts of world building) . Say when people first landed on your world, there was no source of clean water and the settlers had to set out giant leaves to collect rainwater and ration it out. Your reader probably won’t need to know that, unless it effects the ‘now’ of your world.


So whether you have a solid origin story or not is really up to you. You don’t have to get real extensive on your world’s history (unless it’s important to your story).


Coming up with an origin story is really not as scary as it sounds, or as difficult. I’m going to come up with one for my story world now. What’s the name, again?


Right. Khamir. (That’s not the name of the story world, just the name of one of the three provinces, but it’s the most important since it takes up most of the map so I’m going to use it.)


Khamir. Let's see. What I might do is go look up Chinese legends or history (since I am using China as inspiration for this story world). See if a large group of people (maybe a boat?) went missing. Or maybe I don’t need a large group. Maybe during a war, a small group of families, desperate to escape, fled the country. But something happened – something went wrong – and they were forced to flee to the mountains instead. There, deep in the heart of the Himalayas, they found it. A portal. And the three or four families were sucked inside, brought to a new land free from the pain of war …


BOOM. Origin story is born: YAY! Now, I don’t know how the portal got in the mountains or who created it or why, but that will come in time (and sometimes I don’t even need to answer these details. They just aren’t important enough).


Which leads to …


 

Step #2: The Timeline


I’m not a big fan of timelines. I can only stand so much order (I’m an ENFP, what can I say? I can only take so many lists). But they might help you. I tend to just keep a vague idea of what happened in my world’s past in the back of my mind to kind of help influence the culture and people and politics and geography and stuff.


Let's see. Say these four (I’m sticking to four now) Chinese families arrived in this new land. Frightened, hungry, and scared, struggling for survival, they began to build settlements. They might have found natives [who knows how they got there(maybe they stumbled upon the portal before these significant families)] and made peace with them.


But soon, the four families grew tired of each other. They began to fight. And then a fight so large grew, the group split up. Two families traveled east, to the land past Khamir. To the land called Chenpei.  And so, these families grew over time and built villages which grew to towns which grew to cities which grew to entire nations. Yet always, there has been a stiff relationship – a rivalry of unknown origin – between the two provinces. Tare, located smack between them, is home to a people unlike those of Khamir and Chenpei. A native people who know things others do not.


See? Just that bit of history is already influencing the ‘now’ of my story world.


NOTE: These things take time. I spent eight months building and planning the idea that would become my WIP. Eight months: from the time I got the idea to the moment I put down the words, “Chapter One.” Everything was simmering and building and becoming real in my mind. That doesn’t happen over night.

 


Step #3: What You Already Have

 

You might have a good idea of some things that happen in your story world’s past. Or maybe you don’t, but you have some odd cultural traditions that you need an explanation for.


See, while most of the history you build won’t make it to your readers in words, it will show through the story you tell. It will help your creativity. It will flesh out your world and make it seem more real.


It makes a difference.


So let the ideas of how your world came to be, what all has happened since that time and the ‘now’ of your world, and cultural values and historical events that you already have but need more information on simmer in the back of your mind. Start a list, if that helps you. Take lots of notes, or take none at all. Do what works for you and let your creativity flow. If you want your culture to be afraid of water, trace that back. What caused that to happen? What happened to their ancestors to create such a stir?
 
You can get history from culture, and you can get culture from history. Beautiful how that works, isn't it?
 
NOTE: A little can go a long way.

 

Do you have an origin story? What kind of major events happened in your world’s past that effect the ‘now?’ Do you have any odd cultural values that you want an explanation for? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


Be sure to pop in next week for part 3 on wildlife!

World Building

To Create a World: Part 1: The Map

8:00 AM


*small shrieking sound*

AKJDhsFLKJSDhFLSD

AKLJhdFHS

MAAAHA BELAHDSFJSD

Ehem. Sorry. Just had to get that out of my system.

I love world building. Now I will make you love world building.


