Sep 17

Worldbuilding Questions Answered with The A-Zs of Worldbuilding by Rebekah Loper

As a writer, I always have a ton of worldbuilding questions.

Note: I received a free copy of The A-Zs of Worldbuilding in exchange for an honest review.

Worldbuilding Questions Answered with The A-Zs of Worldbuilding by Rebekah Loper

How do I lay out the map of the city so that it makes sense? How do I explain the currency the characters are using? How should the society I’m creating store knowledge? What does this society do in the event of a birth or death? How does science work in this world?

What are your biggest worldbuilding questions? Click To Tweet

Sure, for the most part, the fiction I’ve written in the past has been fairly mainstream. And that tends to be what I read and write most often. But I’ve got some science fiction ideas, y’all. And these ideas come with a whole mess of worldbuilding questions.

Luckily for me, Rebekah Loper is here with some help.

I met Rebekah at Mini-Con, and got to really know her this past spring when I went to my first writer’s retreat. She’s a dedicated fiction writer and blogger, and homegirl even owns chickens.

At the retreat, I not only got to hear her read some of her fiction out loud, but I got to talk to Rebekah about her nonfiction book she was working on at the time. So, when she finally finished The A-Zs of Worldbuilding, I jumped at the chance to review it.

What is The A-Zs of Worldbuilding?

This book is your one-stop shop for answering all the worldbuilding questions a writer has while trying to create a fictional world. Sure, it’s easy to say that you’re going to write some science fiction or fantasy work of staggering genius, but the truth is, you’ve got to do the legwork.

This book allows writers to do that legwork easily. With a topic for every letter of the alphabet, the workbook pages within the book allow the writer to answer specific questions about the story world. Everything from architecture to clothing to language to time to religion is covered.

Hell, this book enables writers to answer worldbuilding questions they aren’t even thinking of asking.

Why should writers care about these worldbuilding questions?

For me, as a reader, I have to feel grounded in the story, or I stop reading. And when the writer hasn’t taken the time or effort to answer those questions, it’s HELLA OBVIOUS to the reader. And it pulls the reader out of the story.

Honestly, fantasy and science fiction stories take a lot more effort than many other types of fiction, just because you have to create everything from scratch. And The A-Zs of Worldbuilding allows writers to carefully and thoughtfully build those worlds for the betterment of their stories. Not only does answering these questions create a richer story world, but it also creates more realistic characters with more intricate plot complications. Basically, it turns your story up to 11.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say that J.R.R. Tolkien had never written The Hobbit, or given us the “Concerning Hobbits” passage in the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring. Would any reader logically be able to follow the story?

Or, for a more recent example, let’s look at Game of Thrones. Georg R.R. Martin sets it up so that we understand that winter 1.) is  hella long and dangerous and only comes around every so often, and 2.) is coming. But if we didn’t get that tiny tidbit of information, would we even care about the army heading south to ruin Westeros? No. We’d just be confused because we know that winter is roughly three months, and how bad can it be?

That’s why you have to answer these worldbuilding questions. That’s why writers need to take the time and think about the world they’re creating. That’s why this book is so damn useful!

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of The A-Zs of Worldbuilding, you can take a look here at what formats Rebekah has made available to you. And bonus! If you sign up for her email list before September 30 (this Saturday for those of you sans calendar), you can get a 25% discount on the paperback.

Worldbuilding Questions Answered with The A-Zs of Worldbuilding by Rebekah Loper Click To Tweet

How do you go about worldbuilding? What are your biggest worldbuilding questions?

Psssst! Hey. I like your hair. You have a cute butt. Wanna sign up for my email list?

Jul 17

Letter Board Quotes: Motivation for the Delightfully Unobliged

After moving into my new place, I knew I wanted to decorate my new home in the nerdiest way possible. But I also wanted it to look like the home of someone with a hella famous Instagram account — even if I don’t have the budget to decorate that way. The solution was clear. I got a letter board. And I’ve been obsessing over my letter board quotes ever since.

Letter Board Quotes: Motivation for the Delightfully Unobliged

I’m a words person. That’s the most important part of songs and movies. It’s what I focus on in stories — the words the author chose. I scrutinize why someone would phrase something one way and not another, and try to derive  meaning from it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Letter Board Quotes: Motivation for the Delightfully Unobliged Click To Tweet

Naturally, when I saw the first letter board in my Instagram feed, I thought to myself, “Damn. I need one of those.” But the problem with letter boards is that they are generally too small for all the letter board quotes I need to see on a daily basis. That, and they’re only sold at hipster kitsch/craft stores that are stupid expensive.


