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Between the Move: The Long Solitary Roadtrip

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Something I wish someone told me about 13 hour drives is just how long it actually feels.

I mean yeah, already 13 hours doing anything seems like a monumental task, but we only know that because we relate it to things like Overtime at work or a long day of school. Even then they don’t come out to a full 13 hours.

A blockbuster film ranges anywhere between 1.5 to 2.5 hours at a given time. A football game, professional or not, can last anywhere between 2-4 hours. Reading a small paperback takes between 3-5 hours at most. Heck even the audiobook for Game of Thrones comes out to 8 hours. I would know. I listened to it during my first day of driving.

Granted I have been on many road trips before. My family would often travel to Mexico when i was younger, or go across the states for god knows whatever adventure we wanted. Not once did the length ever seem unmanageable, but then again, I always had a book or a gameboy, and lots of company.

This time, I was on my own. That means I had to take care of things on my own. No dad to pump gas. No mother to provide snacks. No older sister to pester for countless hours. Nope. If I wanted entertainment, I needed to do it myself. And believe me, for thirteen hours at the wheel, that is much harder than it sounds.

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Heart of the Mojave, Nevada

One thing I was thankful for, going from California to Grand Junction, CO. was a very pretty trip. During this particular leg I visited 5 states, and passed countless natural landmarks. You can always tells the deserts apart, for Arizona is always red, Nevada is always yellow, and Utah is a greedy and grandeoise mix of both.

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Outside Midvale, Utah

It was for this reason I was thankful my journey began this way. For one thing it provided many beautiful sights I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. It was also a fantastic distraction from the crushing reality of moving away from home.

Trust me, when you’re alone for that long, your mind has a way of letting these things creep up on you.

To combat this I made sure to keep my mind occupied. Playing mental games, listening to audiobooks, heck even putting your mp3 player on shuffle and letting it go is a great way to distract yourself. Thanks to that I rediscovered my love for certain bands I had long forgotten.

Here are a few songs I found in the depth of my playlist. Wherever you are they’re all worth a listen:

Another thing thing they don’t tell you about long solo road trips is how starved for conversation you become. Think about it, humans are typically social creatures. Even the most hardcore introvert loves a stirring discussion. Sadly, I learned I am very much an extroverted man, for I often made stops just to talk to people at convenient stores.

I must have looked pretty obvious to one particular teller in Utah:

“On a long trip?” he asked while stuffing my third pack of gum into a bag.

“Yeah, how could you tell?” I said, lifting my sunglasses to my uncombed hair.

“You’ve spent more time chatting with me than buying your things.”

I turned around and realized I was holding up a rather sizable line for a gas station. So, with a smile and a thanks, I took off.

Colorado

Colorado

All that being said, I did have a blast driving. What made it particularly memorable were the people I got to see and talk to. Many I saw in passing, able to exchange an all too brief hi-bye before my schedule tore me in another direction. Others I spoke through bluetooth (i’m not a reckless driver), and offered hours of much needed conversation.

Then, there were the ones I got to see in person. Again, when you’ve been in a car for far too long, human interaction seems like a blessing. I could spend an entire thousand more blog entries on these people, but by now y’all are probably tired of reading. I don’t blame you, but can you imagine you’ve likely been reading for five minutes?

Thhat would mean you’d probably have to read this blog entry at least 156 times to make 13 hours. Frankly I can think of many better things you could do with your time.

So, rather than fizzle out, i’ll show you what the rest of my trip looked like.

The still beautiful but abandoned Dana College

The still beautiful but abandoned Dana College

The cheapest gas i've seen this side of the Mississippi.

The cheapest gas i’ve seen this side of the Mississippi.

Beautiful Iowa

Beautiful Iowa

Rainbow in Decorah, Iowa.

Rainbow in Decorah, Iowa.

Summerfest in Milwaukee Iowa, with my friend Bret.

Summerfest in Milwaukee Iowa, with my friend Bret.

Switchfoot live. What a concert.

Switchfoot live. What a concert.

