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ArchangeI
Jul 15, 2010


Blue Star posted:

Does anyone else really hate worldbuilding? I am writing a sword-and-sorcery novel and to be honest I'm kinda making the world up as I go along. I have a basic idea of what kind of world it is, what the tone of it is, and what sort of things and events may happen in it. But I don't have maps, detailed histories, or anything like that. This particular novel takes place in a single city, and I'm sort of playing fast and loose with it. I'm just concentrating on the characters and story.

Thing is, people seem to like worldbuilding these days. They want big detailed worlds that have "verisimilitude" and magic systems. I don't feel like doing all of that. I don't feel like coming up with constructed languages, holidays, or whatever. I know a bit about what this city's culture is like but again, I'm just taking that basic idea and running with it, making up details as I go along. And if I write more novels that take place in the same world, they will be stand-alone stories. And even though they may take place in the same world, that basically just means I'm drawing from the same well, not so much that they all belong to some chronologically-ordered series of historical events.

I think people will hate it :smith:

Honestly, I've always followed the idea of world building as stage setting. No one cares if the house in the background is just painted cardboard as long as the house in the background isn't relevant. No one will even notice unless someone points it out. I think part of it is that you have a different view of the book than your readers, because you know what you didn't write. If you never talk about holidays, no one will write a review about the book saying "would have given 5 stars but only gave one because of a lack of holidays". As long as you can evoke the feeling that there is a world behind the stage setting, people won't complain. As long as you remain consistent, you can keep making it up as you go along.

How does the magic system in the Harry potter novels work? You wave a stick around, say the magic words. That's it. Kids get taught what words to say and how to wave the stick around, but it is never explained how stick, motion and words interact, because it's not needed.

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PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


Blue Star posted:

Does anyone else really hate worldbuilding? I am writing a sword-and-sorcery novel and to be honest I'm kinda making the world up as I go along. I have a basic idea of what kind of world it is, what the tone of it is, and what sort of things and events may happen in it. But I don't have maps, detailed histories, or anything like that. This particular novel takes place in a single city, and I'm sort of playing fast and loose with it. I'm just concentrating on the characters and story.

Thing is, people seem to like worldbuilding these days. They want big detailed worlds that have "verisimilitude" and magic systems. I don't feel like doing all of that. I don't feel like coming up with constructed languages, holidays, or whatever. I know a bit about what this city's culture is like but again, I'm just taking that basic idea and running with it, making up details as I go along. And if I write more novels that take place in the same world, they will be stand-alone stories. And even though they may take place in the same world, that basically just means I'm drawing from the same well, not so much that they all belong to some chronologically-ordered series of historical events.

I think people will hate it :smith:

Nobody likes worldbuilding. It's just readers don't like if things come out of nowhere and are unbelievable (as in unbelievable in the context of the story).

Don't worry about it too much, they're not quite the same thing.

If magic can do a bunch of poo poo in your world but for some reason it can't kill people then don't just throw that out in the final few chapters make that known somehow. This is why people write more than one draft.

star eater
Jan 1, 2006



Fallen Rib

People will review and whine about things you didn't include though. I got a review recently complaining no one went to the bathroom. Please kill yourself reader. Also people complaining I don't describe the characters physical features in enough detail. Um, please use your imagination isn't they why you're reading? Also: cover art.

But honestly don't sweat it. I agree, you know what you didn't write, your readers don't. They'll have completely different imagery in their heads cause their imagination will fill it out. You have it all set up so if you don't describe what if they don't see it!?

Don't worry.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

PoshAlligator posted:

Nobody likes worldbuilding.
I'm assuming you mean from an authorial standpoint, because George RR Martin's fans loving love it. There again, he's much better at world building than plotting stories, so that might be why.

My own take on it is to give the reader enough to picture it themselves. For instance if I say "The golden bridge glistened with dew, burning orange as the sun rose over the valley," I don't need to tell you the colour of the grass, the political system of the country or what you can hear in the background for you to picture it.

If it's important that a character goes east to get to a city, specify it's to the east. Otherwise leave it to the reader to imagine the land. Maps and poo poo are only important if you make them important.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


Bobby Deluxe posted:

I'm assuming you mean from an authorial standpoint, because George RR Martin's fans loving love it. There again, he's much better at world building than plotting stories, so that might be why.

My own take on it is to give the reader enough to picture it themselves. For instance if I say "The golden bridge glistened with dew, burning orange as the sun rose over the valley," I don't need to tell you the colour of the grass, the political system of the country or what you can hear in the background for you to picture it.

