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.

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

Eye see what you did there…

Sorry for the lack of update yesterday. The past two days have been very busy for me.

So, went in for my appointment with the doctor on Wednesday to discuss the MRI results. That was fun. I got to harass Mr. Villian Voice, and watch a standoff between a patient and one of the nurses.

Apparently he thought he was there for surgery, but it was just a checkup. He made the mistake of getting beligerant with the head nurse. She shut him down quick. “I am the RN team leader here, and you need to speak to me with respect.”

He left in a huff, but that’s what you get for being pissy with a nurse.

Anyway, they called me in, we all looked at the MRI. I saw my brain on a screen and completely geeked out on the poor doctor. He was laughing at me, but I don’t care. I told him “it looks all wrinkly.”
him: No, it looks normal.
me: I’m pretty sure that’s the only time that word has ever been used to describe my brain.

Entertained the nurse who was trying to take a picture of my eye. The camera was on, but she wasn’t looking at me, so I started dancing around. She happened to look up at the screen, “are you playing with my camera?” Busted~ She walked by me about an hour later, just shaking her head. “Girl, you crazy.” That woman has no idea, rofl.

So, onto the tumor:

So far, everything looks somewhat good. The main doctor said that he think it’s either one certain kind of tumor, or another (there’s a bunch of different kinds).  One is really really bad, the other is somewhat okay. Because there is a distinct lack of pain, he believes the tumor to be the “okay” one.

That doesn’t mean that I am safe, but it’s still good news.

Surgery has been scheduled for Wednesday, but I won’t know what time until the day before. I’ve been told to expect the whole thing to take about 6 hours, but depending on how it goes, I might end up staying overnight. I’ve had to arrange for time off from work and school both, since I’ll be out of it on pain meds for the first couple days, and my eye will be swollen shut. It wouldn’t be so bad, but since I’m functionally blind in my right eye, and this surgery is being done on my left eye….yeah. Ugh.

I spent just about all day yesterday on the phone with school, financial aid services for the surgery (I was approved, yay!), and the hospital in general (all while doing homework assignments that were due THAT DAY. Fun times. Just….So. Much. Fun.). I had an appointment today for the pre-op anaesthetic testing. I thought there was going to be a bunch of tests, but it was just an interview.

My family should be heading out this way on Tuesday, so they’ll be here for the surgery. I guess they’re going to try and help out with the kids while I’m recovering. The manager at the gas station job told me that I am not allowed to come back to work until the doctor says it’s okay. The doctor said I’ll need about 10 days, and warned me that I’ll be bruised from forehead down to my neck/chest area, so if I didn’t want people to see me all messed up, I would need to make arrangements. I don’t care if people see. If they have a problem with the way I look, that’s their problem. The hell if I’m letting them try to make it mine.

All that being said, I will update “Say ‘No’ to Zombies” on Monday, but I’m not sure about the following week. It will depend on how the surgery goes. Some of the risks of the surgery include double vision or loss of vision for the rest of my life and/or the eye, itself. The doctor said he hasn’t had anyone lose an eye yet, and he believes that I won’t have any issues, but he had to tell me about them, for just in case.

Fingers crossed, people. If I lose the ability to read, I will lose my fucking mind.

Never underestimate a reader/writer…

Something I forgot to mention in the last post.

After the CT scan was done, I asked if I could see the images. The tech guy, Keith (I finally remembered his name!), said “sure. You won’t really know what you’re looking at…”

Little did he know, I had to do research on CT scans for part of Etlan. So he pulled up the image, and started going through the different layers.

Me: “Oh, okay,  there’s the nasal cavity, and there’s the eye soc-ohhhh, there’s the mass they were talking about.”
him: *gives me wtf look*
me: I read a lot.
him: What do you read??
me: a little bit of everything.

So yeah. Fun times yesterday. Besides the freakout, anyway.