The Minneapolis Skyline

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Anyhow, that was a look into my journey. In the following weeks I should return to posting commentary on writing, reading, and overall geekery. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns post them in the section below.

Until next time

 

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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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I LIVE!

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Hello my readers! Sorry to have kept you waiting. You would not believe what i’ve been through this month. First there was a giant snow storm that trapped me and my family for weeks. We tried digging our way out but came upon an ancient Elvin city where I was crowned King. Unfortunately King of the Elves also meant “he who sits atop a throne of thorns all day and gets his love life determined by a senile sage.” That didn’t jive with my 21st century American ideals so we ran away. We ended up making our way across volcanoes, deserts, tundra, and even a maze the size of North America. Eventually we hitchhiked home and here I am, relaying the story to you now.

Of course, if you believed any of that, you were probably born yesterday. Considering all of you who tolerate my blog are smart enough to fight your way out of a paper bag, I really should stop talking in circles and get to the point.

And that is I’m sorry for not updating. I promised I’d get around the finishing the Publishing Institute by August, yet, low and behold, it’s the 31st and I still have 6 more entries to write. As such I will try to make up for lost time and publish as many of these as I can. It’s the least I can for those of you who waited patiently for another blog post.

So without further ado: I’m back! And I’m not going anywhere anytime soon!

For those of you who are still steamed, here is another blog I found that lists fantastic writing resources:
http://tyjohnston.blogspot.com/2012/01/100-web-sites-for-fiction-writers.html?m=1

Check him out, he’s got some great stuff.

If that doesn’t make up for it, then here: have some cute animals.

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Kittens-Sleeping

And my favorite:
RED PANDAS!

They’re like little bear foxes!

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Publishing Institute Post # 3: Of Tea and Editors

Tsunami Tea

Imagine miles of tea! Stacks of cups everywhere! Every type of tasty tea you could possibly imagine! The water of which is like a tsunami of delicious warm beverage barraging your senses with soothing thoughts and boundless comfort!

If the above sentence made you shudder with excitement chances are you love tea… or have a certain proclivity toward exclamation marks. (I won’t judge.)

If it’s the former, you’re probably a tea enthusiast and that’s okay. Tea, as I’ve learned, is a wonderful drink that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Why, ask my friend Lauren. She likes tea…

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Scratch that… my friend Lauren LOVES tea. Before I met her in person she introduced herself on the DPI Facebook group. She fit right in with the rest of us, detailing her love of social dancing, Doctor Who, and all things English on our massive “Get To Know Us” post.

Seriously, I think the whole thing, comments and all, is over 50,000 words.

We had our first major conversation over lunch one day, and I can tell you it won’t be one I forget anytime soon. In the brief period of exchanged words I learned that she seemed to have the delicious brew understood from the inside out  And she could tell you about it too! From where it comes from, to what goes with which. From the types of food best eaten, to why it even exists. So deep is her passion that, when she’s not working to become a publisher, she’s co-managing her own tea business. If you have time I suggest checking it out here and here.

So why all the praise? Well, if I must be honest, without her I wouldn’t have a post. Not today, heck not even for a while.

See, I don’t drink a lot of tea. I know less about tea than my ten year old cousin (he thinks Instant Coffee/Tea is the best *shudders*). To me, the brew was not much more than tasty hot leaf juice, but that’s like saying Cake is just surgary bread. Much to my enjoyment Lauren taught me that tea was so much more than that, and since then I’ve been enamored with the stuff to an almost unhealthy extent.

At the same time, I’ve learned a lot about Editors in the publishing profession. Unlike the Freelance Editors I described in an earlier post, these are the people who are employed by a Publishing House. If/When your manuscript is approved, these are the people with whom you’ll deal with until you have the finished project.

Now when I say deal with I don’t mean it as a “these are the threshold guardians threatening your chance for fame and fortune.” Instead I’m referring to them in the sense that they exist to help bring your manuscript to it’s fullest potential. In a sense they are become not only your teacher, but also your partner, and student, for you both have much to gain from interacting.

