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Deep Worldbuild Project Part 2: Landscape and How It Affects Culture

So, on Tuesday (I apologize for this being a few days late. I had to wait for my mom to send me the pictures since they were taken on her camera. :P) we worked on the outlines of the three (or three of? Who knows. More might pop up.) continents on the planet I’m creating for this series. (If you missed that post, you can read it here.)

I’ve decided to call the planet Themar, since I can’t exactly call it “the planet I’m creating for this series” in every post. I mean, I could, but it would get really tedious and annoying, so we don’t want to do that. I’ve come up with names for each of the countries I created, as well. The main kingdom we’re focusing on is Kaloris, the one with the lagoon is Adrelia, and the last one is Roenor. I think Kaloris is going to be the most powerful, and Roenor will be the center of trade.

But on to the matter at hand. I’ve gotten better map pictures now, and I’ll share them with you here so you can see them blank before we continue. (I had to graft halves together, so they still look weird. :P)

Kaloris-small

Roenor Graft

Adrelia Graft

There we go. Nice neat(er) copies that you can actually see. So wonderful. All right.

Now, I’ve made a change of plans for this post. On Tuesday I said it would be about landscape, but as I began drafting this post I realized how hard it is to keep the culture separate from the landscape (and also how boring it is to just talk about the landscape), so instead we’re talking about how the landscape affects the culture that lives around it.

We will, however, start with the images of the landscape. This was really tedious with such big maps, but it’s possibly the most necessary part of this process. What’s the point of having a blank map, right?

So here we have the maps with their brand new terrain.

Kaloris Graft

Roenor Terrain Graft

Adrelia Terrain Graft

Voila. I was way overly happy with the rivers. My old maps had weird, wide, wonky-looking rivers. Example:

Zidor

That thing that looks like a noodle arm with a fist? That’s a river with a lake at the end of it. So having actual professional-looking rivers is a big deal for me.

Kaloris

The Northeast (Kor-Baen)

We’ll start with the northeastern region of Kaloris.

Kor-Baen Region

It’s going to be called Kor-Baen, and the big old mountain ridge that cuts it off from the rest of Kaloris is called the Baenor. Beyond the Baenor mountains there’s quite a bit of grass before we get to a snowy part (indicated by a squiggly line and a few poorly-drawn glaciers).

I can already tell that Kor-Baen is going to be really interesting. It’s feared, rarely visited by any of the inhabitants of the other Kaloris regions, and extremely dangerous. And it’s also spawning a story idea in my head, as was fairly well expected. It is inhabited by dwarves, as well as several types of dangerous animals. I’m thinking to put some kind of panther-like cat up there.

Since it’s so cold up there, the dwarves live mostly on meat and much less on vegetables and grains and so forth, although the inhabitants of the southern piece of Kor-Baen probably provide some of that and send it up to their fellow Kor-Baenese.

When I added terrain, that included some rocky shorelines to indicate that those sections are up on rocky cliffs. Kor-Baen is obviously one of those places. This makes it all the more dangerous, since if you fall off of one of those cliffs… Well, it wouldn’t be pretty. Fortunately, the dwarves know their way around.

Because of the cold, rocky terrain, the dwarves have to be tough and hardy. They mine in that little mountain range on the eastern side and probably send some of their ores by way of the rangers who travel between Kor-Baen and the rest of Kaloris. They probably trade with Roenor, as well, though I haven’t decided for sure yet.

The Northwest (Shae Nir)

Shae-Nir Region

The chief feature of this region is the coast. It’s mostly sand across the more northern side, while across the western side it’s more elevated and rocky. Both of these are important to the elves who live there, since they’re mainly fishermen. The sandy shores are where they do most of their fishing, while there’s a dock at the base of the cliffs for both fishing and trade boats.

The Western Island (Egath Baen)

Egath Baen Region

This region is heavy jungle crisscrossed by several rivers. I had to make up my own symbol for jungle, because I couldn’t find anything online, so jaggedy-looking forest (basically) is what now indicates jungle on my maps. If you’d like to use that as well that’s totally fine. I’d be happy to have made something helpful. :)

Egath Baen is treated a lot like Kor-Baen (and named similarly because the dwarves were the first to inhabit Kaloris) in that it is considered dangerous (accurately so), feared, and avoided like the plague. I have yet to decide what dangerous wildlife lives there, but most of it will probably be reptilian.

