Craft Discussion: World Building

CraftandWritingThis month, Jen hosted a discussion on world building and the process that goes along with creating our stories, whether they be short or longer projects.

What, in your opinion, encompasses a “world” in any given story? Is it strictly a base setting, or is there more to it than that?

Julie: I think world building can mean a lot of things, and it depends on the story. It also depends on what serves the story, and some of the world is built in the syntax of the lines. The rhythm of sentences can contribute to how a world is built or perceived by the reader. (Can you tell I’ve been reading about syntax?)

Anne: For me, the “world” is everything from setting to how it affects the characters and/or situations. Without world-building, there can be no dragons in Manhattan. No magic in New Orleans. It’s the base, for sure, but it seeps into every aspect.

Audrey: It definitely depends on the story, but in general, it’s the backdrop for every scene, what your characters live and breathe.

Jen: I agree, it’s everything. It should be full of sensory details, too. I want it to be almost tactile.

Julie: And of course, there are the things that make world building the foundation, the setting and norms and rules.

Anne: World-building is important even if you’re not writing fantasy.

Jen: Rules are a big thing, but especially in the genres we frequent. I think there are more rules in fantasy worlds because so many factors can be manipulated.

Julie: Yep. Every story I learn something new.
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Craft: A December Discussion on Process

IT’S BEEN SIX MONTHS SINCE THE FOUR OF US STARTCraftandWritingED CONTRIBUTING REGULARLY TO CIMMERIAN TALES. THIS IS OUR THIRD PROCESS CHAT — WE TALK ABOUT WHAT WE DO DIFFERENTLY WHEN WE WRITE LONG, RETURNING TO CHARACTERS WE HAVEN’T SEEN IN MONTHS, AND HOW THE SEASONS PLAY INTO OUR PROMPTS. ENJOY!

Who are a few of your favorite writers, or writers after whom you model your work?

Jen: Everyone is going to get tired of listening to me talking about Maggie Stiefvater, so I’m just going to say Maggie Stiefvater, and that’s it.

Julie: I still need to read her. I could name a million people.

Jen: I think I could, too.

Audrey: I don’t know that I model my work on anyone (mostly because I’m not that talented), but I love Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury, Gail Carson Levine, Maria V. Snyder, Phillipa Gregory. I could go on and on, too.

Julie: I’d say top of my favorites list would be Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin. I always feel inspired when I read Kelly Link’s short stories, and my hands-down favorite books as a kid were the His Dark Materials trilogy.

Anne: The authors that influenced me when I was younger were: Stephen King, Anne Rice, Peter Beagle, Gaston Leroux, and Emily Brontë. Authors that influence me now are: Holly Black, Kristin Cashore, Neil Gaiman, and about a dozen more.

Jen: Holly Black is a genius

Audrey: I still need to read her. Anne gave me a book.

Anne: Her writing is sparse, but it’s so rich and deep.

Julie: I should pick her up, too.

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Craft: Another Discussion on Process

CraftandWritingThanks for joining us for our second group chat about process! The four of us have been contributing to Cimmerian Tales for three months now and we have been inspired by a sculpture, a song, and a poem.Which was your favorite type of prompt and why?

Anne:  Originally, I thought my favorite prompts would always be the sculptures. Sculpture speaks to me like no other art form. Then we had some music prompts. I love music prompts! They’re my new favorite. As we learned from this month, poetry is my nemesis. >:D

Audrey:  My favorite was the sculpture. A lot of times when I write, I have picture in my head of a place or a moment that I want to capture so the sculpture worked really well for me.

Julie:  I’ve only done one image and one song prompt so far, and both of those were tough for me. But I’m not convinced that the poetry prompts are my favorite … they just come with more words that work into my brain.

Jen:  I find rhythm really helpful when building a story so I always have fun with the music prompts.

Anne:  Yes, the beat really seems to seep into my story. It’s like magic.

What story are you most proud of?

Anne:  Honestly, I’m always most proud of the one I’m working on right now. I’ve liked writing past stories, but I look back and know I can do better in future.

Audrey:  Nothing stands out as a favorite?

Anne:  Well, Dreesicle, I also have a problem with remembering things for longer than a week.

Audrey:  LOL. I see your point, Anne. I love my stories until I put them up and then I want to change a million things.

Julie:  I don’t know if there’s a story I’m most “proud” of. I still really like my Stars prompt story, and I was happy with the story that came out of Crystallize despite having no idea where I was going. I also like the device I used for the Loud Without prompt, but I’m not going to spoil it here.

Audrey:  I think the one that turned out best was “Mr. MacGregor’s Garden,” the flash piece I wrote for No Rules Friday in August.

Jen:  I love that flash piece, Audrey! I think I’m most happy with my Samothrace prompt because such a strong world came out of it and I can see it building in mind.

Anne:  Oh, please, let me have a trilogy of that world. No, a seven book series!!

Audrey:  Thanks, Jen. I loved your Samothrace one.

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Anne’s Book Club 02

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (summary from Amazon.com):

Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s only novel. It was first published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, and a posthumous second edition was edited by her sister Charlotte. The name of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors on which the story centres (as an adjective, wuthering is a Yorkshire word referring to turbulent weather). The narrative tells the tale of the all-encompassing and passionate, yet thwarted, love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.

My Thoughts on Wuthering Heights and Other Adaptations …

Craft: A Discussion on Process

CraftandWritingWELCOME TO OUR FIRST GROUP CHAT ABOUT PROCESS! PLEASE TAKE A MINUTE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL US WHAT YOU WRITE.

JEN: I’m Jen. I write about shape-shifters and kissing, apparently, but not exclusively.

ANNE: Bonjour! I’m Anne, and I write the things in my dreams. Also things that have happened to me. Also things that are bloody. Also, I like to say also.

JULIE: I’m Julie and I write about whatever strikes me, and often that is relationships, gender, and things that don’t exist in real life. Sometimes wolves.

AUDREY: Hello! I’m Audrey and I write YA fiction.  I like to write romance and dark things, preferably together.

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