World building – or- the magic armour post

One of many cover sketches
One of many cover sketches

Annie has decided she wants to be one of three books.

Three.

Count them.

One. Two. Tree. Three.

Took me by surprise. Honestly, I was going to stop at one. Maybe two. Not three. How the hell am I going to keep Annie going for THREE books?!

World building. That’s how.

Well, part of how. There’s some other things need sorting out, but that’s not the point of this blog entry. No, the point of this entry is the world characters live and play in. And the world my characters are in. Is Oklahoma. 18 or 19 something something. Hrm. Hrm. Cough. Cough.

Given 18 or 19 something hrm hrm, there are a few things that are obligatory in Annie’s world. Steam is one of them. Oil is, too. Or, it can be. Because this is the Heartland of America. And the Heartland LOVES its oil.

Or rather, it was.

Da dum da dum dum DA DA DUM...
Da dum da dum dum DA DA DUM…

Oh, there are so many things I can tell you. But, if I do, I’m afraid it’ll ruin the book. So I won’t. I WILL say that world building has got to be one of the HARDEST things about writing. Never mind the writing bit, that part is fun. That’s just jotting down whatever comes to mind. Even the editing can have it’s high points, but world building, that is the kicker.

And I’ve only just thought about it today. I’ve realised that I don’t even know what’s going on in my little steam/dieselpunk world. Funny that, an author who doesn’t know what’s going on.

Well, that’s not entirely true, I do know what’s going on to some extent. I know that there are airships and automatons, and the British Empire controls the weather as well as the United States, now known simply as, the Colonies.

Why? Well, maybe the Brits took us over after the Civil War because Lincoln got shot earlier than anticipated (sure by the same guys, or maybe not, maybe something else happened to him) and the guy (or girl) that took over wasn’t as strong mentally to run the country. So, being the Empire that Britain is, she swooped in and took over.

Because war is on the horizon. And, you know, the American people are always up for a good war.

Maybe.

All of her technology followed.

Something like that.

In this game called writing, no one really tells you what to do. Not that if someone did, you should follow them. If someone did tell you what to do and how to do it, I would promptly kick them in the balls and tell them to bugger right off and leave their abnormally long smelling apparatus out of other people’s business, but everyone offers advice. Which is awesome. Because advice (like opinions) are plenty. And you can pick and choose who you’re going to listen to.

My advice? Get a ghat-damned notebook. I’m not a plotter by any stretch of the imagination. I have an idea, I write the idea until I can’t write it anymore, then I go back and edit the idea as another pops up. Shampoo, rinse, repeat. I’ve learned that, when I get stuck, it’s because something ain’t working in the story and I need to go back and fix whatever it is.

What I haven’t learned, is keeping a ghat-damned notebook glued to my hand. Well, maybe not glued to my hand, per say. Glued to the desk. Or in my car. Purse, too. A notebook in close proximity to my person.

Because you never know what you miss until you lose it.

I don’t like rules. I (try to) play by them, but I don’t think I’ve ever really liked them. I like to make them up, but I don’t like using them in my writing. It feels like I’m choking off creativity.

Still. Rules is rules, and it’s good to have a few of them for your book. Physics, is a good rule to follow.

Building worlds is so much easier when you’re a kid. Imagination is second nature to you when you’re young. I am a firm believer that writing is our way of trying to get that back. When you’re a kid, all you have to do is say ‘nuh-huh! that’s not how it goes’ and pretty much everyone agrees with you. Especially when there’s a fort and a dragon to consider. Can’t have the knights burning at the hands of the dragon.  Someone has to have fireproof armour* from the local wizard. That’s obligatory. And by saying so, someone makes it happen.

Boom.
Boom.

When you’re bigger, you figure out that worlds have rules. Suspension of belief be damned, there are things that have to happen in a logical order for the things you want to have happen to make sense and to make the author go ‘oh, okay, sure’. So, my world has to have X,Y, and Z before what I want makes sense.

At least, that’s what one part of my brain is telling me.

Notebook. Keep. The. Notebook. Jot down the rules. And the things that happen. Especially things like a zombie apocalypse.

5 rules of writing.

Where?

When?

What?

Why?

and How?

The other part screams FUCK YOU I HAVE MAGIC ARMOUR!

And my magic armour says I can do what I want because I’m the goddamned author and I say so.

So there.

*thbt*

My magic armour says I can have whatever the goddamned hell I want in my world because it’s mine and I’m not sharing it with anyone. Relatively speaking.

No co-author. None of that. The world is mine. It came out of my head. I wrote it. Mine.

You get the picture right?

Right.

So, what does world building really mean? What do three books mean? And why does this entry bounce around so much?

To answer the last question, it’s because I can’t really figure out where I’m going with this whole thing. For the other two, it might just mean that, even though Annie is the first book that is going to be released, it doesn’t mean that she is the first book in the series. Because I have Melanie’s story.

I have the Nightly-Edition.

And Melanie makes an appearance in Annie, Get Your Gun!. Holy balls. A bit of editing, maybe some tinkering with things, and I can actually have a little series going. Sure, one book technically predicates the other, but that don’t mean shit when you get down to brass tacks. I can still build this little world of mine. Just backwards.

Holy balls.

That, kiddos. Is world building. Sort of.

Not really.

But kind of.

Who. What. When. Where. Why. and How.

Seriously. Fill those out and wear your magic armour whilst doing it. You never know what might happen.

And now, to homework!

Toodles!

*note: unlike today’s vampires, magic armour does not sparkle in the sunlight. It’s actually quite rust-stained. And a little squeaky. Maybe burnt in places, but durable.

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4 thoughts on “World building – or- the magic armour post

  1. Bubbe says:

    Thank you for the reminder about the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I learned that in high school journalism but when I was actively trying to write I didn’t think of that foundation first. Perhaps that would have helped me with story development. Or perhaps I’m just a lazy wannabe. Sigh. Looking forward to Annie!

    1. rjkeith says:

      Honestly, the five rules didn’t even occur to me until after I finished Annie. Looking back on her, and trying to decide what is going on in the second book (and the world I’m creating) the five rules came to me. If you can answer them, you’re good on world building.
      I think.
      Maybe.
      🙂

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