Happy 2018 everyone!

Happy New Year 2018

in which I reflect a little bit on 2017 and where I’m looking forward to all that’s ahead of me in 2018.

Reflection

2017 was an interesting year for me. I started with My Peak Challenge, I continued working on my novel and I learned on a lot of new and interesting things.

It’s not always been an easy year, but that’s all part of life. I’ve made the decision for myself to look at the good that happened.

My Peak Challenge

My Peak Challenge is both a physical challenge as a mental/creative/anything you like challenge. I’ve worked on my physical challenge (Yay, I can now eat bananas and pears and my asthma has gotten better!) and will continue to work on that in 2018.

I’ve met an incredible group of peakers here in the Netherlands who are amazingly supportive. With them I’ve done fun things like Mermaid Swimming!

Mermaid Swimming
Mermaid Swimming with the Dutch Peakers, Courtesy Amfion Fotografie

We have done a lot together in 2017 and I’m very much looking forward to everything we do in 2018.

New & Interesting Things

I’ve learned several new things about history, rituals and about world building. There is so much to learn from history and from current events, plants, animals and such. It’s incredible! Did you know, for example, that we can now help wild animals who’ve lost a limb or part of a scale?

And that’s not all! What happens to spiders when fields and such are flooded? They search for higher grounds and make huge webs there:

And there is so much more to learn! Keep an eye for these amazing tidbits of information that just might rock your world!

My novel

I’ve worked a lot on my novel in 2017. It was mostly world building and that’s okay. I discovered I was sometimes stuck on a story line because I hadn’t worked out a few things good enough in my world building. I’ve developed my complete story line for book one. The story line for the other books is something I’m going to work on when the first draft of my first book is finished.
And I’ve been working on my map. I can show a small preview, but you’ll have to wait for the full version, cause I’ll show that later on!

Teaser of the map
Teaser of the map

This is just a small portion of the entire world. I will not tell you which part it is just yet. You’ll have to wait and see!

You will see more of my world building in later posts!

Looking forward

Like I said, you will see more later. There are two things I can reveal to you today:

  • The new book series title
  • My plans for 2018

I won’t do it in a normal blog post. Nope. I’ve decided to give you a video in which I reveal both. Have fun!

What are your writing or reading plans for 2018? Share them below in the comments!

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Interior cleaner by day, Author & Game Designer by afternoon and night. Fantasy is my poison and I’m loving it. Dragons and magic play an important role in my world and to give it all free reign, I design my own worlds.

Daily Word Count August 1, 2017

Daily Word Count

Yesterday I promised you that I would keep track of my daily word count. So, without further ado, here’s my accountability for today.

I have a (relatively) normal daytime job. I start at 6AM and work until noon. But that’s not writing, if that’s what you were thinking. No, at the moment I work as an interior cleaner. Not the greatest job, but it comes with one major benefit, at least for a writer. I have plenty of time to think about my story.

Story development

I have written a phased outline which contains keywords and key phrases per scene or chapter. I’m not one to write a detailed outline. I like to give myself the freedom to deviate from the given plan, freedom to write as I go based on, let’s say, guidelines.

Like I said above, my job gives me plenty of time to think about my story. Today I have mulled over two scenes that initially seemed quite easy to write. Easy for my Daily word count, right? Wrong! As creativity dictates, nothing goes as planned. So… while the original was quite simple, the execution proved to be more difficult. The scene in my head had more body when I got home and started to write, but also a lot more to take into account for further scenes and to check in earlier scenes.

Luckily I didn’t spend my writing time on developing the scene more. That is what I do during my work. Make no mistake, it’s not that I write the actual text in my head. I just have a better idea of how I want my scene to flow, which characters need to be there and what information needs to come out.

Daily Word Count

After lunch I could finally start writing. After all the thinking I had done, I had expected it would be quite easy to actually write the scenes. It wasn’t though. I had expected to have at least one scene completed by tonight. I didn’t though. There is still a lot more to be written, I’ve only covered part of the scene. I’ll get there.

But I did sit down and wrote. Even though I didn’t make the word count I decided to have as a goal yesterday (2,000 words), I did manage to write:

So, I’m very proud of myself. It seems setting the deadline on August 31st is the thing I needed to keep writing now that Camp is over.

Your writing?

Have you been writing? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!

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Interior cleaner by day, Author & Game Designer by afternoon and night. Fantasy is my poison and I’m loving it. Dragons and magic play an important role in my world and to give it all free reign, I design my own worlds.

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!

Save

Interior cleaner by day, Author & Game Designer by afternoon and night. Fantasy is my poison and I’m loving it. Dragons and magic play an important role in my world and to give it all free reign, I design my own worlds.

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!

Interior cleaner by day, Author & Game Designer by afternoon and night. Fantasy is my poison and I’m loving it. Dragons and magic play an important role in my world and to give it all free reign, I design my own worlds.