You may be wondering why I refer to your Editor as “they” rather than “he” or “she.” Well the thing is, like many people, before I came to DPI, I thought there was only one person who does the job. .After several editing workshops I discovered this is not the case; inf fact, like tea, they come in all of flavors. On a rudimentary level they all perform the same job, but what exactly they do is different depending on the department. Daunting as it sounds, if your manuscript is good chances are you’ll only need three with which to work.

So, in an effort to shamelessly show off my new found tea knowledge, and help you all get to understand these editing types. I put together the following list.

EDITORS LIKE TEA

1) The Aquisition Editor – Green Tea

At the front line of the Publishing world, it is the Acquisition’s Editor’s job to make sure anything that gets accepted is worth publishing in the first place. In a sense these editors are the jack of all trades, for they have to think of the manuscript as a whole. This will be made clearer with the other two types of editors.

The reason I liken them to Green Tea is because of their diplomacy. In countries around the world, Green Tea is used both for energizing and relaxation the drinker. It does not contain as much caffeine as black tea, which is why it’s often used for nerves, but if you’re calm and need a pick me up then this is your drink.

What does this have to do with editing? Well, the Acquisitions Editor doesn’t just work with the author but also answers to the various sects of the Publishing House. As such, a good Acquisitions Editor must be visceral in both demeanor and energy. They know how to put their time to good use and are capable of changing to suit both the author and market. All the while they manage to keep to their principles, for flexibility is inherent in who they are.

Also because the ones I’ve met seem to like sugar. (Edit: Don’t drink your Green Tea with sugar. Honey tastes a bajillion times better.)

2) The Line Editor – Black Tea

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One of the newer types of Editors, the Line Editor is tasked to seek out anything problematic in the manuscript. These are the people who will likely tell you when a plot device falls flat, or when a character is unneeded. They’re the ones who look at your story like it was a puzzle, and all the while they make sure the pieces fit the right way.

In some senses, Line Editors are the ones who will get the most out of your story. Like you, they invest their creativity and taste into the manuscript so it can be told in the most appropriate manner. This, however, makes them heavily opinionated and even a bit pushy. Sometimes they’ll suggest making drastic cuts to your story, and sometimes may ask you to rewrite entire arcs.

Harsh as that may sound, if you can convince them the flaw has a purpose (not fully explained, or necessary to a theme, etc.) then they may be willing to work it out. It is for this reason I liken them to Black Tea, a beverage known to be high in flavor and caffeine. No matter how good you are, a Line Editor will make you think, make you work, and will do so while coaching your every word. While you can add milk to the mix, and soften a line editor’s mood, the fact remains that the tea is black and your manuscript may need work.

3) Copy Editors – Oolong Tea

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Strong, Oolong Tea does not go well with sugar. It is not softened with milk, and is a very specific type of tea with a very specific type of stigma. Unlike the other two, which are made with leaves, Oolong comes from specific herbs. Yes the flavor may vary, but ultimately Oolong tea is Oolong tea, and enjoying it means taking it as it is.

The Copy Editor is a lot like that. For them, they don’t have the luxury of being flexible or diplomatic. They don’t have the honor of speaking to the author and asking if certain changes are alright. What exactly do they do? Why, the answer is simple: They proofread.

See, while the Line Editor handles ideas and the Acquistions Editor talks the talk, the Copy Editor has a specific playbook by which their job is done. Armed with countless dictionaries and reference materials, theses are the people who make sure you dot the i’s, cross the t’s, and hope to whatever God they worship that you use the Oxford comma.

I could speak more about this brew of Editor, but I think i’ll save it for the next post.

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So that’s the Editing Profession in a nutshell. Believe it or not some places have more than 6 types of editors, all of whom are either offshoots or freelancers. However, all of them will always answer to these three, for they are the backbone of the creative side of your manuscript.

