Writing Weekend #9

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We haven’t don’t this for a while! So let’s try a writing prompt for a change. Get those creative juices going again.

Your prompt is simple.

Scenario: your character is waiting in line at a grocery store and it has been a long one. He or she is the next person in line. The cashier has finished scanning the other person’s items when….she pulls out a stack of coupons. Yep, she’s an extreme couponer.

So what does your character do in the face of a longer than expected wait? Roll her eyes and sigh? Pull out his phone and text? Does she say something? What is your character thinking? Is he understanding? After all, everyone wants to save some money in these hard times.

You might be surprised at what you discover. If you want, link your writing back to my blog and leave a comment. Happy writing!

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Writing Weekend #8

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By now, you have learned the basics of world-building. For your weekend writing challenge, re-read some of the questions I’ve asked in the previous posts (Setting, Rules, HistoryInhabitants). If you haven’t answered them yet, do so now. If you have, combine those answers to start building a world for your story. Push yourself to discover new things and create a lush world full of details. Readers will be wowed by the thought and research you’ve put into it!

World-Building 101: Inhabitants (Bonus Writing Weekend #7)

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Terribly sorry that this post didn’t go up yesterday. I literally had no downtime to write it, so here it is one day late:

For the previous world-building posts, click these links:

Setting
Rules
History

After talking about the basis for your story’s world, I’m going to talk about inhabitants. These are the people that live in your world. Depending on your story, you might already know a lot about them.

Stories set in the real world or worlds similar to ours have inhabitants ready-made for your story. All you have to do is watch people around you, study their language, watch how they behave, etc. This is also appropriate to do if your story is set in the real world, but some characters have superpowers or magic. It may be important for them to try to blend in.

Stories set in previous time periods require research, as said before. You’ll want to know how those people talked, how they dressed, how they behaved, how they got around. If your story is about a real witch during the Salem witch trials, you’ll need to research those so your reader (who may already be very knowledgeable about the subject) will be engrossed in your story. Going into a book like that, readers want to know that you did your research. They don’t want to know more than you because they don’t want to see historical errors.

The amount of research needed for historical stories is similar to the amount needed for stories set in different cultures. Unless you’ve lived there, you probably won’t know all the nuances of Japanese culture despite how much Anime you watch.

If you’re creating a world completely from scratch, your inhabitants can be whoever you want them to be. They can have magic or superpowers or be like normal people. But even though you have more free reign, looking at the people around you and studying their behavior will still benefit your book. What is it that make your people happy? Sad? Stressed? And then how to they show these emotions? People are people, regardless of where they live, and readers want see believable emotions.

Bonus: Writing Weekend #7

For the previous writing weekend challenges, check out these links:

Setting
Rules
History

Here are your questions to help you think about the inhabitants of your story:

1. What type of people are they? Mythical? Magical? Real-world? Some combination?

2. What is their main method of transportation? Walking? Driving? Flying?

3. How do they get their food? Do they have to hunt for it? Do they buy it?

4. What do they eat?

5. How do they make a living?

6. What language do they speak?

7. What are their customs like (regarding visiting friends/family, eating, holidays, etc.)?

8. What is their religion, if any?

9. How do they react to their form of government? Are they satisfied? Rebellious? How do they express this?

10. Do the children go to school or are they taught useful tasks by parents/mentors to prepare them for life on their own?

Thanks for following my world-building posts. I hope they have been helpful. Come back next week for a bonus post on world-building!

Writing Weekend #6

Last weekend’s writing challenge was about rules. The week before that dealt with setting.

Your writing challenge for the weekend is about the history of your story’s world. It’s relatively straightforward. You can freehand some information about it, or use these questions as a springboard for more ideas:

1. How did this world come to be?

2. Where is it located?

3. What language do the people speak?

4. What is the form of government? How did it come to be?

5. What is the class-system like?

6. What wars have been fought? How have these shaped the world? Were they civil wars or wars fought with other countries? Did they win or lose?

7. Are there historical landmarks? What kind are they?

8. What kind of laws and punishments are there?

9. Is it a prosperous country or a poor country?

10. What kind of currency is there?

I hope these questions help you in thinking about the history of your story’s world. Join me next week for my post about the people of your world!

Writing Weekend #5

Last week, your writing challenge involved determining your setting. If you haven’t seen it, go check it out. This week, it’s all about the rules. Here are some questions to help you in setting the rules:

1. Is this story based in the real world or in a fictional world?

2. Is magic allowed? If so, what is its limitations?

3. Are there mythical creatures? Are they friendly or do people have to fight them?

4. What happens if someone dies? Do they come back as ghosts? Is there an afterlife?

5. What rules does your setting imply for your story? (If you need a refresher on that, click here)

6. Do the people there have super powers or is that a select few? If it’s only a few, what about them makes them have the powers? Is it hereditary? Is there another element that gave them the power (Spiderman getting bit by the spider)?

7. What are the characters strengths/weaknesses?

8. If there is magic/super powers in your story, how does that effect the normal characters (if any)?

9. If a law is broken, what are the consequences for characters (normal and magical/with super powers)?

10. Does you character have to have something to keep their magic/powers strong? Do they have to “refuel” (think Green Lantern with his ring)?

There are a few questions to get you started thinking about the rules of your story. You don’t have to have a million to get started, but the basics are a good place to start.

Writing Weekend #4

Yesterday, I wrote about world-building. If you didn’t get the chance to read it, check it out here. Now that you’ve read up on setting, it’s time to put your knowledge to work. For you’re writing weekend, I’m going to give you some questions to get you started thinking about the setting in your story. Use them as a starting point or to add on to something you already wrote. 1. Where is this place located? Mountains, ocean, flat land, etc.? Is it real? Is it fictional? Is it based on a real place? 2. What is the climate like? 3. Is it a big city, small town, or rural area? 4. Describe the architecture. 5. What do people eat there? 6. What language is spoken? 7. What kind of technology is available? 8. What time period is it set in? Past, present, or future? 9. How many people live there? 10. How do people get from one place to another? Hopefully, these questions get you thinking about your setting and lead to even more ideas. If they helped, let me know in a comment and drop by next week for my next world-building session!

Writing Weekend #3

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So much can be said about a person by their hands. Calluses means he or she works with their hands. A ring can mean that the person is married depending on which finger it is worn on. The color of the skin can be an indicator of ethnicity.

Your assignment, if you haven’t already guessed it, is to describe your character’s hands. Don’t describe the person in any way. Use their hands as a way to discover him or her. Are their hands soft or callused? Do they have dirt under they’re nails or are they manicured? Is their skin soft and smooth or rough and dry? What jewelry are they wearing? Are they big or small?

If you take this challenge, link back to my blog and post a comment telling me you did it. I’m looking forward to reading it. Happy writing!