Writing Prompt: Spaceport

Happy almost-NaNoWriMo, for those of you who are into that sort of thing. Here’s a writing prompt, from the incredible Jeff Zugale:

Spaceport, Jeff Zugale

The clouds, incidentally, are from a photo by none other than John Sclazi, so double awesome. You can find more of Jeff’s awesome work on his site and art blog, as well as the comic Not Invented Here.

PS Jeff, if you read this, please draw me spaceships.

Let’s Talk About World Building

World building is one of my favorite aspects of writing, but I sort of hesitate to talk about it because it’s not as if there is a lack of authors talking about world building. But since I do like it, I thought I’d share what I do, think about and strive for in building my worlds.

My Goal:

What I want, when I tell a story set in a given world, is to invite the reader’s imagination to go beyond the story. I want it to be rich enough that they can enjoy the story they’re reading, yet have them ask ‘what else is going on’?

Saying this might be redundant, but it also has to be believable and consistent. In writing, you can write whatever you want, but if the rules are constantly changing or there isn’t a lot of congruity to the world, no one will want to read it.

3024AD is out now!

3024AD is out now!

3024AD: Short Stories Series One: Kindle | Kobo | Nook

What I Do:

Research cannot be overstated. What form that takes depends on what I’m writing, e.g., if I’m writing fantasy, there might not be too much research involved, but for science fiction, I might need to know what happens when someone gets their head cut off in a vacuum. It comes up, ya know? Even if it’s fantasy, though, there are things I want to get right. Say a scene takes place in a forest- what kind of trees are there? Underbrush? Animals? While there is tremendous license to make up whatever, little bits of reality will make a fantastic world much more believable and  therefore real.

I establish rules and guidelines for a world early on in the process, and refer to them often. For science fiction, are there aliens? What about faster than light travel? Some form of ‘the force’ or what have you? Establishing the boundaries of a world helps me avoid writing myself into corners that I then have to explain my way out of later or having to erase major portions of a book because it doesn’t fit (well, more so).

The other thing I, at least, have to do is remember to keep it simple. The whole world doesn’t have to be shown at once, and not every detail needs to be explained, even if it’s in my head. Show what needs to be shown for the story, maybe a little bit more to intrigue the reader, but overwhelming people with information will make the book less rich, not more.

Finally, I try not to sweat it too much. There are myriads of books out there, and you can tell when someone went way out of their way to do something that hasn’t been done before. It’s much, much better to make it yours and believable than it feeling completely forced. So be original, obviously, but not at the cost of the authenticity of the world.

Hope this helps! Happy creating!


State of 3024AD

So, as you may or may not know, I still have this silly little day job. Some of my responsibilities have changed, and basically, I have a really, really busy next few months. While this obviously will not halt my writing, it will affect my upcoming projects:

Series One:  I had hoped to have this out this month, but between day job and adding several stories to it, it will push out into December. The release date I am shooting for is December 14. I will confirm that- and promote that- later this week.

Series Two: The second series is much, much bigger than the first. I will still be making some of them available free online. I am going to go with a Monday posting schedule instead of Friday, though. The first one will go up the 26th.

Other writing: I am going to start some side projects, mostly short stories, that will be for publication by not me. So if you know of any sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, etc journals, anthologies, etc that I should be submitting to, please let me know.

Thank you all for your continued support.