That being said, I hope this was as informative to you as it was for me. Should you wish to go into editing as a profession I recommend picking up the following books:

  • The Chicago Manual of Style: ALWAYS get the latest volume of this one. All manuscripts in America are judged by the Chicago Style, so knowing this will be half the battle.
  • Editors on Editing (Gerald C. Gross) : Self explanatory, but it serves as a fantastic book on the insights of publishing. Do no miss this one, lest you feel going into the profession blind is a good idea.
  • The Elements of Style (William Strunk and E.B. White): A classic guide to writing style. Usually referred to in the publishing world as Strunk and White.
  • An Excellent College Level Dictionary: No that isn’t the title, I mean actually go get a good dictionary. Try to find one that is a 1,500+ paged hardcover. If it comes with an etymology even better. However, no Editor would be caught dead without a handy dictionary.

And with that you are on your way. Remember, education is an important tool. For those who work with books this fact remains truer than ever, especially with the advent of E-books and Self Publishing sites. It never hurts to glean more from your desired path, and if you learn to enjoy something new in the process then so be it.

That being said, it’s time for me to put down the laptop and pick up that hot cup of tea beside me. This one’s for you Lauren.

Cheers!

Until next time.

 

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Pre-Publishing Institute: Things Your Editor Is Not

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Totally a picture of me… If I were a woman… and had money…

I’ve been reading a book titled The Chicago Manual of Style.

For those who don’t know, it’s basically everything you need to know about the technicalities of being a Professional Editor.

Seeing as this is a highly likely career choice, I read this book with much gusto. As such, many times I made this face while reading:

Shocked

And said this:

o-rly

And when people asked if I enjoyed reading it i’d respond:

relevant-to-my-interests

Now if you thought goofed around more than I read you might not be far from the truth. However, like a good student, I did in fact glean some useful information. The lesson that stood out the most is, in a nutshell, what an Editor is supposed to do.

Mind you, I did not say what an Editor is “expected” to do. If I were to do that I’d probably render half the book moot due to stereotypes. So, for the sake of my fellow readers and anyone else who dares to read this poor excuse for a blog, I shall list:

Things Your Editor is NOT Going To, Allowed To, or Will Do.

1) Your editor is NOT in it for the money.
-For some reason people my age think Editing is a lucrative job. They think that editors pull out their expensive quill pens from the 15th century, lean back on their authentic Shakespearean recliners, and draw strands of red ink across a page while huge stacks of money get delivered to them by the dump truck.

Hate to say it but editing is not the most high paying profession. If you’re an editor, chances are you’re paid by commission. Pay on commission means: you get paid whenever someone wants you to work for them, and you charge for your services. I don’t know about you guys, but living on $30-50  a commission doesn’t sound as glamorous when you only get 2-3 commissions a week, if they come that often.

2) Your editor is NOT out to steal your work.
-As someone who works via commission, getting work in the first place means your name needs to be known. When you business spreads via word of mouth/internet/smoke signal/etc. the most important facet is your reputation. The better it is, the more commissions you get: plain and simple.

So if an Editor, for some reason, thinks it’s a good idea to disregard International Copyright Laws and steal ideas from patrons, chances are they won’t being working for long.

3) Your editor is NOT out to get you.
-Remember what I said about reputation? In a way being an Editor is a lot like being a server in a restaurant. One who cares about their job only wants to serve and see other people do well. It’s this kind of selfless delusion that implies that some people might, for some strange reason, consider that the happiness of others is somewhat important. However, while a server may end up getting tips from stroking your ego, an editor’s job is much different. In fact, editors get by on constructive criticism, which is basically the same as your server telling you not to eat that steak because of your cholesterol.

Actually being an editor is a lot like being a coach: and I’ve yet to know of a good coach that doesn’t yell at his/her team every once in a while. If you don’t like it, you can always go to a different one, but please don’t expect them to lie and stroke egos if your work sucks. Being critical is their way of helping you succeed.

I could go on, but I find this list is sufficient. Besides, I have a lot more material to cover this month, especially before I head out for Denver on the 12th. Anyone with any follow up opinions or comments is more than welcome to contribute. If I got something wrong please don’t hesitate to scold me down below. And with that, I bid thee all adieu.

