World building: Keep it together!

I’ve recently began helping a friend build a world for a novel she’s working on, and I figured I’d pass on my suggestions to other beginning world builders.

Please note: this isn’t about the building of the world, itself. That will come later. This is about making things easier on you, the Builder of Worlds, as you begin your path to nerdy (or so I’ve been told) glory. Think of it like a shopping list, if you will.

Before I get started though, I feel I should explain that I am OCD as hell when it comes to organizing, and it carries over to my world building, so by all means, tailor the following suggestions for your own needs.

  1. Get a binder.
    It doesn’t have to be fancy, but trust me, it will make your life a lot easier.

    Now, binders come in different sizes, and different…forms, I guess you could say. There are hard back binders and floppy plastic ones (you’ll see what I mean the minute you start looking at them). So you’ll need to think carefully about what kind of world you’re building, and what all you will need to go into the details of.

    For example, in my Etlan series, I have multiple houses, and some of those houses have other houses they’re responsible for. I also have certain skill based powers, and elemental powers. It has its own language that I’m having to create, including spells and texts. Then there’s the research I’ve done for all of the above. With all of that information, I needed to get a good sized binder. The one I’m currently using for Etlan is 2 or 3 inches, and has a hard cover. It was more expensive than I preferred, but I splurged on it anyway because I needed one that was going to last.

    The one I have for “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies,” on the other hand, is only a 1 inch binder, and I think I got it at the dollar store. The reason for this is simple: not as much information needed. I have their supply list, the traits of the zombies, the timeline, and basic character profiles, and I still have plenty of room left over for any other details I might think of later. I’ll probably be able to use that single binder for all four works I have planned in the series, and then some, if I wanted.

    Think it out, plan it out.

    Which brings me to…

  2. Dividers (tabs) are your friend.
    Again, tailor this to your need. SN!tZ currently only needs four tabs, and that’s stretching it. Etlan, on the other hand, has over 30, and I’m not done organizing yet.

    tabs
    Seriously, this thing is a monster!

    I ended up having to make dividers of my own, because I wanted half-sized tabs and to have tabs at the top. Most of the dividers that come with tabs on top, have tabs that are just too big for what I need. If you aren’t picky, however, any old divider will do (I recommend taking advantage of “Back to School” sales).
    Get a bunch of the regular dividers and have fun with it. There are dividers that have write-on tabs – I do not recommend those. They start out fine, but if you make a mistake, you’re out of luck, unless you use pencil (which tends to smear), or keep white-out on hand. Personally, it’s just not worth it, especially when the cheapo dividers work just fine, and you can get them for about a dollar at Walmart or Amazon.

    There are also dividers that come with pockets. Those can be very useful as well, especially if you’re a person who jots down notes on anything you happen to have nearby. You can just slip them into the pocket in the right category, and there ya’ go. I would suggest copying the notes down onto an actual piece of paper and putting in the binder, but that is entirely up to you. You’ll end up paying a little bit more for the tabs with pockets, so consider your budget carefully before you go on a buying spree.

    A word of caution: Beware the Table of Contents!

    I know it’s tempting to make one, but unless you are 100% sure of the way you have everything organized, it is in your best interest to stay far –far- away from a Table of Contents. If you are not completely certain about the way you have the binder set up, or if there is even the slightest chance that you might add something/remove something do not make a Table of Contents. Everytime you add something or move something, etc., you will have to redo the ToC. It is time consuming and just not worth it. Wait until you’re done with that world (or at least the first book in that world), before you even think about making a ToC or an index.

    Use whatever dividers you decide on to…

  3. Get ORGANIZED.
    Seriously.

    This is one of the most important things when it comes to world building (besides the world itself). The more complex your world, the more you will need to make sure you have your stuff organized. One of the most aggravating things, as a reader, is when it’s like the author doesn’t remember the rules of their own world.

    If a certain race only has blue or green skin, do not introduce a being of that race that is, oh, I don’t know, yellow, without some kind of explanation (skin disease; mutation; crossbreed, etc.). You might think “Oh, no one will notice. They probably didn’t pay any attention to the different races.” To that, I say: ask a reader about the differences between a Tolkien elf and an elf from the Shannara Chronicles. Just warn me ahead of time, so I can pop me some popcorn. I would also suggest using the bathroom and clearing your schedule first. The bottom line is, a dedicated reader/fan will notice the differences.

    Now for my final bit of advice for this post:

  4. PLAN IT OUT.

    I know I’ve already said this a couple times, but I cannot emphasize this enough, and I am speaking from experience. I have reorganized my Etlan binder so many times, it’s ridiculous.

    Granted, that was because I started out with only one set of dividers, and had to work with what I had, but that is why I’m telling you now: get LOTS of dividers. You might end up not using them all, but it’s better to have them and not need them, than to have to reorganize the information a couple hundred times.