The Mainland (Calen)

Calen Region

This region is mostly flatland, obviously, with a large mountain ridge in the middle, a couple lakes, and one main river. It’s not real exciting. It’s surprisingly uninhabited for its size, which makes me suspect that this is a young country. The only cities are around prominent terrain – the mountains, the lakes, the rivers, and the coast – and they’re thus widely spread out. I feel bad for whatever characters have to traverse this place.

City Names

Names are an important part of worldbuilding. They can tell a lot about the culture of the place.

Some of the names in Kor-Baen include Ulolineth, Dakineth, Avuineth, Istrineth, and Iltineth. See any patterns? Yep. They all end with “ineth,” which is dwarvish for “city.”

Shae Nir (which I’m considering renaming something like Nirieth to sound more Elven) has a similar pattern. Ianlar-Illien, Roduk-Illien, Linwe-Illien. Illien is Elven for “dwelling.”

Calen also has a specific ending to its city names. Aital, Collotal, Tiltal, Cron Hatal. The “tal” suffix means “city.”

You obviously don’t have to go into such detail with your own maps, but it can be fun to do if you want to.

Roenor

Roenor is home mostly to humans, but also to a few hundred dwarves and elves.

The Shattered Lands

Shattered Lands

This region is equally as interesting to me as Kor-Baen, and for similar reasons. It, too, is rarely visited by the Roenorians, though it’s visited more often than Kor-Baen is by the Kalorisians (ooh, that sounds like Calrissian). The Shattered Lands are completely the opposite of Kor-Baen in climate, though, as they’re desert. Think the sun-baked dry sand kind. There are quite a few tiny islands off of its coast that were once part of it but broke off. Or shattered.

Lost Fang

Lost Fang Island

This island is very barren (it’s icy just like Kor-Baen, which might be just south of it), but it’s rather interesting. It was found first by the dwarves of Kor-Baen, but they only settled one city there, and it has been the only one there ever since. The city’s name, Tetóth, literally means alone.

Telnir

Telnir Region

Telnir is the majority of Roenor. It’s where the trade happens, where goods are made, etc. Despite being a great trade partner and producing quite a few different resources, it has very few cities. They are larger than most, but they’re few and far between and – like in Kaloris – only placed at key terrain spots.

Adrelia

Adrelia is full of lush green grass and inhabited by a mix of Elves and the natives, a dark-skinned, pointy-eared race called the Morressir.

Almis

Almis Region

Almis is the southwestern region of Adrelia, and the most aggressive. Most of the country is peaceful, but Almis has a bad habit of starting issues with its neighbor across the strait, Nishmeena, and the natives there. Almis doesn’t particularly like sharing the strait and its fish with Nishmeena. One wouldn’t think Elves to be so petty.

Most of Almis is lush grassland, though they do have sandy shores on two and a half sides, as well as a patch of jungle. The land is amazingly fertile and perfect for growing crops and whatnot.

Nishmeena

Nishmeena Region

Though Nishmeena never instigates the petty wars with Almis and its Elven inhabitants, they are more than willing to finish them, and the two regions have been feuding for years.

Nishmeena’s landscape is similar to that of its rival, although it has lower elevation and sandy shores on all sides. The Morressir here are handy fishermen as well as skilled craftsmen and farmers, and some think that the wars are really the Elves’ way of saying they’re envious that the Morressir are more skilled than they.

Bisolmeena

Bisolmeena Region

Bisolmeena is like the annoyed older sister who always has to split up her younger siblings. The inhabitants there are more mixed, though leaning in favor of the natives, and it helps somewhat to stop the Almis-Nishmeena feuds.

They have the same lush, fertile land as their neighbors, and theirs is watered by a river in addition to the ocean.

Ulen

Ulen is the forgotten island off the northwest of Adrelia. It’s all sandy beach, with a copse of palm trees on it, and it’s completely devoid of citizens. Adrelians sometimes go there on vacation, but it’s not much different than the rest of the country, so it usually just lays dormant.

Country Relations

I already mentioned how Kaloris is the main power of the world and Roenor is the main trade partner, but what are relations like beyond that? Well, Adrelia pretty much keeps to itself. It’s self-sustaining and doesn’t really like interacting with outsiders.

Roenor is allies with both of the other countries and sends resources to both of them, as well. On occasion they’ll send goods to Kor-Baen separately, but usually they just receive ores from them that they then distribute to the other countries as well.

Kaloris pretty much only interacts with Roenor, although it has had some passing communications with Adrelia in the past. For the most part they don’t produce much, but they do have the largest military of the three, as well as perhaps the firmest government.

