Deadline: August 31st

Deadline coming into reach

After a month of CampNaNoWriMo in which I wrote way too little to finish The Infinity Saga, I decided I needed to think about deadlines. Originally my deadline for the first draft was “This year.” Well, that’s pretty broad, isn’t it?

Enter “The Deadline”

Deadline HourglassAt the beginning of this year, as part of MyPeakChallenge, I decided I wanted to finish my first draft “This year”. Well, “this year” turns out to be broad. Too broad to be specific.

Now that CampNaNoWriMo is over, I looked at the progress I made. I had started Camp with the idea that I would work on World Building and perhaps write a few additional chapters.

It turns out I wrote 10,000 words. It was mainly the story and additionally some world building and some additions to my outline.
This, of course, is progress, but not as much as I hoped for.

Camp is a rather free thing, unlike NaNoWriMo where the goal has been set for you. In Camp you set your own goal. And I think I made mine too easy. I gave myself too much freedom. Instead of a lot of writing, I’ve been distracted. Granted, it gave me some new ideas, but it didn’t progress my story just yet. That is why I decided, today, that I need a firm deadline. At least something that feels like a firm deadline to me.

The new deadline

Deadline

My new deadline is August 31st. It’s my birthday. And what better way to celebrate my birthday than to have the first draft of my story finished? It would be amazing to have it finished! I’ll just need to remind myself that the first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. Your first draft is messy, incomplete, might not be completely functional, but it is there.

I already have ideas on how to improve everything I’ve written so far (besides the obvious: I need loads of fantasy names!), but I’m sticking to finishing my first draft first.

Daily Word count Goal

Word Count Goals
Source: Literature & Latte

And with that deadline comes a daily word count goal. The average fantasy story has about 100,000 – 125,000 words (give or take a few thousand). To make sure I’ll make that and have something extra to work with, I’ve set my daily word count goal to 2,000 words (give or take a few hundred).

Accountability

To help me achieve my goal, I’ve decided to keep a writing record here on a daily basis from now on. I hope it will work for me.

So, today I wrote 1,990 words. Finished one particular tough scene, added another and I might have to include yet another scene before this chapter is finished. But that’s okay. I’m getting there!

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Research & World building

In the past I’ve started just writing a story with or without a (rough) outline. I had some ideas of a world in my mind, but that was as far as it went. I wrote the stories, but I always felt they were missing something. It turned out they were actually missing a lot: World Building & Research

Why do I do World Building?

First of all, The Infinity Saga is a High Fantasy novel series. According to Wikipedia, High Fantasy is

defined as fantasy set in an alternative, fictional (“secondary”) world, rather than “the real”, or “primary” world.

And that is exactly what the world in The Infinity Saga is: a completely fictional world that has no relation with Earth. This means that although some things may seem similar to earth, they are not as they are on earth. In this case my novel is set in a pseudo-medieval world with hints of Roman, Persian  and Asian influences. To be able to write a believable novel I need to know what that world looks like, feels like, smells like. Only then can I show it to you.

In a movie or a TV series you are shown the environment, just like in video games. In a book however, there are no pictures to show you what everything looks like, besides the occasional map. As an author I have to be creative in using ONLY words to show what the world looks like.  I can tell you a building is made up of stone, but what kind of stone is it?

  

I can tell you a woman is wearing a dress, but what kind of dress is she wearing?

World Building - Dress 1

In addition to the above there are dozens if not thousands of little and big things to know about. It may not all be described in detail in my books, but to set the right mood and environment, world building is needed.

Why do I do Research?

From the moment I had the idea for this story I always felt the Dragon Riders would be more then Riders in a group. They would have a much stronger bond, stronger than a band of brothers even. But I also knew it wouldn’t be something like a Soulmate bond. But what was it? I couldn’t put my finger on it yet.

That was until I read Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments series. There was one thing that intrigued me a lot: the Parabataì phenomenon. The only real historic thing that was mentioned, was that it was supposed to be a Greek thing. But what exactly was it? What made it so special?

The short description I did have was enough to convince me I might be onto something for my Dragon Riders.

And that’s why I started my research on Parabataì. I will tell you one thing already: there is precious little known about Parabataì. In a future article I will go into more depth about this bond, but for now I’ll leave you with a translated image from Plutarch.

Plutarch’s Lives

How to Research and Build a World?

I’m using a combination of different sources for World Building:

Even though I already have a rough outline and an idea of my characters, this process helps to define these better and to understand my world better. Only then will I be able to explain it to you.

As for research, Google is my friend. I’ve found lots of inspiration, resources and photos & drawings through Google. The image above this article is a nice example of this research. I was looking for an entrance to Dragon City that could give access to an underground city and remain hidden at the same time. But it also had to have the possibility to get there. Now, for Dragons it’s easy. But for those who are not on a dragon…… Well, you’ll need to read The Infinity Saga to see how you get access to the city.

What do you do?

Are you a Fantasy Writer? If so, how do you go about your world in your story? Do you make it up as you go? Or are you a full out world builder and research? Or perhaps something in between?

Or are you a Fantasy Reader? What do you like most about the worlds in your favorite fantasy books? Many details, or less? Thorough descriptions? Maps? Or do you perhaps prefer the “real world” with a hint of Fantasy?

Let me know in the comments!

Camp NaNoWriMo July

Camp NaNoWriMo is an event where you can join a virtual cabin with 19 other writers and enjoy a month of writing frenzy, inspiration and much more.

What is camp all about?

The main thing, of course, is writing. You’ll set up a goal you want to reach this month and try to achieve it. And you meet up with several writers in an online cabin.

Your goal

Your goal can be set in hours or in words, unlike in November, where the only goal is in words. You can chose a lesser amount than the normal 50.000 words NaNoWriMo November has. And of course, if you really wanna go for it, you can choose an even greater goal.