    The best thing to do, before you start buying anything, is to sit down, either with pen and paper or with a document and start outlining what you need to organize.
    Mine would look something like this:
    2017-08-05

    If you are creating a world (or planet) with different races and religions, you will also need to think about those. A sample of that outline might look something like this:

    2017-08-05 (1)
    A VERY simple outline.

    Use your outline to determine how many tabs you’ll need to buy. If the number is over 30 like mine, I would suggest making your own. If enough people are interested, I’ll post some instructions on how to do that.

    Try not to over organize. That was one of the mistakes I made in the beginning. Believe me, it is possible to go overboard with this stuff, and it’s a pain to fix. Keep it simple.

    Shopping list:

    I said at the beginning that this is a short of shopping list, and it kinda is. I already suggested binders and dividers, but here are a few more items you might want to see about picking up:

    • 3 hole punch
    • Notebook paper (if you like making notes by hand) 
    • Sheet protectors (if you prefer typing the notes and printing them out)

    If anyone else has their own tips and tricks for keeping information straight, feel free to let me know in the comments.

[Update] Everything is good so far!

For those who want the tl;dr version, please see the title. Everyone else, please continue reading.

Yesterday was the one month post-op check up. I won’t go into the long ass wait, because it really was a long ass wait (the neuro-specialist was called away for an emergency surgery), but the long of the short (so far) is that I am okay, and doing great so far.

There were a few concerns I had to ask him about though. I was told  that I may experience blurry vision for about a year. That’s all fine and good, but I expected it to mean that, when my eye opened up finally, that it would start off as blurry, and get better in time. Instead, one day, my vision will be fine, and the next, it isn’t. One minute, my vision is fine, and the next it isn’t. Hell, my vision has gone in and out about 3 times while I was typing this. I wouldn’t care so much, since I know it’s supposed to be temporary, but I have classes and work, and I need to be able to read for both of those. So yeah. it’s annoying.

The other issue I was worried about is because the eye they operated on is not tearing up the way it should. I went to watch “Wonder Woman” for my niece’s birthday, and during the sad scenes…only one eye cried. It was a very weird experience. It did it again when we went and watched Despicable Me 3 (though, fortunately, not as many sad scenes).

So I talked it over with the doctor, and he thinks it’s because of the gland they operated on. The lacrimal gland is the tear gland. He says that the gland creates a film of moisture over the eye that helps it to move easily within the orbit, and to see. According to the notes from the surgery, there wasn’t any damage to the gland, but it could be not working right yet because of the trauma around it. So, basically, the gland is either creating a thicker than usual film over the eye, or it’s not creating enough of a film. Either way, I have eye drops to try and help it out. We won’t know if it’s a permanent thing or not for a while.

Other than that, the doc says I’m healing great, and my next appointment will be in about three months.

Next update: holy world building, Batman! I’m in love *_*

Asking for help is a GOOD thing.

I am seriously using EVERY SINGLE TAG I use for this, because this is important. A cry for help should not EVER be ignored, and the person ASKING for help should never be made to feel like they are somehow LESS for NEEDING that help.

If you are shot, you go to a doctor. If you break an arm or a leg, you go to the doctor. You don’t feel ashamed for needing help THEN, why should you when the pain is INSIDE you? When it is a literally LIFE THREATENING injury/illness? And yes, people, it IS life threatening. Or do you think they were just playing with the noose around their neck? Or the bullet hole in their head? Or maybe the slit wrists and the mountain of fucking pills in their stomach.

SERIOUSLY PEOPLE.

Do you know WHY so many people don’t get the help they need? Because there are dickholes out there who are mocking them. Who dismiss the cries for help as a “phase” until the person finally gets to the point where they think “why bother?”

And then those same assholes have the nerve to say “I don’t understand…what happened?”

YOU happened, asshole. You and the rest of society who have pushed them down one too many times, without even a backwards glance, much less a helping hand to get them back on their feet.

Their blood is on YOUR hands. And don’t you EVER fucking forget it.

 

**Note: To those of you who actually reach out to those who need help, this is NOT directed at you. And please, never change that part of you. We need more people like you.**

First off… no one panic, I’m not suicidal. Yes, I get down and feel like wtf is the point at times. I hate having to work when I know life is short and I’m not happy at my job and I keep thinking.. no one cares. If I died tomorrow, there’d be some poor schmuck […]

via Suicide… 4 words: Listen, I need help! — Kawanee’s Korner

I made it!

Sorry for the lateness, everyone, but I. Am. Back!

So, went in for surgery on Wednesday morning. Got there at 8:30am like they told me to, and then I ended up waiting almost two hours before they even took me into the back. If I had known I’d be waiting that long, I would’ve brought a book or something, but ugh. Anyway. Got to my prep/recovery room, and they came in with the IV.