If it's important that a character goes east to get to a city, specify it's to the east. Otherwise leave it to the reader to imagine the land. Maps and poo poo are only important if you make them important.

I meant nobody likes worldbuilding as a reader, because they won't know about it. Unless you plan on releasing a whole bunch of history stuff and everything like Tolkein. But you won't, so don't.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


Compare the Hobbit to the Silmarillion. One of these contains world building, and the other causes abdominal distress in all but the most dedicated of Tolkien fans.

Don't cause abdominal distress in your readers and you'll be fine. :D

Trustworthy
Dec 28, 2004

with catte-like thread
upon our prey we steal


PoshAlligator posted:

Nobody likes worldbuilding.

My inner instant gratification monkey loving loves worldbuilding! It's the #1 excuse that lets me pretend I'm being productive while I'm really procrastinating on writing.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


Trustworthy posted:

My inner instant gratification monkey loving loves worldbuilding! It's the #1 excuse that lets me pretend I'm being productive while I'm really procrastinating on writing.

Amended statement:

Nobody (but you) likes (your) worldbuilding (because it's not very important anyway).

My novel is an alternate history novel set specifically around one city so I mean I have a list of historical changes and some notes on how the city is different to how it actually is and the sort of world it has become, but I'm not going full 100 page document on it here.

I just think you do need to be careful not to full in its trap. Nothing is more important than your words and a finished first draft.

maestro81
Sep 4, 2014


I've enjoyed being self published, and helped some of my friends do the same thing. There's some really good fiction out there that you won't find in a bookstore.

Szmitten
Apr 26, 2008


This is more relevant to those of you using CreateSpace and such, but what fonts do you like to use for the main body of text? Do you just use Garamond? Minion? Caslon? I was looking through Cloud Atlas and which apparently uses Requiem and is so, so good. Has anybody tried Linux Libertine? I'm finding interior book design fascinating.

Hijinks Ensue
Jul 24, 2007


I just use Garamond. I always do a print edition but I sell so few that it isn't worth getting uber-fantastic fonts.

HPanda
Sep 5, 2008


I'll disagree a little on the world-building. As a reader, I love the bits where the characters learn how magic works, what causes the zombie plague, where the races all come from and how that influences them, why that ancient tomb with items of legend exists and who put it there, what makes that unexplored planet different and dangerous, etc. It's one of the things I read fantasy and sci-fi for. To me, it affects how I see the characters since they're reacting to this world as it is.

Take what I say with a grain of salt, though, because my writing has very mixed reviews when it comes to world-building (it runs the range from people absolutely loving the detail to absolutely hating it). I write my fantasy for fun, and I write what I like to read. Of course, I also write in towns that are essentially water parks run by wizard Walt Disney and experimental travel businesses specializing in using students as test dummies, so I feel like world-building is half the fun.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Szmitten posted:

This is more relevant to those of you using CreateSpace and such, but what fonts do you like to use for the main body of text? Do you just use Garamond? Minion? Caslon? I was looking through Cloud Atlas and which apparently uses Requiem and is so, so good. Has anybody tried Linux Libertine? I'm finding interior book design fascinating.

Garamond and Caslon, yeah.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


I don't even know what font my CreateSpace book is. Draft2Digital just rolled up with a nice interior and I said "yeah".

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


PoshAlligator posted:

I don't even know what font my CreateSpace book is. Draft2Digital just rolled up with a nice interior and I said "yeah".

So how did that process go? I haven't worked through them for CreateSpace books yet, and I'm curious what it was like.

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Sundae posted:

So how did that process go? I haven't worked through them for CreateSpace books yet, and I'm curious what it was like.

I've used D2D twice for Createspace PDF's and it looked good on both accounts.

The cover art ends up being the biggest headache, but it's easier now that I've done it a few times.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


Cover art was a bit of a headache, yeah, and I've still not bothered to update it to my new ebook cover art.

It looks nice, yeah. CreateSpace was just an aside for me so I figured I'd just use D2D as the easy route. Similarly they're easy enough for other non-Amazon markets. Amazon is my focus so I go straight through them.

Not that I've made much money from either, though.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Here's some pics of the paperback of the antho I edited.



PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


ravenkult posted:

Here's some pics of the paperback of the antho I edited.





Looks really great all put together like that!

You have a good spread of reviews on Amazon too. Hope you're proud!

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Oh rock on! Great job!

painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax


Is it cool to drop a link to my serial fiction here, or does that not count as self-publishing for the purposes of this thread?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


Did you publish it yourself? :haw:

(Post it. Someone may mock your cover or blurb, but that's par for the course here.)