What will you write?

During camp, you’re gree to write anything you want. While the goal for NaNoWriMo November is to write a novel, during camp you can edit your drafts, work on world building, plot your next novel, do research or basically anything else you’d like to write during Camp.

Cabins?

What are these cabins about? I’ve heard that question often. Basically it’s a virtual cabin where you group with 19 other writers. At Camp NaNo you enter your project details and you state if you’d like to be added to a cabin randomly or you can set up your own cabin. If you don’t want to start your own cabin and do not want to be entered to just some cabin, you can also look on the forums for a cabin to join.

Camp activities?

Are there any camp activities? Well, that all depends on the group. In the groups I’ve been in, we have regular chats in the weekends and we’re quite active during the week as well. Once camp’s over, we even have our own (closed) Facebook group where can keep in touch.

INSPIRATION: Flower Hat Jelly

in which I think about what role the Flower Hat Jelly could have in The Infinity Saga. A healer might be needed!

 

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A FEW FACTS

Flower Hat Jellyfish
Flower Hat Jellyfish

When looking at real earth creatures for inspiration in a story, I always like to look at a bit more than only the photo of the creature. In this case I now know:

  • these creatures can grow to be around 15 cm (6 in) in diameter,
  • they have lustrous tentacles that, when not in use, adhere to the rim of the jellyfish,
  • they eat mainly fish.

INSPIRATION

This might just be something that a Healer can encounter, or rather the cause of something a Healer might encounter. Knowing these creatures eat mainly fish, the Fishermen may just happen to run into such a creature and need the help of a Healer.

DRAGON RIDERS AND JELLYFISH

Dragon Riders have no love for jelly fish. They’ve had to clean the wounds some larger jelly fish had caused with their tentacles on their dragon companions far too often.

MAGES AND JELLYFISH

Like dragon riders, mages have no love for jellyfish. Their scholars do study these creatures because of the rashes (and other wounds) these creatures might cause, but it’s no one’s favorite research subject.

PHOTO CREDITS

Instagram embedded: Frans Lanting for National Geographic.
Featured: Fred Hsu for Wikipedia
Other: Unknown Photographer.

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What do your characters use as eating utensils? Why those items? Share it in the comments below!

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INSPIRATION: Healing Springs I

in which I look at inspiration from photos for an element of the world of The Infinity Saga.

Writing a book isn’t easy. Writing a fantasy book is even harder. You often have to create the entire world which is what I’ve done for The Infinity Saga. I regularly use photos of earth places as inspiration for my world. This time it’s for Healing Springs

 

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Healing Springs

The Healing Springs play an important role in The Infinity Saga. There are healing springs in several realms. Some of them are hidden or hard to reach, others are more easily to reach. What they have in common is that each spring requires a sacrifice of some kind. Beware those who refuse to give some kind of sacrifice before using the spring!

Healers usually know how the springs should be used and will inform their patients about this before these patients go to such a spring. But, as on our earth, not everyone listens to their healer and ignores the advice about the sacrifices. It’s never wise to ignore the advice of a Healer!

Credit photo above:
Location: unknown
Photographer: unknown

More Inspiration

I don’t focus on one photo. Instead I use more. Another good inspiration is this one.

Fairy Pools
The Fairy Pools on Skye Island in Scotland
Photographer unknown

With blue being the color of healing magic in my world, this pool has the excellent look for it. It’s something you’ll certainly find in my books!

How do you imagine the places in your world? Do you use photos or do you use a different tactic? Share your ideas in the comments!

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INSPIRATION: An osprey in the tree

Osprey or Fish Hawk

in which I look at what this osprey could do in my story The Infinity Saga.

 

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OSPREY

An osprey landing in a tree that stands freely in the water. What could this mean? I’m not looking at the facts as we find them here on earth, which is an osprey bringing in fresh supplies to its home on a dwarf cypress tree. No, what I mean is what can it mean in my story?

INSPIRATION

The osprey is also called the fish hawk. In this case that is what I’ll stick to. This inspired me to create a people who’s main diet consists of fish. The best fishers are those who have adult Fish hawks as these seem to be able to get the best fish. Only the very experienced men who fish on a boat with a fishing pole and who dare to go out on deeper waters are able to catch similar quality of fish. Others will remain in shallower water and thus will catch smaller fish.

Since The Infinity Saga is a story with a pseudo-medieval setting there are no large fishing trawlers like you may you now see on the Deadliest Catch. Nope, it’s all done by hand.

The rest….. That is something I’ll have to think about a bit more.

MAGES AND OSPREY

Kabini Osprey
Kabini Osprey

Some mages are beast masters and thus can control all kinds of creatures to a certain extend. These mages are able to make a connection with the hawks either for things like sending the hawk to do some fishing, or to be able to look through the hawk’s eyes and see what they’re spotting.

Other mages respect the hawks and, not taking any chances, will also protect the hawk (and when necessary hide from them) as it might be connected to a beast master.

DRAGON RIDERS AND OSPREY

Dragon riders do not have a special relation with fish hawks. The smaller and younger dragons may follow fish hawks every once in a while to hunt for fish, bu that’s about it.

PHOTO CREDITS

Instagram embedded photo: Keith Ladzinski for National Geographic
Featured photo: Photographer unknown, source: DK Find Out
Smaller image: Yathin S Krishnappa (Wikimedia Commons)

#amwritingfantasy #turtlewriters #writersofinstagram #amreadingfantasy #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #igauthors #authorsofig #authorsofinstagram #writersofig #inspiration #writinginspiration

What do your characters think of Ospreys? Why do they feel like that or do that? Share it in the comments below!

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