Introduction:

Creating a world may be fun, but it is far from easy. There are many elements to creating a believable fictional setting, and many more to creating a good one. I'm not sure how many posts this series will include, but it is going to target the creation of a fictional world. This is aimed towards Fantasy writers, not Sci-Fi (although I might take on the challenge of creating a galaxy, I have never done so before and am thus inadequate to give advice on such a thing).

There are many steps to this creation process, but the first step (if you're starting from scratch) would be to make a map. If you already have done other work on your story world, that's fine. But I think it's easiest to start with a map (really, you can start pretty much anywhere) and I have to begin somewhere, so this first post will contain my map creation process.


Part 1: The Map

Making a map takes time. I usually draw up my outline and put down the major places on my map, then hang it on the wall near where I do most of my writing. I will gradually build on it as I write the book/series. The map for my WIP has only recently been mostly completed, and it took about seven/eight months to do so. So don't stress and try to do the whole thing right now! It's okay if your map is empty-ish for a while. It'll grow as the story does.

There are several steps to creating a wonderful map. I am by no means an expert, but I'd like to think that, of the things I'm good at, this is one. So I'll walk you through my process of making a map.

NOTE: I am going to be creating a new fictional world as I create this post series so you can see my process from scratch. I have no book idea to take place in this world. I am creating it just for fun you.


Step #1: The Outline


The outline used to be the hardest part for me, but it doesn't have to be. It can actually be really simple. This is what I do.

First, I pick a country on Earth. It can be a continent, an island, or even our whole world. But I pull up a map of it and study the outline. I'm going to be using China for the basis of my inspiration of this map.

Here is a screen shot from Google Maps that I will be referring to:


Thanks, Google!


NOTE: Do not let yourself be bound to the map. If you start to feel the creative juices flowing and want to add something that's not on the map you're referring to, DO IT. You want to make differences. You want your story world to be unique. This is just a guiding line. To see how land masses look around the edges.

See those islands? Beautiful. (I'll definitely stretch beyond China for this.) So grab a piece of paper and get to work. I usually do this without watching my hand. I stare at the map on the screen and go a bit longer in places and a bit rounder in others. I might add the shape of India to the top right of China rather than the bottom left. Get creative. Don't worry about making any mistakes. Not yet.

ANOTHER NOTE: I flipped this picture on its side while I made the outline. This is a good idea if you don't want anyone to have any idea you're using whatever country you're using as a reference.

Alright, now I've made my outline.

This is the bare outline. Nothing fancy ... yet.

It's a little hard to see, since I didn't draw it very hard and the scanner didn't pick it up that great. I edited the photo to make the lines really stand out, but even so, I drew lightly so I could tweak as much as I wanted. You might not be able to tell much about the outline, but I took some liberties with it. I also did this map in a way I've never done before. Normally, I make a map of the whole world. But on this map, the sea is to the left of it, but there is land beyond the map. So this only covers part of the world I am creating, which is okay. A lot of maps are like that. Go check out a book.

Now, this is completely barren and empty. It's just an outline, after all. Which leads to ...


Step #2: The Terrain

Land and ocean. Mountains and valleys. Rivers, lakes, streams. Hills and fields, forests and deserts. The different types of terrains are incredible. We have a lot to work with, and that's just using what kinds of terrain we already know. You can even invent a new type of terrain, if you want!

NOTE: Be sure to make a 'Legend' on your map so you can keep track of what symbols you're using for what.

As you create your terrain, this is prime time for culture ideas as well. I'm making a strait in my map, and straits have reefs. So this could be a popular tourist attraction. People could come far and wide to see this great reef. The islands around it could contain some of the largest cities in this world, heavily populated. I could go on and stretch out from there. The possibilities are endless.

Think about your book while you're doing this. Are your characters travelling a lot? Find out where they grew up. Find out where they go. What challenges do they face in their journey? What is the weather like? Do they have to cross frozen rivers or raging ones? Jungles or forests?

Alright, here's my map with some terrain to spice it up.


See, it has nice, pretty terrain now. YAY!