Yeah, I noped the fuck out again. I warned them, the doctor warned them, and the head anesthesiologist even had a note in there to sedate me first, but noooo. They didn’t want to do that. They ended up calling the doctor who would be overseeing my anesthesia, and he came in to talk to me. He said as long as I signed the paper saying that I understood that there was a higher risk with gas induction,  they would do it my way. I had my hands out for the paper before he even finished talking. Obviously he couldn’t just let me grab and sign, he was a good doctor, but dammit I tried.

Anyway, apparently part of why they prefer starting the IV first is because some people freak out when they get to the OR. They see all the tools and stuff and get scared. I told them “I’m a writer, and this -hopefully- the only time I will be in an operating room. I’m not going to freak out. If anything, you’re going to have to gas me just to get me to stop asking questions.”

They got a good laugh out of that, and then they wheeled me in. I tried to get them to speed up, but the one guy said he was too old to be running through the hospital, dammit.

Then it was go time. I just want to say this: I LOVED my anesthesiologists. I had asked them to wait until I was completely out before they started the IV. When they started the gas, I saw him step forward, and I put my hand up and said “Not yet.” around the mask thing.

Guys, he listened.

I was expecting to have to fight with them the whole time, but they worked with me. Seriously, if you ever find yourself having surgery at John Peter Smith in Fort Worth, Texas, and you’re nervous: ask for Dr. Davenport and Nurse Gwen. I don’t know if they only work with the eye surgeons or what, but they are amazing.

Obviously I don’t remember the surgery. I woke up because someone was telling me “time to wake up!” I do distinctly remember telling them “no.” They tried again, and I told them, again: “NO!” Then I started asking for Kristy (roommate/adopted sister). She came in, and got to witness me almost deck one of my doctors (in my defense: the doctor was prying open the eye they had just operated on, I mean…c’mon!). I got distracted from swinging at the doctor though, because when she pried open the eye, I realized I could see.

One of the risks of the surgery was the loss of vision, so I was distracted enough for her to finish torturing examining me.

I made one of the nurses nervous, supposedly. I told them I wanted the lump they removed. I believe my exact words were “I want to put it in a jar in my room and name it ‘Fred’.” The nurse tried telling Kristy “Oh, that’s just the drugs talking.” But Kristy corrected her. “No, this is normal. If it were the drugs, she would’ve came up with a more creative name.” Kristy said the nurse gave her a weird look and left very soon afterwards. (On a side note, I meant to name it “George” like in the old cartoons. “I will hug it and squeeze it and love it all to pieces!” but “Squishy” was also in my list of names.)

Getting home from surgery was the worst part. Both of my eyes were swollen shut, so I couldn’t see anything. Plus, anytime I stood up, I was nauseous. So there was a lot of laying down going on there. My mom arrived around 7pm that night, and I’m not even going to lie, I cried like a baby. I really really did not like being blind.

My “bad” eye (the one I’m mostly blind in) finally opened really late that night/early the next morning, so that helped. My niece was amazing while I was recovering though. She brought me drinks, helped bring me food. Took care of our cat, and the dog. Just…all of it. She was very helpful, and I am very proud of her.

My other eye didn’t open for about three or four days, so my “bad eye” was pulling some major double duty. I ended up with headaches from eye strain and too much light. The doctors only prescribed Tylenol 3, one pill every four hours, but it was just not cutting it, so I called a nurse and asked if I could take two instead. She was worried I would run out too soon (and I did), but ugh. It was worth it. By the time I did run out, it was time to go back and have the stitches removed.

The only thing I will say about the stitches is that it SUCKED. It felt like she was cutting ME instead of the wires/threads.

Now, about the tumor:

I FINALLY found the name of it. It was a pleomorphic adenoma of the lacrimal gland. It can be dangerous, but usually only if 1. The whole thing is not removed, and 2. If the capsule around it breaks. Both of those can lead to the tumor becoming malignant and very aggressive. Dr. Itani was able to fully remove the tumor, and it was in one piece (no breakage of the capsule). So as far as we are aware of at this moment: the tumor was benign.

I still have to be monitored for regrowth, because that is where the real danger begins, but other than that, I am safe and in the clear. My next appointment isn’t until August.

Both of my eyes are open now (my left eye is still a little swollen and bruised, but it’s open), and I am celebrating. Wednesday is my niece’s birthday, so we’re going to go watch Wonder Woman, and tomorrow…tomorrow, I update Zombies!

…and do a crap load of homework. *sigh*

No zombie update today.

So, there isn’t update on zombies today, but that’s because I have a different kind of update instead.

SURGERY!

Called the hospital today to make sure the surgery would still be happening on Wednesday. It took a while for her to get back to me, but YES. Finally. I find out what time they’ll be doing it tomorrow sometime between 3-6 PM.

Now, this also means that there will probably not be an update for S’N’TZ on this coming Monday either. It will depend on if my eye is still all swollen shut and everything.

Fingers crossed for me guys.  First time ever having surgery, not quite sure what to expect.