Until next time.

 

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Personal Project – Fire & Stone: An Overview

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A while back I took an art/drawing class. For our last project we were to create something that “embodied” us in some way. After 50+ hours I made the above picture from pencil, pen, charcoal, and paint.

It’s difficult to see on this (since the picture is iPhone quality) but each section is crafted with a bit of all four mediums. I did this because I felt the best things in life are  made with many different things combined with great love and attention. Cheesy, I know, but I worked hard on it, and I can honestly saw it embodies everything I feel is important to writing.

Hence, if it took me a few days to make that you could imagine what goes into my writing.

Fire & Stone, my first attempt at a long formatted story, is about ten years in the making. Now, before I let that sound too impressive, I should note the story itself did not take me ten years to write. Rather, the story itself was crafted from a short story I wrote ten years ago.

In that short story, called An Unexpected Friendship, a boy made of stone and a girl made of fire met each other after some people left a campsite. After overcoming their initial shyness they talk and find they had much in common. Soon after they became friends and their lives were better for it. That story came out to be around 5 pages and was written in 2003. Back then I never heard of “data saving” or a “flash drive” so any copies were lost to a Windows 95 computer that was probably recycled into someone’s car.

Nevertheless, the idea of a boy made of stone, and a girl made of fire, was never far from my creative process. Often I thought about redoing their story, so when the time came for me to write my Senior Project I figured, “eh, why the heck not.”

Eventually the story took on a form of it’s own. The campsite that from my first story became a massive forest surrounded by a thick mist. The campfire became the cities of Al-Hascio and Romanica. Eventually, the boy made of stone became Elhove, and the girl made of fire became Nijam. Soon enough the stage gained a few locales, such as the Ivory Tower and the Central Mining Quarry, and the cast quintupled.

Research, as you could imagine, was as varied as the subject material I wrote. I tore through books on psychology (namely those of abuse, neglect, and bereavement), anthropology (mostly on stone and iron age societies), and history (mostly that of Indian and Middle-Eastern societies). Honestly nothing was off limits, as I found researching geology and alchemy aided my endeavors (to varying degrees, i.e. there is no alchemy in this story).

As my friends and family knew, writing this story took a lot out of me, but the end result was well worth it: One shitty first draft, complete with all the tools and tell-tale signs needed to make it better.

After my time at Denver I plan to put a little more information regarding this story, and maybe even post a few excerpts. Until then I hope these last few entries have given you some insight into my current project.

So do you all have something in the works? Any stories where research came to you at a weird time? Do you write when you’re “inspired” or do you just write and hope something sticks?

Until next time.

 

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Personal Project – Fire and Stone: The Cast, Basics

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“A good story can be weighed down by mediocre characters. Good characters can carry a mediocre story.”
– I don’t know, I can’t find the source. *curls into a ball and cries*

In all seriousness, I cannot stress your characters’ importance. But if I were to explain it in a simple fashion, then allow me to talk as if I were discussing a movie.

Let’s go with The Matrix.

I’ll be 100% honest. I saw the Matrix sequels long before I saw the Matrix itself. As such, the initial shock and awe of “this world is a fabrication” was lost on account of “Yeah I knew that already.” In spite of this, I didn’t want this to spoil my enjoyment of the movie. As such I went in with the mindset of “Let’s see how it gets there.”

Well, to be honest, I almost fell asleep half the time. Not to say Mr. Reeves isn’t a good actor, but I found more personality in my cereal spoon than his performance.

Keanu Spoon

And it wasn’t just Keanu. Morpheus and Trinity struck me as such wooden characters that I found myself caring almost little for anything they did. I even considered shutting off the movie until I got to the major “betrayal scene.”

For those who have watched the movie you know what I’m talking about. For those who haven’t seen the Matrix i’ll not spoil this for you.