 

I feel like this was a really boring post. :P Sorry if it was. It was also really long, so here’s a link to the first few chapters of my WIP as a reward for reading through it. (I’ll post a link to the next one or two in the next post, as well so you’re not left hanging. ;))

In the next post (which will be either tomorrow or the next day) I’ll be covering the wildlife of the world.

Feel free to comment with any questions, or suggestions for ways to make these posts better and less boring. :)

Bye!

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Deep Worldbuild Project Part 1: Map Outlines

The book I’m reading (The Midnight Thief) has really inspired me in my own writing, not because of the characters or the plot, though those are incredible too, but because of the worldbuilding. I’m only seven chapters in, but I already feel immersed in the world.

I’ve wanted for years to do a deep worldbuild, which to me is to go into the nitpicky details of my story world and make it incredibly complex and amazing. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to accomplish complex and amazing, but we’ll see.

I want you to be a part of this so that you can enjoy the journey with me and maybe learn something along the way. I’m sure I’ll be learning a TON as I go.

I plan on starting with a brand new planet, a brand new map, a brand new everything (except for one continent that’s as developed as mud and grass before they’re turned into a mud pie), and build completely from scratch. For one thing it’s more fun that way, and for another I think it’ll be easier because there won’t be any preconceived notions of what stories have already taken place there and what it’s already like and whatnot. Which is not to say that I can’t later take some of what I learn in this series and apply it to my existing settings – in fact, I probably will – but for now I’m starting fresh.

I’ve decided to go ahead and do the map outline, so that this post isn’t boring and imageless (like all of my other blog posts), and I’m doing the rice method for the first time, so there will be pictures of rice on a piece of paper, as well. ;D

Rice on paper:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It looks amazing. Totally.

The finished product:

I mainly wanted to use the rice method to get irregular shorelines, and I must say that it worked. I am quite pleased with the results.

I also did two others, since I’m creating a whole new planet, so I’ll share them, too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh look, awesome lines you can’t see in the picture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And more of them!

All right. Since you can’t really see the lines in those pictures (which really stinks), I’ll just say that the first one has part of the second one in its northwest corner and there’s a little island in the southeast. And there are a bunch of tiny islands in the northeast. Other than that it’s pretty nondescript.

The second one curls around a lagoon and has an island in the northwest.

Fortunately, the first one is a little clearer. I’ll try to get better pictures by the next post.

Speaking of the next post, it’s going to be on climate and landscape and whatnot, which I don’t enjoy as much as some other things since it’s tedious, but which needs to be done.

I hope you guys enjoyed this (and that I’ll be able to make future posts a little less boring and disjointed), and I look forward to talking to you tomorrow, as well. Since I’m really excited about this, I’ll be posting every day (hopefully) with a new section, and at the end I’ll have a roundup post of any articles I may link to later on.

Bye!

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Inspire Me

 

So, Hannah at Ink Blots and Coffee Stains didn’t really tag me for this, but she did say anyone who wanted to could do it (thank you for that :)), so I am.

Here are the rules:
1. Copy these totally amazing and spectacular rules onto your post
2. Smile and twirl in a circle and look at your favorite inspiring thing and take deep breaths as you prepare for my amazingness
3. Thank your gorgeous, lovely tagger
4. Tag five other bloggers (or more. or less. or none. just whatever you want.)
5. Have fun and be honest and answer all the questions (and feel free to add some of your own!)

And now for the questions!

#1: What is one of the most inspiring things to you?

Hmm. This is a tough one, actually. Would it be weird to say “dreaming”? Because I get some awesome story ideas from my dreams. Reading is also a good one. But mostly dreaming.

 

#2: Where do you look for inspiration?

Pinterest. Their prompts and character inspiration pins almost always get me writing.

#3: When and where does inspiration tend to hit you?
Anywhere it’s inconvenient. In bed, in the car, anywhere I can’t write anything down.
#4: What’s the first thing you do when inspiration strikes?

First I marvel at this amazing idea (which is usually not as amazing as it seems), and then I scurry to find something to write it on. Unless I’m somewhere I can’t, in which case I repeat it over and over and over in my head until I get to a point where I can write it down. And usually one idea spawns another and I write all of it down.

 
#5: What’s the most inspiring book/song/website/etc., you’ve found?

Any soundtrack music is good. Or anything instrumental at all. There are so many books that I’ve found inspiring that I couldn’t possibly pick just one.

#6: What’s one piece of advice you would give to people struggling for inspiration? 
Read. Reading always helps.
(I have no idea why the text decided to get bigger in some places. O-o)
And I’ll tag:
I was so close to actually coming up with five people… *sighs* Well, anyone who’s listening to music can also do this, or just whoever wants to do it. And those tagged are not required to do it, as always. :)
Have fun!

Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine Blogger

I was nominated to do this challenge by my friend Dreamer, so thank you to her. :)
1. If you could invent a new method of delivering letters, what would it be?

Hmm. Sending them by mechanical griffins might be cool. I honestly have no idea.

2. Coffee or Tea? Or neither, if not both?

Tea. I can’t stand the taste of coffee. But I like iced sweet tea a lot better than hot tea. And as for hot drinks, my favorite is hot chocolate. :)

3. Favorite holiday of the year?

Christmas. It’s Jesus’ birthday, and on top of that I love giving gifts.

4. If asked to pick between Star Wars and Star Trek, which would you choose?

This is another tough one. Probably Star Wars, but this is like picking between apples and oranges. They’re similar and yet so not.

5. Physical books or Kindle/Nook?

Physical books. Always. And preferably paperback. Kindle books are nice enough, but I tend to forget about them because when I’m on my tablet I’m generally on it for a certain purpose. And the feel of a physical book in your hand is always better.

6. If you found yourself in Victorian England, what would your reaction be?

Probably something along the lines of, “Ugh. Corsets.” But I can’t say for sure.

7. Has a movie or book ever made you cry? Either from laughter or sadness.

No, but a couple have come close. There have been two character deaths that I choked up on, if that counts, and the ending of Atlantis Rising almost made me cry, but I’ve never actually cried at a book or a movie.

8. Quick! Aliens are attacking, what’s your first move?

Panic, probably. And then go protect my younger siblings.

9. Favorite pizza topping?

Italian sausage, ham, bacon, and black olives.

10. Do you have a “hidden” talent that can surprise new acquaintances?

Not that I know of. Although being able to sing a high G has surprised someone before.

11. What is the function of a rubber duck?

Squeaking. XD

 

And now my nominees, and since I can’t think of anyone I haven’t already nominated for something, how about… Anyone who can sing a high G, anyone who has heard of Wayne Thomas Batson, or anyone who wants to answer the following questions:

  1. Pink or blue?
  2. What book have you most wanted to throw at a wall?
  3. Favorite video game?
  4. What state would you most like to visit and why?
  5. What is your favorite kind of shoe?
  6. What mythical creature is your favorite?
  7. Wristwatches or pocket watches?
  8. Favorite book character?
  9. What is your favorite kind of cake?
  10. How many U.S. presidents can you name?
  11. Where is your favorite place to visit?

Some of these are really lame since I was coming up with them on the spot, but oh well. Have fun!

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Why I Don’t Celebrate Halloween

Let me start by warning you that I will be using arguments that I have heard and arguing against them in this post. If you stand by any of these arguments, I would like you to know that I do not mean to attack you personally, and I sincerely hope that I do not offend you in writing this. I do not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, I merely wish to get my point across.

Now, without further ado, my blog post.

I sometimes get odd looks or questions when I tell people that I don’t celebrate Halloween. The most notable of these questions is this: Why not?

Well the basic answer to that is easy. I think that it is wrong. Halloween celebrates death and darkness, and as a Christian I see that as going against everything that the Bible teaches. God is light and life, so when we celebrate Halloween we are celebrating everything that He is not.

The first argument I hear in favor of Halloween from Christians is this:

But I don’t dress up as anything scary, so it’s okay.

Maybe you don’t dress up as a skeleton or a ghost or a vampire, but you’re still participating. You’re still celebrating with everyone else and you’re still glorifying the death and darkness that Halloween is all about. God tells us that we should “not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12) and that we should “take heed that the light within us is not darkness.” (Luke 11:35). He tells us “do not love the world or the things in the world.” (1 John 2:15a).

All this to say: It’s still Halloween. It’s still a celebration of everything God is not. It’s still bad.

 

The second argument I hear isn’t even really an argument.

It’s just a holiday. It’s harmless.

It’s just a holiday, yes, but it’s a holiday in favor of godlessness. It’s not harmless. You’re embedding an idea in your mind that darkness, death, etc. are all good things. In celebrating them you put them in a good light (pardon the irony.) The third dictionary definition for “celebrate” is to “honor or praise publicly.” This is what you’re doing when you celebrate Halloween. You are publicly honoring and praising death, darkness, and decay. Is that really what you want to be doing?

 

Again, I do not mean to attack anyone, I merely wish to point out what Halloween really is and why I think that it is wrong. You may agree or disagree, I don’t care, but please don’t make any nasty comments or anything (not that I expect you to.)

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