NaNoWriMo2017 Prep: expanded outline and loads of world building!

NaNoWriMo2017 Prep Part 4: Outline

How are you doing with your preparations for NaNoWriMo2017? I hope everything is going well! I’ve worked on my outline again and I’ve done some more world building. Things are looking good!

Incredible what a day at work can bring. That is, if you’ve got a job like mine. I’m an interior cleaner. Yeah, it’s not the greatest job in the world, but hey, it pays the bills. And a very nice side effect is that I can think about my story while I’m doing my job. How nice is that? It’s exactly what I did today.

Outline

Although I’ve written stories without any outline, I felt from the start that with this story, or rather series of books it is turning into, I NEEDED an outline. I just didn’t want a fixed outline that wouldn’t give me any freedom. Which is something I’m kinda used to from high school and college. It was something I HATED!

When I found “NaNoWriMo for the New and Insane” by Lazette Gyfford, I found my solution. Not only does she give a hilarious, mostly accurate, view on NaNoWriMo, she also presents a, for me new, way to make outlines: the phased outline.

Phased Outline

A phased outline works with key words and key phrases. Perhaps even a quote you’d like to include in your story. And that’s it. A couple of dozen words can turn into a full chapter in your story. And that is what has happened for me ever since I started using that method.

A few sentences, sometimes not even more than 15 words can turn into whole chapters of thousands of words for me. Apparently a little spark is all I need to go on.

Book I

As you may have seen in my checklist I still have to finish my first draft of my first book. That’s okay. I don’t mind that. Although I’m slowly starting to realize I might not be able to finish it I do get more and more ideas for both my world and the stories within it. At the moment I’ve added several phases to the outline of book I. Nothing yet for book II, but for that to happen I need to have at least the outline of book I finished. At the rate it’s going now, I hope to have the outline finished in a few days, cause it’s developing fast!

World Building

While I was at work today, I’ve also come up with several additions for my world building. At the moment I can’t tell you any specifics, but I can tell you that a few things in my book and my outline now make more sense. Not because I made the world to fit around it, but because the world grew like this and the book and the outline turned out to fit neatly in the world with perhaps a few small changes, but nothing “life changing” sorta speak.

Later on I’ll write more on world building when I’m going through the steps of The Magical World Builder.

Suffice to say that my world turns out to be older than I thought and the civilizations turned out to be older as well. And there were more civilizations before the current ones. The current ones grew from the older ones, as you see happen often, of course.

Enough said

For today, this is it. I’ve made quite the progress and I’ll continue to make much more progress if things keep going the way they are now. And I’m happy with it.

How do you build your outline? Do you write each and every change? Or are you more like me? And world building, how does that go for you? Do you imagine a large new world filled with wonders, adventures and dangers for your characters to travel through? Or is your world more or less like Earth? Let me know in the comments!

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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, Dragon Rider’s Seer is a High Fantasy novel. 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 Dragon Rider’s Seer 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 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 Immortal 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 Dragon Rider’s Seer 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!