In this particular scene a character does and says somethings that put the main characters in a real, tense, life-threatening situation. This character fascinated me so much, because I heard, in that character’s monologue, all their strife, anger, and the many layers that makes a human a human. I was enthralled by this person’s performance on such a scale that it convinced me to watch the rest of this movie.

Now, i’m not saying the Matrix was a bad movie. In fact, I highly recommend it to anyone. However, as novel as the world and plot were, it meant little when none of the cast members came close to that level of intrigue and humanity.

The same goes for writing your story.

Your characters are your actors, and good actors are those who make the audience believe they are real people. It’s why Heath Ledger’s performance as “The Joker” was so haunting, and why Marissa Tomei won an Oscar for playing a woman from New Jersey in My Cousin Vinny. However, in a writer’s world we are not blessed with being able to pick and choose who portrays what in our story.

So it falls upon us, as writers, to create those characters ourselves.

For my story, Fire and Stone, no two characters got more development than Nijam and Elhove. These two, a girl and boy respectively, carry the brunt of the story, and as such they hold the responsibility of being the most realistic. Getting to that point, however, meant that I needed to get to know them better.

Ever have an imaginary friend? Someone you talk to? Listen to? Gives you advice even though, deep down, you’re really just talking to yourself? To me, making a character is a lot like that. I’ll give you an example, a bit of written dialogue I had when I “interviewed” Elhove.


(This is after I asked about his dad)

Elhove: Well what do you want to know? He’s the Elect. People like him. He’s kind of a big deal.

Me: Yeah but do you like him?

Elhove: *shrugs*

Me: What does that mean?

Elhove: I don’t know… I don’t talk to him much.

Me: What do you mean? You’re his son.

Elhove: Only when it’s convenient, I suppose.

Me: Convenient?

Elhove: The last time we talked he scolded me for missing my studies. *covers his arm*

Me: Is that when he gave you that scar?

Elhove:  *glares* Let’s talk about something else.

Silly as it sounds this “interview” went on for a couple of pages. In that time I really got to know a character I made up, simply by keeping in mind what kind of person he might be. As I learned more about him, I looked up various psychology books about children and teens who go through similar pains, all in an attempt to make him seem realistic. Throughout the interview a lot of his answers surprised me, and though he was a figment of my imagination, I felt as if he were a real human being. Whether that comes across to others is a different story, but the fact of the matter is I tried my hardest with everything I had.

For the sake of telling a good story, a lot of work goes into the mechanics. Regarding characters I found you have to practically talk to them, and make them feel like real people rather than just a few archetypes smashed together. This wasn’t the only way I got to know my characters but it definitely helped round them out. Maybe next time I’ll go over more details as to how I get to know my actors and actresses.

In the meantime here are a few links that helped me better understand the people on the page:

http://solsticeapocalypse.tumblr.com/tagged/character-crafting (this tumblr has a wealth of writing information. Very helpful stuff.)

http://www.springhole.net/writing/marysue.htm (how to tell if your character is a “Mary Sue”)

http://www.pgtc.com/~slmiller/characterdevelopment.htm (your basic, catchall character writing site. Contains a good list I use)

—-

So do any of you have a hard time getting to know your characters? What tricks or tips do you do to help round them out? Have you ever had a character talk back? What do you think about Character archetypes?

And with that I bid you all adieu until next time.

 

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Personal Project – Fire and Stone: The Stage, Basics.

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Your plot is like a stage, your characters the cast, and your plot is the script.
A story with only the last two has nothing on which to stand.

Setting is paramount to a story, and as any fantasy author knows this is especially true in this genre. When writing the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Tolkien spent years devising worlds, cities, languages, and cultures all for the sake of his stories. The same goes for Brandon Sanderson, who crafted an entire solar system in which his stories take place (look up the Cosmere and you’ll see what I mean). Ursula K Le Guin, Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, George R.R. Martin, and many other great fantasy authors devote their writing not only to the plot and characters but to the world itself. Though their worlds vary one thing is for certain: the setting is paramount if the story is to get off the ground.

Hence, when I created Fire and Stone, the first thing I created was a stage. Thus the Two Cities came into fruition.

