26
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?


07
Jul 16

10 Fanfiction Stories I Want to Read

Today, let’s talk about fanfiction.

fanfiction

I like stories. I like them a lot. I like them so much that I write my own and a lot of the time, I read the stories of others. Because of my love and fascination with stories, I spend a lot of time thinking about fictional characters and what they do outside of the actual canonical story. (As well as thinking about what fictional career I would like.) For that very reason, I’m bringing you a list of 10 fanfiction stories I want to read. So, if you come across any of these on the internet, know that you are obligated by law to send me a link.

And with that, let’s get to it!

fanfiction draco malfoy

The Malfoys being tried for their war crimes.

Any society that has a list of “unforgivable curses” naturally must also have a list of unforgivable war crimes. And I find it hard to believe that anyone who helped the Dark Lord rise to power and called themselves a Death Eater wouldn’t be tried for those crimes. I would also like to read about the Malfoys when they are locked up at the wizarding version of Guantanamo.

And I wouldn’t be mad if this was made into an attraction in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Bilbo Baggins - fanfiction

Bilbo workshopping There and Back Again in an Elven MFA program.

Sure, the elves are basically the purest and most godlike creatures in Middle Earth, but that doesn’t stop me from assuming that they are pretentious, judgmental assholes when it comes to the creative writing workshop table. I bet Bilbo brings his book into the room and takes his place at the round table, then Celebrimbor and Glorfindel start tearing his work apart by saying all those shitty things that assholes say in workshops.

In this particular story, Celebrimbor is the goody two-shoes who wants the professor to love him, so he says shit like, “You have to learn the rules first, then you can break them. So you have to be aware of the tradition before you transfer the role of the hero to Bard the Bowman.” Then, Glorfindel is the asshat who would want Bilbo to take out any sort of so-called feminine qualities from the book, like when the dwarves help clean up the kitchen after the unexpected party. He’d also want Beorn to be more of a Bukowski sad sack character.

Downton Abbey - fanfiction

Lady Edith enjoying a moment of happiness at Downton Abbey.

So, I haven’t seen the final season of Downton yet, and I don’t know if I can take any more emotional roller coaster rides with Julian Fellowes at the control panel, just laughing maniacally as everything I love turns to absolute shit. But I do know this: Lady Edith deserves to be happy.

Lady Edith deserves to be happy. Click To Tweet

And I don’t care what form that takes. So, if she isn’t an ecstatic ball of joviality in the sixth season, then I’ma need someone to pen a tale where Edith sits on a merry-go-round with her kid and eats cotton candy while the air is a perfect 72 degrees and no one gets a sunburn.

Fanfiction - star trek

Lieutenant Commander Data attempting to install the newest iOS update.

(YES I KNOW HE’S AN ANDROID SO YOU THINK HE PROBABLY USES THE ANDROID PLATFORM BUT THIS IS FANFICTION SO GET UP OFF THIS ALSO YOU’RE CRAZY IF YOU THINK THAT THERE AREN’T APPLE PRODUCTS ALL UP IN THAT STARSHIP ENTERPRISE.)

Anyway, I just imagine he wouldn’t have enough memory to do the update initially, then he’d put it off, just like you do when you don’t want to update your phone in the middle of the day. But then, when he isn’t expecting it, Data would accidentally hit the update button, and then boom! He’d be out, installing that update in the middle of a critical mission, and you can bet that Q would be a real dick about it.

Peaky Blinders - Fanfiction

The Shelby family confronting a business partner/enemy using nothing but the phrase “Are you laughing at my brother?!”

Admittedly, I’m a little sad that the third season of Peaky Blinders isn’t just six straight hours of the Shelby brothers saying this over and over as they fight their enemies and marry each other off to gypsies. (Though, I do understand why the creators of the show chose not to do this.) Anyway, remember that scene in season 1, episode 4 of The Wire where they only use variations of the word “fuck?” For reference, also obviously NSFW:

I want to read a scene where the Shelby brothers confront someone, and only use the phrase “Are you laughing at my brother?!” I don’t care who they are beating up or why they are. I just want this to happen.

Fast and the Furious - fanfiction

The Toretto Family getting kicked off the go-karts at a fun park.

I mean, because obviously they would be. You can get kicked off the go-karts at Celebration Station here in Oklahoma City for the smallest transgression. (Not that I would know or anything, or that I’ve accidentally caught a go-kart on fire.) Naturally the Torettos proclivity for flips and drifting would get them kicked out fast, thus ruining the birthday party of little Jack O’Conner.

Don’t worry, though. Uncle Dom and Aunt Letty would make it up to Jack by giving a Power Wheels car to ride around in. And naturally, they’ve modified it to go faster.

Huckleberry Finn - fanfiction

Huckleberry Finn making out with me.

This is a long-standing literary crush. I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THIS.

This is a long-standing literary crush. I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THIS. Click To Tweet

Also, if you have an inexplicable love for all things Huck Finn, I sincerely recommend that you check out Band of Robbers. It will definitely intensify your infatuation.

Avengers - Fanfiction

The Avengers picking out a game room couch at Ikea.

If you thought tensions were high in Captain America: Civil War, that’s nothing compared to the flaring tempers in an Ikea. And you know what? Even though they’ve all actually experienced the world nearly ending multiple times, I bet that Hawkeye would feel like it really was ending if the gang didn’t get the purple sectional, just as I’m sure Black Widow would prefer the black patent leather chaise. And whatever the crew ended up buying, I’m sure it would at some point be smashed by the Hulk. Only he wouldn’t really be angry. It would just be an excuse for him to get rid of the couch that he didn’t really like.

Waiting for Godot - fanfiction

Vladimir and Estragon finally meeting Godot, and agreeing they never want to see him again.

As an English major, I think I was forced to read Waiting for Godot roughly 63,497 times during my tenure as an undergrad. For this reason, I have often thought about what sort of turn the play would take if Didi and Gogo were to actually meet Godot. I have thus concluded that those two lovable tramps wouldn’t enjoy his company, and stand him up next time, only to be found waiting in a more ridiculous location, like a DMV line or camping out for tickets to a Star Wars movie.

Batman - Fanfiction

A Batman story that doesn’t dwell on the death of Bruce’s parents.

I’m not sure why, but pretty much every Batman movie ever has to have the terrible scene where we see Bruce’s parents get shot. And I’m not saying that this isn’t a formative experience for little Brucie, but I am saying that it’s definitely not what makes him Batman. It’s important, but I’m pretty sure his training with Ra’s al Ghul is a little more important. Also, his time spent with Alfred is also important. (Thanks to Fox’s Gotham for showing how Bruce and Alfred get on after Thomas and Martha die.)

And I get that seeing how Bruce witnessed the murder of his parents is supposed to make us feel sympathy for him. But it kind of does the opposite. He had enough money that he could live in complete comfort for his whole life. Other kids in that situation would’ve been bounced between relatives and foster homes until they turned 18 and were no longer anyone’s problem.

And let’s be real. Batman’s origin story has been done to death.

Batman's origin story has been done to death. Click To Tweet

I would really like to see a story that goes into detail about how he does restorative yoga to heal his body after superhero-ing all day, or about how pissed off Alfred is that Bruce can never remember to use a goddamn coaster.

So what about you? What fanfiction are you dying to see/read?