Edit: Ravenkult, that is one snazzy looking interior. :)

painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax


I don't have an official blurb yet! But here it is. It's a serial, meaning I more or less update on the webcomic model, a small chunk three times a week and it's all up for free. I intend on getting a Patreon once I'm sure I'm sticking with this.

Imperfect
Sep 24, 2009


Kind of a dumb question:

My initial output is gonna be pretty bad, despite my best efforts. At the very least, pretty bad compared to whatever I'll put out a couple years from now, say.

Should I be releasing initial stuff under a pen name, so there's a kind of barrier between my early, lovely works and whatever I end up writing later? I remember seeing an author page in Amazon where a dude mentioned in his profile that he also wrote X genre as pen name Y.

Or is this the kind of thing you only tend to do to keep your genres separate, most especially used if you write, uh romance?

I just don't want to do something at the beginning where I am clueless that will make life hard down the line, is all.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Imperfect posted:

Kind of a dumb question:

My initial output is gonna be pretty bad, despite my best efforts. At the very least, pretty bad compared to whatever I'll put out a couple years from now, say.

Should I be releasing initial stuff under a pen name, so there's a kind of barrier between my early, lovely works and whatever I end up writing later? I remember seeing an author page in Amazon where a dude mentioned in his profile that he also wrote X genre as pen name Y.

Or is this the kind of thing you only tend to do to keep your genres separate, most especially used if you write, uh romance?

I just don't want to do something at the beginning where I am clueless that will make life hard down the line, is all.

Yes, pen names are used by everyone in romance and in romance but I'm pretty sure they are also used in genres all over. There's no reason why you can't write as I.M. Perfect and tell your mom or anyone else "Pssst, this is me" if it ends up being your full time job. (don't choose I.M. Perfect as your pen name)

Imperfect
Sep 24, 2009


Well, back to the drawing board on a name, I guess...

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Pick a pen name whose domain is free for you to grab. That's really what matters most.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Has anybody got any experience with self-pubbing books with lots of illustrations? Not a graphic novel, not a kid's picture book; kind of like Shel Silverstein books or Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


quote:

Has anybody got any experience with self-pubbing books with lots of illustrations? Not a graphic novel, not a kid's picture book; kind of like Shel Silverstein books or Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

My wife is just starting to work with the new KDP Kids program to see if it can produce a reasonable illustrated books with text contributions. Most illustrated books, even ones from trad-pubs, look TERRIBLE on Kindle because of the separation of IMG and text. I bought a big pile of them to review last week and ended up refunding all of them because not a damned one was readable on a Kindle Fire.

It's tough to format illustrated ebooks right now because even the most reasonable idea (embedding text in the illustrations and making it part of the pictures) doesn't scale well depending on the device and orientation. It's all fine and well to do that on a Kindle HDX, but cell phone readers would be pissed. (Whether you care if cell phone readers are ticked off or not is your own decision. Just saying it's a potential gap.)


Check out KDP Kids and see if it works for you. If it doesn't, your next best bet is formatting the book TXT --> IMG --> TXT --> IMG --> etc etc, alternating story and image on separate screen flicks. It's not ideal, but it's the best you have going for you right now. Unless someone else here knows more and wants to ream me for bad advice (go right ahead!), it seems to me that heavily illustrated books are one area where trad-pub still wins by a wide margin.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Great information; thanks!

A1989 Honda Accord
Sep 9, 2014


I wrote a collection of short historical fantasy/horror stories to be published as a serial. It's pretty much entirely done except for the cover and the person I commissioned it from should have it done soon. All I have left is the blurb.

Can I get some help with my blurb?

"In the town of Cyprus Grove everyone has a secret. Even the dead. Three children explore a myriad of dark happenings in the first collection of stories. In the years following the American civil war many towns tried to get back to normal. For Cyprus Grove, there is no normal. The first of three mind bending tales involves a sinister snake oil salesman gifting a young girl, Rebekah, a music box. When opened the music mingles with terror as she finds herself in a nightmare hounded by living shadows. The second follows a grave digger and his assistant, Mathias, as they lay to rest a group of thieves. The problem is they would prefer not to be buried. He will have to use his wits to convince the corpses to take their final rest. In the final adventure Jacob and his neighbor take an up close look at some scarecrows that are more than they seem. They will have to escape the corn field or be lost to the monstrosities. "

There are two instances of passive voice in here and I'm not sure if I should keep them. I like one of them because it lets me end the blurb with the word "monstrosities" but the first use of it I'm stuck on. It's only 170 words. Should it be more? Also feel free to point out other reasons why it's awful. Blurbs are hard :(

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Instead of saying ''the first, the second,'' etc, use the story names.

