Mar 28, 2016

Creating A Map Of Your World: Part 1

I’ve seen a lot of posts about how to make maps of your fantasy worlds.
I thought today would be a good time to start sharing mine.

This is a four part series, so hold on tight while I spend the next 4 Mondays going through this.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Scour the Globe

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” may ring hollow in a lot of cases. Here it is the most helpful way I’ve ever found to deal with coast lines.

Spend some time on Google maps. I suggest the map version, not the satellite one, just because it’s going to be a better, more solid line. Follow coast lines, look at the features you want and need.

Have a set of islands you need to put together, look at the islands that already exist.

Need a bay or port, look for those specifically.

Working with a polar region? Consider how that part of our world is shaped due to environmental concerns.

Create the Puzzle Pieces

When I find the portions of our world I want to mess with, I do several print screens.

At this point, use paint or picmonkey, or whatever you need to clean up those screen shots, get rid of the random Google crap and leave behind only what you want.

I can think of about 20 different possibilities for cutting up this slice of land....

Then it’s a matter of printing them out. Do this in black and white, you won’t have these for very long.

Create your world

With your pieces, it’s time to hop in your time machine and travel back to elementary school! Grab your safety scissors, your glue sticks, tape and have some fun!

So in the present, what you’re actually going to do is cut out your map pieces. If you’re following a coast line to a river and then making the river the continuation of that coast line, you want to have that pretty easy to follow as you go to town with your scissors.
Tasmania's pretty awesome as-is ... but playing around with it gave me the more sinister look I wanted.

You may have a bunch of tiny pieces. If that’s the case, you’ll  probably want an envelope on hand to corral them while you get everything else cut up/out.

Now pull out your glue sticks and/or tape.
This part is important if your map has a lot of islands.

For smaller maps, I will glue/tape these pieces to a piece of plain white paper. (scrap paper is fine, as long as it doesn’t have a ton of stuff on the back side.

For larger maps, I just tape each piece to another and then flip the thing over and lay down a lot of tape for to keep it from shifting.

Place, secure, repeat.

Now, if you’ve got a big map going, you may need to fill in the center with other paper, just to keep the thing stable.
This one was not going to fit on an 11x17 sheet of paper....

At this point, you have the beginnings of your world!

Come back next Monday for part 2!

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Mar 16, 2016

Creating a Tolerance of Rape Culture and Discrimination: The Easy Way

There is a pervasive thing that has wormed its way into fiction and uses its own normalcy in an attempt to conform reader’s minds to a tolerance of rape culture, discrimination and ableism.
And it’s as seemingly normal as your average CISHET White Male protagonist.
This is the problem because he has become the default. Life doesn’t come with that default. It shouldn’t.

One of the things you’ll see floating about the internet is a list of reasons why reading it good for you. One of those reasons is that it fosters empathy. If you read a story about someone who is “other” you begin to understand their struggle and hopefully will begin to empathize with them. If the only books available are about the above mentioned protagonists, a cishet white male reader is not going to see anything in the world but himself.

The publishing world is slowly fixing this problem, and I know a lot of people who go out of their way to only read and write books that defy that default protagonist. Do you?

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Mar 4, 2016

Anxiety, Epilepsy, And My Writing

I make lists for everything (because otherwise, I’ll forget). My memory is shot, unless the thing isn’t actually important, and lists keep my anxiety from stabbing my brain a thousand times asking “did you forget anything?” It only stabs me ten times, tops. (I almost started this post as a list, but realized I needed more space than a bullet point provides.)

I try really hard to keep myself organized because stress is a possible trigger for my seizures (I only know for sure that they’re not light or oxygen deprivation-triggered. Bring on the strobes and the yoga breathing.) and nothing stresses me out quite like not knowing where something is when I need it.

There are really tough days. My brain felt scrambled before, but now I feel like it’s filled with little black holes waiting to gobble up random information, memories I should have a handle on, and all the motivation. When it takes me an hour to get my brain back on track, to figure out what I was writing yesterday, it’s really hard to want to take the time to rehash it all again.

When I was on my bad medication, there were times I couldn’t string a coherent sentence together in a MS. It was like I couldn’t translate the things in my head onto the computer screen. It’s a very interesting thing to be a touch typist, start writing, and even though you’re putting words on the page, they’re not the words my brain told my fingers to write… or rather they are, but they’re not the words I told my brain to tell my fingers to write.

Properly medicated, I’m so much better. I no longer have crashing waves of paranoia and depression (the alternation of which made me feel legitimately schizophrenic) and I’m fully able to type again. I still have issues with losing words* and losing my train of thought when talking (it’s not on a screen in front of me for a quick recap).

Hopefully this medication is the answer, and hopefully I’ll continue to get back to normal…. Hopefully.

*When I lose words, it’s only in English. I still know what I’m trying to say in sign language or Spanish.

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