I'm not sure how well you can see this. I edited it quite a bit to try to bring out the changes. Hopefully you can see enough.

Okay, so I added some rivers, a couple of deserts, a big mountain range, some farm land ... Looking pretty good, huh?

Now for perhaps the trickiest part. Even harder than outlines. Harder than what terrain should go where.

*drum roll*


Step #3: Names

Yes. The dreaded task of naming each and every one of those rivers, mountain ranges, and deserts. Every city, all the islands ... UGH.

I will say, you do not have to name everything, but you do have to name a lot of it.

There are many ways to do this, and I do all of them so that I can get as much variety in naming as possible. You can just pull names off the top of your head. You can use a generator (I don't do this, but I know a lot of people do). Since I'm basing this world off China, I'm going to look up a list of places in China and tweak their names. For example, I could take the 'na' of China and put it in front to make 'Nachi.' There's a name. Not a very good one, granted, but it's a name, isn't it? I could tweak it a bit more. Na-Chai. That's more tolerable. I might stick it on a small city.

So, yeah, do this. The names of a lot of places don't matter that much, but the names you should focus on/put the most effort into are definitely the world, the kingdom or province that the bulk of your story takes place in, and the big, key cities in your book. Those are what readers will pay attention to. Those are what you have to use most. Make them sound good. Make them realistic. Make sure they're easy to say. Have someone read them to see if they are pronounceable. Of course, you want all your names to be like this, but especially the ones that will come up a lot.

I've got a common theme going among my names now. Tapti, Guan, Shanghou. Lung-Zhi, Na-Chai, Zhen-Shou. Then you don't need a generator. The names just kind of start coming (usually).

And now I've named my top three provinces: Khamir, Tare, and Chenpei. (I did come up with this really quickly, so don't blame me if the names are a little strange.) Now I shall show you scanned version with names. (Because I know you are absolutely dying to see.)


It has names now! YAY!

Ehem. This isn't my best map ever, but I'm kind of happy with it. (I have a story idea for it now, which will be really fun to write whenever I get to it. There are already several in line, so it'll have to wait a while.)

So there we have it! Of course, these are just the basic, general steps to making a map. Every map, just like every story and every writer, is different. As you write, you will figure out more about your story world and landmarks and big places and stuff and can add them to your masterpiece. But now you have the basic map to work with! Fun!


That was long. And it took forever. But I hoped it helped! Now go make a map. Don't worry about failing. If you fail (which is highly unlikely, given all my positively stunning advice) you can just toss it and try again. If you're not comfortable putting a picture in the comments, please email me and show me what you created! I'd love to see your work. :)

Next week I will post Part 2 of To Create a World on ... *drumroll* You'll find out. MWAHAHA! Can you guess what part 2 will be? Gold star if you can. XP

So drop by next Saturday. I hope this post was helpful! Did I forget anything? Do you have any other thoughts about map making? Please share in the comments!

Tags

I Have Been Tagged

1:00 PM


Cool, right? I mean, I just started a blog and BOOM CRASH POW I get tagged by three lovely writer peeps. I figured, what a better way to get Stan on his way in the Blogosphere? Fun fun and cool beans and mushy gushy happiness and flutter muffins. (That didn't make sense? Sorry. Oh well.)


Before I begin my Happy Tags of Life, I want to thank you all. Stan and I were not really expecting much of a response, but a lot of people commented nice and sweet things and warmed me right up and welcomed me into this new, crazy field. I am so thankful to you all and very encouraged. You guys are the best. <3


*NOTE: these are blogger taggy things, and you totally don't have to read, as they have nothing to do with writing (actually, they are about me, so they do have to do with writing a little bit, but they do not contain constructive advice on writing)


Now, for tag #1, which is from the lovely lovely beautiful writer bean Sierra Abrams (whose blog and website you should totally check out by the way). I'm not going to answer all the questions, but I will answer a few.