A1989 Honda Accord
Sep 9, 2014


ravenkult posted:

Instead of saying ''the first, the second,'' etc, use the story names.

That is such good advice I feel stupid for not figuring it out myself. Does this look better?

"In the town of Cyprus Grove everyone has a secret. Even the dead. Three children explore a myriad of dark happenings in this first collection of stories. Many towns tried to get back to normal in the years following the civil war. For Cyprus Grove, there is no normal. In "Gifts and Nightmares" a sinister snake oil salesman provides a young girl, Rebekah, a music box. When opened the music mingles with terror as she finds herself in a nightmare hounded by living shadows. "Trials of the Dead" follows a grave digger and his assistant, Mathias, as they lay to rest a group of thieves. The problem is the dead men would prefer not to be buried. He will have to use his wits to convince the corpses to leave this world for the next . "Watchers of the Field" has Jacob and his neighbor take an up close look at some scarecrows that are more than they seem. They will have to escape the corn field or be lost to the monstrosities. "

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

A1989 Honda Accord posted:

"In the town of Cyprus Grove everyone has a secret. Even the dead. Three children explore a myriad of dark happenings in this first collection of stories. Many towns tried to get back to normal in the years following the civil war. For Cyprus Grove, there is no normal.

That all looks good.

quote:

In "Gifts and Nightmares" a sinister snake oil salesman provides a young girl, Rebekah, a music box.

How about "...salesman gives a music box to young Rebekah." Parses much easier.

quote:

"Watchers of the Field" has Jacob and his neighbor take an up close look at some scarecrows that are more than they seem.

I don't like "take an up close look at". Would "investigate" suffice? Also, could you be more specific about why they are being looked at closely? Do they move when you're not looking at them? Do they attract crows? In your previous two summaries you give some good tasty details for readers to bite into. This one is pretty vague.

quote:

They will have to escape the corn field or be lost to the monstrosities. "

I don't care for "lost to the monstrosities."

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


Bobby Deluxe posted:

Short stories don't sell, unless you're already famous for something else. I personally wasted a lot of time pursuing it, the thread always advises against it and the figures speak for themselves.

Exception for short erotica, but we don't discuss it in here (previous writing threads got horrible fast because of it).

How 'bout serials and novellas?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


Romance serials sell. Can't vouch for other genres.

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



I've seen a handful of scifi serials and none seem to do all that well. One particular dude has like 60 episodes out, each 10k-30k words. Maybe the combined royalties add up, but it seems to be a dud.

A1989 Honda Accord
Sep 9, 2014


Yooper posted:

I've seen a handful of scifi serials and none seem to do all that well. One particular dude has like 60 episodes out, each 10k-30k words. Maybe the combined royalties add up, but it seems to be a dud.

drat, that's disheartening. I'm hoping the horror angle catches people's interest. I'll let the thread know how it sells.


"In the town of Cyprus Grove everyone has a secret. Even the dead. Three children explore a myriad of dark happenings in this first collection of stories. Many towns tried to get back to normal in the years following the civil war. For Cyprus Grove, there is no normal. In "Gifts and Nightmares" a sinister snake oil salesman gives a young girl, Rebekah, a music box. When opened the music mingles with terror as she finds herself in a nightmare hounded by living shadows. "Trials of the Dead" follows a grave digger and his assistant, Mathias, as they lay to rest a group of thieves. The problem is the dead men would prefer not to be buried. He will have to use his wits to convince the corpses to leave this world for the next . In "Watchers of the Field" Jacob and his neighbor notice the scarecrows of the corn field have hands tipped with razors. Their investigation is cut short when the scarecrows are more alive than they appear. Jacob has to escape the seemingly never ending stalks of corn before the knife handed monsters make him their prey. "

I'm feeling pretty good about this edit.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

by sebmojo


Yooper posted:

I've seen a handful of scifi serials and none seem to do all that well. One particular dude has like 60 episodes out, each 10k-30k words. Maybe the combined royalties add up, but it seems to be a dud.

In fairness (and it could be one hell of an exception), Wool started out as a serial and did damned well.

There are always outliers, though.

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HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


Yooper posted:

I've seen a handful of scifi serials and none seem to do all that well. One particular dude has like 60 episodes out, each 10k-30k words. Maybe the combined royalties add up, but it seems to be a dud.

That's dedication.

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