Another review from SFF Reviews.
I cannot express just how much I love this story. It has magic, and children, and growing up, and fireflies, and magic. Sarah Krenicki takes us for a short trip into a world where children gain magic on their seventh birthday, and lose it the day after they turn eight. It’s a rite of passage all kids go through to become “big kids.”
All kids except for little Katy. She turns seven, gets her magic…and never loses it, even when she turns eight, then ten and twelve. In this, Katy is almost a Peter Pan figure, with her older sister (or so I assume) playing the part of Hook. Or perhaps it would be better to say that Katy is Peter, her magic is Wendy, and her sister is the jealous…
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Have you ever wanted to like a story so much that it was almost painful when you couldn’t? I recently joined a group of reviewers, and while looking through the magazine I would be reviewing, I kindasortamaybe fell in love with it. Most of the stories are amazing, and are a genuine joy to read, so I decided to go all the way back to the beginning of the issues and start reading there.
Boy, am I glad I didn’t do that at the beginning. The first work, a short story titled “The Alabaster Man” by Jennifer Todhunter is…well, it’s okay. I liked the idea. It was actually similar to something a friend of mine had written before, but I just couldn’t enjoy Jennifer’s take on it. It didn’t strike my fancy, I guess you could say. Maybe it was all the “and he was like”, “and I was like” but I found it almost annoying to read. It definitely was not a story I will be reading again.
Feel free to check it out yourselves here. These things are always a matter of taste. Maybe your literary palate will enjoy it more than mine did.
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.
- 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…
- 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.
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…
- Get ORGANIZED.
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:
- 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:
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:
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.
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)
- Also consider reinforcements.
- 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.
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.
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 […]
Thank you, Facebook memories for this gem.
A deleted scene from Etlan – Book 1: Storm Warning.
A stuffed animal hit the back of her head. “What the-?” She turned and stared incredulously at Kerry. “You’re supposed to be helping me figure this crap out, not using me for target practice! What the hell kind of friend are you?” She ducked as a purple rabbit flew by.
“The kind that isn’t gonna sit here and listen to you whine.” Kerry held up a green teddy bear. “And has a fully stocked arsenal of plush projectiles.” She grinned. “So…go grab a notebook and start writing, or does Good Luck Bear need to get up close and personal with your face?”
Various Gods and Goddesses have walked the Earth since the beginning of time, helping to shape the future of mankind under the direction of the First God. Then the First is called away to settle a problem on the other side of the universe. When They return in their latest incarnation – a woman going by the name of Tamara – she finds that things on Earth have changed – and not for the better.
Now Trust is dying, Love is growing weaker every day, and it’s up to Tamara to find out why before it’s too late.
On top of that, a couple new Gods have popped up. While this isn’t usually a problem, these two threaten Tamara’s authority with their growing strength, and one of them doesn’t share Tamara’s “live and let live” philosophy.
The other…well, let’s just say, that one presents a different problem.
Well, let’s see here. In the past couple days, I’ve:
- Set up a new writing nook for myself (I had no writing place set aside where I live, and being on my computer provides way too many distractions).
- Started a new story (wtf, why am I writing about zombies?!).
- Got a crap load of work done on chapter 3 of When Love Dies.
I think it might actually be time to take a little break. Probably won’t happen. I’m a little too excited about having a writing space set up, but it’s a thought.
Sorry guys! Got caught up working on chapter 3 and lost track of time. Here is part 2!
“I’ve gone over every paper the hospital sent home with me, wikipedia, the Mayo Clinic website and every other site I could find. None of them know for sure what causes leukemia,” Patience greeted me. “I even went to the hospital and talked with the doctors there, just to double check. We have nothing, My Lord.”
The update is mainly that the individual books are finally getting names – which is frankly ridiculous, since the sequel/spin-off book series already has names for all the books involved. I even have names for potential ‘When Love Dies’ sequels. My brain is weird, that’s all I can think.
In the meantime, here is the prologue for Etlan – Book 1: Storm Warning.