Name: Hannah Elizabeth White

Nickname: Ohhhhh boy. I have been dubbed many. Liz, Nena (nee-nuh), Han, Hanner, Hanpantrantan, Agent Porpoise, and (probably the most legendary, the nickname of all nicknames) ... Princess Ermenguard (yes, cousin dear, I am giving you a look).

First best friend: When I was little, everybody was my best friend. XP But some of my closest friends from birth include Mary Brook and my cousin (duh).

First award: I don't remember, honestly. One of my first awards was a plaque for scoring a 91 on a 100 question quiz (known as the Bible Bowl) which covered the text of 2nd Samuel. That was fun.

First sport: I played soccer for several years, and my dad was my coach and it was awesome. I also took tiQuanDo. That was fun. I don't remember anything though. I would benefit much more from it now. It would really help in writing those fight scenes ...

First real holiday: It probably wasn't my first real holiday, but the biggest one I remember was our trip to Florida. I still remember seeing the beach from the first time and just staring in awe, digging my toes into the sand and trying to see beyond the horizon (it was also the summer I started writing, and my cousin and I sat on the deck of our beach house everyday and brainstormed stuff for our books together).

Favorite film: Oh boy. Pride and Prejudice (the short version), Inside Out, Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, and Into the Woods (the Broadway play, NOT the movie) are some of my favorites.

Favorite TV show: Criminal Minds (REID FOR LIFE) and BBC Merlin (*sob*) tie on that one.

Favorite color: This one is so hard to explain. It can't be captured on paper or screen, because it's more a type of light than a color. It's this beautiful golden glow that happens twice everyday for about five minutes. Once at sunrise, once at sunset. It coats the trees and grass and slips through the windows and into all the corners of the house and lights everything up and it is beautiful. (That, and I also love blue.)

Favorite song: Oooooh. Um, how can I pick a favorite song? Probably What Do I Know of Holy by Addison Road and Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave. And some of my favorite artists are The Civil Wars, Josh Groban, and Ludovico Einaudi.

Favorite books: ALL OF THEM. *clears throat* But my favorites are The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood and Co.) by Jonathan Stroud, The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen (WHO I AM MEETING THIS SUMMER AHHHHHHAFSDFSDJHFALDKSLJHV), Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (ugh. There are so many mooorrrrre but I shall stop now).

Where you want to live: I would love to live anywhere, really. Cities are exciting. A quiet cabin in the mountains or woods would be lovely and beautiful. My heart longs to travel the world, so anywhere on the globe would excite me.

Do you believe in ...

God: Absolutely.

Miracles: Of course.

Love at first sight: Hahaaaaaaa nope. The world's view of love is so warped, so if you mean attraction, then, well, duh. Attraction is just skin deep. Love, true love, takes time and commitment.

Ghosts: Um ...

Aliens: UMMMM ...

Soul mates: Kind of. I think so. Yeah, probably. *nods slowly*

Heaven: Oh yes. Lord, take me.

Hell: Something I've struggled with for so long, but yes, I do. If you believe one, you have to believe the other.

Kissing on the first date: (initial thought: are you kidding me?) Um, no. Honestly, that would lower my opinion of the guy I was with (unless we'd known/liked each other for a long time already, then maybe) but if it was a new guy I didn't know that well...

Yourself: Is this a trick question? XP I believe in myself, because Jesus has saved me from my sins and made me a new, pure creature.




Well that was fun. I’m sure you really were dying to know all that stuff about me and now your life is complete.

Time for tag #2! (It’s much shorter, I promise.) This one was from the lovely, beautiful Kristana Aleman (whose blog you should also check out because it is amazing).

This is called a Happiness Tag, containing things that make me happy.  

Books: All books make me happy. So happy. I mentioned my favorites above, but some others are Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling, the Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale, Septimus Heap by Angie Sage, The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Myer, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin ... I can name so many others, but I’ll stop there for the sake of your sanity.

Films: Pride and Prejudice. Inception (which I just saw for the first time last Saturday and YOU MUST GO WATCH IT NOW.) How to Train Your Dragon. Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. The Princess Bride. Inside Out. Rise of the Guardians.

