Fantasy, Romance, and Other Genre Fiction

Posts tagged ‘research’

A question for my readers

I have more LTUE posts coming; I’m just getting them polished up.   In the meantime, I’d like to take a moment and talk about what I want to do here in the next couple of weeks.

I haven’t updated this blog as regularly as I might like, because I write when an idea for something to talk about hits me.   If you follow me on Facebook then you might recall that not too long ago, I asked what people might want to see from my blog.  From that short list, I’ve started to develop a list of regular features that I want to do.   I’m going to be implementing these changes and probably updating the way the blog looks once I’ve finished my LTUE write-ups.

But before I do that, I want to give everyone who might not follow me on Facebook a chance to weigh in as well.   What do you want to hear me talk about?  What do you want to see in terms of content?   I’ve updated my current poll page with a contact form.   You can even be completely anonymous if you like.  You can also leave a comment on this post.

Here’s what I’ve got so far for regular feature ideas:

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Making Maps

I have to blame this post on Tor.com for getting me started on a massive distraction.

Now, it’s not really a distraction from the Soldaris project, as the map that I currently have isn’t an accurate enough depiction of the world geography that I have in my head.  I am very pleased with the way the map I made a year and a half ago looks, but it’s not the right map for this world (I will be saving it for another project, though, I think.)

I would be lying if I said I hadn’t tried to make maps to go with earlier ideas that I had while in high school and college and whatnot.   But they weren’t good maps.  Then, about two and a half years ago, I took a physical geography class at university.   I’ll be completely and brutally honest here: I took it because it was the easiest lab science class possible  that the university offered, and I needed another one for progress toward my degree.  (I love science.  Love, love, love it.  What I don’t love is all the math that goes along with some of it.)   Little did I know that it would open my eyes up to a world of possible worlds and more effective world-building, or that I would develop quite an interest in the subject.  Nor did I think that it would set off a passion (albeit rarely indulged) with creating maps for my worlds.

I’m discovering that maps, as much as books, go through multiple revisions.  This is, thankfully, a little easier with digital construction via Photoshop or the like.

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A not-so-bad setback

The bad news?  I didn’t get the story finished in time to submit to Sword and Sorceress this year.   But the good news is that I passed the professional exam I was studying for, and I have a really good start on the story I’m going to submit for Sword and Sorceress next year.    This story decided to get more epic than I thought it was going to get.  Which is good because it means that I have a whole year to build and refine and revise this story, and maybe make something more of the world that I’ve started developing.

I don’t usually do a ton of research for my fictional projects.  That’s both an advantage and a disadvantage when it comes to writing fantasy.   It means that I can make stuff up as I go, but it also means that the stuff that I make up might not be based on realistic principles.   Even though reality is not the focus of the fantasy genre, the writing itself needs to be based in ideas to which readers can still relate.  There needs to be a frame of reference, and this is starting to sink in now that I’m really getting serious about this getting published thing.  I still have research to do on this story.  A lot of it.  That’s why I wasn’t able to get this story to submission quality in only a week.   Lucky for me, there is a blacksmith in the town where I live who does the medieval-style stuff.    I’m planning to contact him after the regional Renaissance festival is over to see if he can point me in the right direction.

I remain optimistic about this story and what it can become (which suggests that I have not yet spent enough time with it, since I am not sick of it yet), and the things that it can do for me and my career.   It is pushing me in ways that I never imagined that it would, and that is fine by me.  If I’m not growing, then I am stagnating, and I can’t afford to stand still.

A labor…

So after a terrible stretch of stress-induced block, it seems that I’ve finally found my inspiration again.

It’s for the story I’ve been wrestling with for Sword and Sorceress this year.  The submission deadline is a week from today.  I have days, possibly weeks, of research to do in a matter of a couple of days while simultaneously writing the rest of the rough draft, and then I have to revise and polish polish polish! My hope is to have something I feel good about sending off by Thursday.  I don’t want to cut it as close as the last day and the last hour.  But the encouraging thing?  Once I hit on the idea, the outline wrote itself within an hour, and the first draft is half-formed already.  (Which is fantastic, except for the whole staying up all night doing my research because I’m so excited about the idea thing!)

I am convinced this makes me rather quite insane.

But I am also convinced that every waking minute that I am not at work or not studying for my big certification exam on Tuesday is going to be spent with this story until I am so sick of it that I can’t wait to submit it and get it out of my hands for a while.   Writing is a lot like pregnancy and giving birth in that way.  Yeah, the process of making your baby can be kind of pleasant, but by the time you’re nearing the end, you are so ready to be done with being pregnant.   Looks like I’m going into labor, to continue the analogy here.   Wish me the best of luck.  🙂

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