The Two Cities – A Legend

Nearly a century ago, the Two Cities were once one. Bound by the teachings of The Savior, known as the Will of Fire and Stone, their society came out of barbarism. Eventually a war broke out, and the city was split in both people and ideology.

To the east, a society known as Romanica was born.
To the west, a society known as Al-Hascio was born.

The Two Cities: An Overview

The story takes place in a massive forest. And when I say massive, I mean that if you climb to the top of a tree and look out, you’ll see more forest. The forest itself is extremely dense, so much so that almost no light escapes the canopy. Those who live in the Two Cities avoid the forest, for its inhabitants are the source of many superstitions and mysteries.

The Two Cities themselves are about 10 sq miles (16 sq km), and are currently undergoing a transition. With the invention of farming and smithing, the Two Cities are in the dawning of an Iron Age, and with it all the social unrest and anxiety that brings.

Though they share a common beginning, the two societies are different in both management, culture, and magic. Decades of isolationism tend to do that with relationships, no matter how close they once were. Observe:

Romanica: The Society

Will of Fire

“The Fire Sigil”
Romanica’s Offical Symbol

Romanica is a Theocratic Matriarchy. In essence, they are a deeply religious society in which the political and social norms are determined by females in power. The citizens are devout followers of the Will of Fire, and attend a weekly mass held in the city’s tallest structure: The Ivory Tower.

The most powerful woman in Romanica is the Noru, who is also the head of the Fire Clergy. She, like the Pope, is the ultimate say in the religious goings on that encompass the society. As the political leader she is the final say in every economic, legislative, and judicial proceeding. You can probably guess she has a lot on her shoulders.

Inherent to their society is a magic called “The Inner Fire” in which practitioners can use their emotions to summon flames and keep themselves warm. This magic is not unlimited as the body uses one’s hydration as fuel for the flame. In addition, one’s own control of their emotions determines one’s ability to control the fire, for the soul acts as a spark for the flames.

Al-Hascio: The Society

"The Five Paths" Al-Hascio's Official Symbol

“The Five Paths”
Al-Hascio’s Official Symbol

Al-Hascio is a Democratic society built into a nearby lone mountain. Those who live here were the descendants of those who instigated the War of Fire and Stone, and as such they hold great pride in their history. Built on the Will of Stone, the other half of The Savior’s Teachings, these people fought for their freedom from the Noru and the Fire Clergy, and now live within a mining society.

True to their symbol, everyone lives within one of five “paths”, or careers. The five paths are: Scholar, Guardian, Politician, Mason, and Labor, though not all paths fit neatly into one category (for example Teacher falls between Scholar and Guardian.) Children in this society are raised in such a way that they experience what it’s like to live in all five paths. When they come of age they are expected to marry and choose a path from which to serve the city.

Within their city are gemstones called Sceon. When touched, these dull blue gems steal warmth from whoever makes contact with them and glow brighter for every bit of warmth they took. They have the consistency of gems but are oddly malleable and capable of being grafted into everyday tools. Doing so enhances the tool’s properties (a metal knife can easily cut through stone, a hammer hits with more force, etc.). When not being a tool these stones act as a renewable light source for the cavern dwelling people of Al-Hascio.

Final Thoughts

I have much more I could put down here but I would rather not, seeing as the Word Doc for this is over 40 pages. Instead I consider this to be an acceptable starting point for these places.

I can’t say I knew exactly what I was basing these from but I can say I had a lot of help from peers. I asked my History and Anthropology friends what all is necessary to make a society, as well as looked into cultures myself. Any blanks were filled in by going to websites like The Seventh Sanctum or Hiveworld. This information served me well, and hopefully it would do the same for you.

So that’s some insight into the world of Fire and Stone. Do you all like to make worlds of your own? Do you think worldbuilding is necessary when your story takes place in the real world? What do you like most about worldbuilding?

On Friday i’m going to post some basic info on the cast of Fire and Stone. Until then, happy writing everyone.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in My Writing, Uncategorized

 

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