Words: Aesthetic. Quiddity. Scripturient. Sobremesa. Beauty. Wanderlust. Life. Faith. Hope. Love.

Scents: Freshly ground and brewed coffee. Tea. Peppermints. Chocolate. The salty ocean breeze. Warm, orange-zesty Christmas cookies baking. Rose candles. Vanilla. Coffee shops. New books. Old books. My nana's perfume.

Songs: Demons by Imagine Dragons. The One that Got Away and Kingdom Come by Civil Wars. Run to You by David Wesley (Pentatonix does a good cover, too), Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift and Civil Wars. Junischnee by Dirk Maassen. Light in the Hallway, New Years Day, On My Way Home, and Royals, all by Pentatonix. (Plus the ones mentioned in previous tag.)

Random: Camping trips with the family. Sleepovers with lots of late nights and giggles and card games and warm fires. Cookies. Coffee. Books. Family. Friends. Laughter. Cello music. Piano music. Faces. Smiles. Quiet solo car rides. Sitting in a coffee shop or bookstore and watching people go about their lives and listening to the sounds of life.


This tag made me warm and fuzzy by just writing it. XP

Last tag! This was from lovely beautiful Caroline Meek (LOOK AT HER BEAUTIFUL BLOG, PLEASE), who is my clone.

Here is her picture tag thing-a-ma-jig.


These are the rules given in her post:

1. Grab the graphic above
2. Stick it in a post about your thoughts: thought process, deep thoughts, trains of thought, imaginary worlds...(don't forget to include a copy of these rules).  You can personify your Brain, have a conversation with it...the possibilities are endless.
3.Then tag other friends to do the same and thank the person who tagged you!


Thank you, dearest Caroline. I shall have fun with this.


And here is my response:


My thought process? Ha. Are you sure you want to know?

...

Well, you asked for it (actually, you didn't. Caroline did. So you can flee now, if you want. While you still have the chance).

I ... can be inspired by just about anything. Often I will get an idea from something someone says. Which makes me think of ... okay, STORY TIME: I am one of seven, as I have said before, and we have this thing on our stairs so that, if we drop something, it falls through and comes out at the bottom. I was walking up the stairs with my mom and she dropped something and said, "Ooops. There it goes down the shoot."

At the time, I had just gotten the idea for The Thief's Conspiracy, my WIP (which you can read a blurb for here) and my creativity was going crazy. So when my mother said that, my brain exploded (thankfully not literally, but you know what I mean). It jumpstarted the culture of not only the kingdom my story takes place in, but the culture and history of my entire story world. Just those simple words and I was off like a rocket to my journal. I filled over five pages that day (and I mean filled) with ideas and notes on culture and the structure of the society and history and everything.

That is one of my favorite inspiration episodes. But wait, you asked for my thought process, didn't you? Not what inspires me?

I suppose this goes to show my thought process better than I could tell you. I like to bound down rabbit trails and I tend to lose my original train of thought quite easily. I can go from wondering how a hair got in my food to thinking about how you would break out of a prison cell with a twig and a bobby pin.

My thoughts are all over the place, but there is a beautiful messiness to them. I love capturing what I can of them in my notebooks (Notebooks are my faaaavorite).

And ... well, I could go on. Because, you know, that's how my thought process works. But I think I'll stop here. XP



Big thanks to Sierra, Kristana, and Caroline for tagging me and making me feel even more welcome in the blogging world! And thanks to anyone else who read this whole thing. You now know way more about me than you probably wanted to.

I now tag Katie and Olivia to join the fun. You can do one, two, all, or none of them. :) And Carlyn I think you should do the happiness tag to bring you some happiness (I know you've already done the other two, so I won't make you do them again ;P ). If I didn't tag you but you'd like to participate, please do so. Have fun guys!

What brings you happiness? How does your thought process go? If you don't want to write a whole post, please share in the comments!

Drop in again on Saturday for a post that will actually be useful to you (hopefully).


