NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep: Outline & Magical World Builder

Magical World Builder

Are you preparing for NaNoWriMo2017? I am. Luckily my preparations seem to go at a steady pace. Are you looking for things to prepare? Perhaps the Magical World Builder is something for you besides outlining.

Okay, so, yesterday I didn’t report any progress, but I did make progress. After some bad news I received, I just wasn’t in the mood to write about it anymore. Now I’m doing better so I thought I’d share my progression with you.


One of the things on my checklist is to finish the outline of my first draft of my first book, since I’m still writing that. Today I finished that outline! It also became quite clear that I’m not yet halfway with writing my book, but that’s okay. Once my first draft is finished, I can always edit and remove things I don’t like 😀

Later on this month I’ll make the outline for Book 2. First, I’ve got other things on my checklist to do.

NaNo goal adjusted

I had originally thought to start with book 2 on November 1st. Now I think I might not have finished the first draft of book 1 yet, so I’ll continue with that first in November. Once that’s finished I’ll continue with book 2. #Challenge

Magical World Builder

Magical World Builder
Source: Inkarnate

The above picture hardly looks like a proper world, now does it? Let’s see, there’s a castle, a LOT of ocean and apparently some mountain ranges . And the rest is empty…..

Rest assured, this is NOT the map of my world. There will be so much more on my map. And my map will be much bigger than this. There is so much to include.

And World building is so much more than only drawing a map. A map is handy to see if your characters should go north instead of south. It would, after all, be a shame if they end up way deep in the south when the city where they needed to be is way up north. Could be an interesting story line telling your reader why they ended up in the south, but all in all, a map could come in handy.

But that is not all what world building is about. It is one aspect. But there’s so much more, like the government system, the culture, what kind of clothes do your characters wear, what kind of industrialization is there (if any), etc.

To build my world properly I’m going to follow the steps in Stephanie Cottrell Bryant’s Magical World Builder. The PDF she created about this is chock full of information. And for those who want to “get their hands dirty” there’s a full 30-days exercise to build your world. And that is exactly what I’m using.

Once I’m finished with that, I’m definitely going to check it against the Game Of Thrones Wiki to see if there are other interesting things I may already have in the back of my mind, but not yet in my story bible yet. And perhaps things that haven’t been included in my world building just yet.

Story Bible

Story Bible

A story bible is something that every author, if s/he makes one, does the way it’s best for him/her. In the past I’ve kept all my notes in one box. They usually got all jumbled up together. I can tell you, that really doesn’t work!

I’d like to choose an option that’s also more environmental friendly. And thus I turn to a digital form. In Scrivener I can store a lot of information, including photos, which can be very useful. I also want an option to check things online when I’m not at home. And I’d like to share my world with you while I’m creating it and for you to read once my books have been released. That is why I have decided to have an online story bible, right here on my site. I will go through my World building exercises almost daily and I will share the information with you here. Of course I will only share information that doesn’t give away spoilers. I can’t give away the clue to the story before it’s been released, now can I? 😀

I can give you a tidbit of what I’ve been working on the last few days.

Funeral rituals

There are many different people in my world. And each group has its own funeral rituals. Some may seem very similar to our Earth rituals, while other  are different. Seers have other rituals than Dragon Riders, while Commoners have rituals that may seem more like earth rituals


My world is a pseudo-medieval setting. This means there is no industrialization, nor technical advancement as we know it. But there are different things that may hint at what we have. Take communication, for instance. Seers will usually use a special bowl with a certain ritual and herbs to establish a communication link. There are, however, also a few seers, from old families, who have inherited special communication devices through which they can communicate with other seers who have a similar device. How this works exactly and how they attained this, is something that will become more clear in the story. If you’re lucky, I might share some more information about it in the future.

History of the Dragon Riders

Each people has its own history, like we all do. One of the things I wanted to have a bit more clearer is the history of the dragon riders. Why is it that dragons allow people to ride on their backs? Why is it that dragons might defend their riders at all costs? What is their benefit in this relationship?

These were among the questions I wanted to answer, inspired by questions several of my Twitter followers asked me.

Later on I will share more details about their history. For now I’ll leave you with this tidbit:
People were hunting down dragons for their rumored treasures and because they killed their livestock now and then. And then a change came about.

These are all things that came up the last few days. Even though I wasn’t going through my Magical World Builder exercises, that’s okay. This is all important information and I’ll fit it in my story bible nonetheless. After all, this process is all about getting to know my world better, so that my story becomes a really lively story, something that comes alive before your eyes.

Are you world building? Perhaps even using the 30-day exercise of the Magical World Builder from Stephanie? Share your experiences in the comments!

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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.


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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NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep: Progression

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How far are you with your preparations? I’ve made some progression today! Follow me on my journey of preparations towards November!

With a little over 31 days to go, I’ve worked on my preparations for November today. And I have made progression!

The goal?

I’ve made quite a list of preparations, as I posted yesterday. Today I worked on the first goal:

Complete the outline of the 1st draft of book I

Even though this story has been in the making for over a year, I still didn’t have a finished outline. So, working on this is quite essential.

My progression

It’s not easy to finish an outline for the first draft, while I already have lots of ideas for the second draft of this same book. Because of those ideas, I decided to pretend to continue with the story as if several things already had happened. Things I still have to write. Scenes that will be in the second draft and not in my first.

That decision made it easier to continue with my outline for the first draft. As a result I’ve added six scenes at the beginning of the book to the outline of my second draft (yep…. you read that right!) and added some information for more details (like: tell something about the life in the city, tell something about the surroundings, etc). I’ve noticed those were things I had almost left out. Which of course doesn’t work.

Additionally I’ve adjusted several phases I hadn’t written yet and added about five scenes to the outline of my first draft. With these adjustments I’ve written in some things that actually haven’t been touched in the first draft yet, but will be present in the second draft, so that’s okay.

That’s it for today

Even though neither outline is finished yet, I’ve made a nice progress, so I’m happy with the result. Especially since today was a day of Grocery shopping (yeah, those things have to be done….), friends who visited and a sleep in because I was still tired of the weekend in Scotland. I really need to catch up before November starts!

How about tomorrow?

Tomorrow I’m going to continue on this path. I really want to get more into the outline. And I hope to do some more world building. I’ve drawn a very rough map for my story and I hope to be able to work on that a bit more with Inkarnate.

One thing I’m definitely going to do is test Aeon Timeline, if only because my trial period is coming to an end in a few days. I want to have it tested before that.

How are you doing with your preparations for NaNoWriMo? Have you made any progress? What are you most looking forward to in your story?

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