But then one day, whilst hanging out with Katie, writer/photographer/artist/mermaid extraordinaire, I spotted this gigantic letter board at a thrift store. Finally, one that could hold all the letter board quotes I had in my brain!

Naturally, I didn’t buy it first thing. My brain said I didn’t need it, and for a thrift store find, it was kind of expensive. (It was $24.99. I know this isn’t that expensive. But in my head, it was at a thrift store, so nothing should be over $5.)

I thought about it for a week before I went back to pick it up. And I’m so glad I did.

Included in that $24.99 price tag was a whole hoard of letters. Not enough for my needs, but enough to say, write the daily lunch special or list out whose office is in what room. (I imagine that’s how the board was used in its past life. And I’m glad I could give it a real purpose in its second life.)

Letter Board Quotes

To supplement the letters I did have, I ordered some more from Amazon. Only, as my father says, I have no attention to detail, and thus ordered some letters that are about a quarter of an inch bigger than the letters that came with the board. Which, could ruin the aesthetic, or add a real ransom note sort of feel.

If you ever want to see your precious Lucille Clifton quote again, leave $500 in unmarked bills on the bookcase beneath the letter board.

Ruined aesthetic, or ransom note chic? You decide. Click To Tweet

My letter board quotes are a mishmash of things. Firstly, they are things I need to remember. Secondly, they are reflections of where I am currently. And thirdly, they are things that Mari and Stephanie wanted to impart to me the other day when they came over to talk blogging, the universe, and life in general.

Letter Board Quotes - The Hold Steady

This is a quote from Sapphire by The Hold Steady. (I think we know how I feel about The Hold Steady.) The full line that always gets me is “‘Cause dreams they seem to cost money // But money costs some dreams.” It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I think anyone who has an artistic pursuit they’re chasing can identify with it.

I know I have friends who are more monetarily successful than I am. And I’ve been toying with the idea of taking a position that pays more. But the thing is, I don’t have to. I’m happy where I am, and I’m quite comfortable. I’m delightfully unobliged — no kids, no partner, just a chill dog who likes naps and walks in equal measure. At the end of the day, I have the job I have because it gives me time to write. I need the flexible schedule and the months off that teaching offers so I can work on the Next Great American Novel. (Or short stories that no one will ever read.)

Letter Board Quotes - Lucille Clifton

This Lucille Clifton quote is from an untitled poem from the book Mercy. The beginning of the poem goes, “your mother sends you this // you have a teapot // others have teapots // if you abuse them // they will break.”

Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure what Ms. Lucille (may she rest in peace) was talking about, but to me, the poem has always been about opportunities and talents. You have this time to do what you can do. Others have that time too. If you waste it, it’s gone.

And just a side note: If you have some sort of spiritual concern, but ain’t the churchin’ type, may I recommend the poetry of Lucille Clifton?

Letter Board Quotes - Frank Turner

I’ve been listening to a lot of Frank Turner lately, and incidentally, I’ll be seeing him open for Jason Isbell in Oklahoma City in September. (Are you going?! You totally should. You can buy me a beer at the show.)

This song has kind of been my mantra since back in April. I feel like I’ve completely started over, and things are going well. But emotionally, I feel like a scrappy stray dog that lives in an alley, and I’m trying not to be that way. So, knowing I still have time to get better is a good thing to hear.

Letter Board Quotes - Elf

Stephanie put this on the board, and I think it’s the perfect addition. I have probably watched Elf too many times to count, and even though I’m not a big fan of the whole Christmas season, Elf is a Christmas movie I can watch. And thinking about that movie always makes me smile, which is something I have to remember to do more often.

Letter Board Quotes - Fuckery

Perhaps the most motivating of my letter board quotes comes from Mari. Not only is it fun to say, but it’s just good advice. Mari pulled up this meme on her phone:

Onward Buttercup! There's fuckery to spread!

Mari had this saved to her phone. Because of course she did. Unfortunately, even though I ordered extra letters, there weren’t enough for the real quote, hence why it’s shortened and there are some numbers and symbols in there. But I think it really enhances the overall message of fuckery.

Onward, Buttercup! There's fuckery to spread! Click To Tweet

And, since we met on Sunday before the big Game of Thrones premiere, Hodor made an appearance. And then we all almost cried thinking about how he died.

Letter Board Quotes - Hodor

I can only assume that “Hodor” made it into the letter board quotes because it’s generally good life advice not to let Bran Stark warg into your brain from the future when he’s seeing into the past.

Also, it’s just polite to hold the damn door for others, even if you’re being torn apart by the undead.

So, what about you? What letter board quotes should I add? Do you have some letter board quotes that keep you going through weird times? Did you even notice my hookah with the Crown Prince of Iran on it?