Writing

What I've Learned from Five Years of Writing

12:12 PM


(I know this is early, but I will not be home on Friday, or Saturday, so a Thursday post will have to do. Get over it.)

Wow. Five years? Yeesh. It feels like yesterday. I still remember it crystal clear, too. I was sweeping the floor and going on a rant to my big sister about how I wished J. K. Rowling would write a book about blah blah blah, and I'm not sure how long I'd been talking and I'm pretty sure my sister spoke more in an effort to get me to shut up rather than to jump start a journey that would change my life (I don't think she even remembers this conversation. I sure do).

She turned to me, rolling her eyes and saying, "Why don't you just write the book?"

Me? Write ... a book? 

Honestly, the thought had never occurred to me before. Somehow, my little eleven year old brain hadn't grasped the concept that authors are humans, just like me, and that if I put my mind to it, I could write a book just like them.

So I ran to get my math book and tore out one of the empty sheets and got to work writing. (Things weren't really quite that simple, but I will have to post about this later. I'll just say for now that I wouldn't have gotten past page three if not for my wonderful cousin.)

I finished the book I started that day (well, I didn’t finish it. I finished two and 2/3 drafts of it, but it is by no means ‘finished’) as well as the sequel to it, a massive beast I wrote with my cousin, and the first draft of another book, which I am editing right now. All in all, I have written (the first drafts of) four different books.

In the course of writing these books, I've learned a lot. I've probably learned a lot more than I can sum up here, so I will boil it down to a few principles for you to ponder.

So here you go (I have a pretty picture from Pinterest and everything, look at that). Here are some things I have learned from writing. 


#1: You have to write.

*gasp* Really, Hannah? 

Really.

You can read a billion blog posts. You can go and make yourself bankrupt buying craft books. But there are so many things that you cannot learn by reading. Those things you must learn by writing.

When I first started writing, everything was terrible. 

(I'm not being modest. It really was terrible.) 

But it was necessary. I had to write a couple of really bad books in order to figure how to do things. In order to figure out how I worked, how I wrote, what my style was. 

My voice. I had to find my voice.

Have you ever seen a blog post titled along the lines of, “Want to write? Here are seven easy steps that will help you become a writer! Yay!”

NOOOOOOOO. Please no. Don’t fall for that. If you put the pen to a paper, you are a writer. Simple as that. (Well, you could also type, or put a pencil to paper, but you get the point.) No one can tell you how to be a writer. They can tell you how to become a better writer. But if you put words on a page, you are a writer.

Don’t be afraid to start writing. There’s nothing you have to learn beforehand, no ‘secret’ to becoming a writer. You just have to write.


#2: There are more reasons for writing a book than getting it published.

Did you get that? Read it again. Think about it.

This was a really hard lesson for me. One I didn't learn until four or five months ago.

You know that book I started at age eleven? Well. I worked on it for four years.

That's right. 

Four. Stinkin'. Years.

I poured every ounce of my creativity into that book series. I had nine books planned. I'd written the first two by hand, and typed them up on the computer. I'd already gotten through a good chunk of book three.

But ...

Four or five months ago, I hit a rut. I had known deep down for a while that something was wrong. I texted my cousin about it, and she told me this. (Yes, I know cousin dear. It’s only my second post and I’m already quoting you.)

“It depends on whether you think publishing is the ultimate goal a book or series can accomplish.”

Wow. I was so focused on the thought of publishing my books. I forgot why I was writing them in the first place.

I didn’t write them for the world. I wrote them for me. I wrote them to discover what my style was. I wrote them to find my voice. 

And they just weren't meant to be shared. 

Maybe someday, after I’ve published a few books, I might pull it out again and try to make it into something fresh and new, but for now, I needed to put it up. So I did.


#3: It is okay if you do not have a theme.

When I first started writing, I wrote for the story. For the exciting plot. For the action, the adventure. And then people were blogging about why they wrote. Most of them said something along the lines of, “I write because I have something to say and I want to share it.”

I kind of scratched my head at that. What does that mean, anyway? Elven/twelve year old me was a little confused. I just wanted to write a good story. I didn’t really have much to tell the world by way of theme.

Lately, I’ve started to understand exactly what theme is. I realized my first books did have theme.  All stories have themes. So I guess a better way to put this point would be, “It is okay if you do not know your theme.”

In fact, that’s probably a good thing. It means the story is speaking for itself. It means you’re not forcing your ideas and beliefs upon anyone. You’re just letting your story speak for itself.

So don’t stress. If you don’t know what your theme is, that is perfectly okay.


#4: Make writer friends.

This is one of the most important points. I probably would not still be writing if I hadn’t got my cousin to do it to, and I doubt I would have finished that first book if I hadn’t had her to mail all the chapters to. 

Writer friends are priceless. They understand like no one else does, and they can help you in ways that no one else can. GTW Facebook group (and even the actual blog) are great ways to make writer friends. GTW people are AMAZINGGGGGG. Just saying. *hugs alllllll the people* 

This is getting long so I’ll just give you one more point and be done. ;) 


#5: Find your forte and relish it.

This might seem like a weird point, but it is just so true. Find you favorite part of writing. Your strongest part. Find it, and enjoy it. Go all out. When you’ve got writers block, turn to that so that you don’t have to actually write, but can still be working on your WIP.

I love world building. Like, I really /love/ world building. A lot. I make maps and create cultures and write histories and legends and build governments and figure out politics and allllll that fun stuff. It is my absolute favorite part of writing. (I’m going to do a series of posts soon on world building, just so you know.)

When I don’t want to write, I’ll allow myself to go and add to my map. Or to flesh out the culture of a neighboring kingdom. Or something fun, before I make myself buckle down and write. 

Do you love characters? Write interviews. Do you love plot? Brainstorm a new twist, even if you might never use it. Find what you love most about writing, and have extra fun with it!


Well, this is long. Sorry not sorry. Congrats if you’ve read all the way through! I could keep going on, but this is kind of the point of the blog. To share what I know with you lovely people. So I will go on. In time. 

*NOTE: Stan dearest has been tagged in several bloggerly blogger thingy things, so we will post responses to those on Wednesday! 

How long have you been writing? What have you learned? Share in the comments!


I Have a Blog (His Name is Stan)

7:16 PM

Yes. I am shocked too. I actually have a blog.

First off, I want to thank Katie Grace over at http://awritersfaith.blogspot.com for being AMAZING and helping me out so much as I struggled to figure everything out. Setting this up was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and I have a newfound respect for all you bloggers.

But yes. I have a blog. His name is Stan. (Don’t ask me why. I have no idea.)

Stan is very new to the world. He is small and weak and doesn’t know very many people yet. People may like him, and people may not, but he asks (no, pleads with you) to be nice and lenient towards him as he struggles to find his way in this big (slightly scary) new world. If you comment, please be nice and considerate, if not for his sake, than for the sake of any other readers. Stan and I want everyone to feel welcome here, so bad language and other rude, unkind comments will be eliminated.

Stan is small, yes, but he will get bigger with time. Stan will be full of many different topics, but mostly things about writing, books, and occasionally a theological post. (No guys, he won’t preach at you, but he will probably post every now and then about my spiritual walk and little thoughts about God.) Stan might post about other things (like coffee and traveling) but I will try to make sure he stays on topic.

Stan is small, so he’s going to start small too. He will try to post every Saturday at noon. For now, that’s his goal. As he gets older and figures out more things, he might post more, but this is what he’s going to try first. We both agree that keeping a consistent posting schedule is important, so we will do our best to stick to it. (However, I am a homeschooled sophomore, and one of seven children, so if I do not post I am likely cleaning up some big mess in the living room, cooking dinner, or helping with my younger siblings.)

Stan is very excited to begin this new journey with you all, and we both hope that you will enjoy it here. I'll make my first writing related post next week, so be sure to drop by and see if I actually have anything helpful to say. ;P



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