|Here's what I've been up to "lately".|
Love at a GlanceThere was a moment when she looked at him, and he looked back, when she hated him so tenderly she could cry; love drank her tears, so they ran down the inside of her face. The force of grand emotions whittled down to a tine -- a point he could not see. It was best, because something as innocuous as hatred, like air bubbles stopping the valves of her heart as irises locked, would, she knew, also be met with discontent. There was too much, and her love had to be something better than flocking butterflies, feeding on the mucus covering the eyes of a dead salmon. He was sure that every broken gaze was just a blink. Tasting the line of his jaw with the bottoms of her fingers; porcupine spines bit their way inside. She was not helpless. She brought him to kiss away the skin and leave it to be chaffed by air as delicate as his breath. She requested. She received. She hated.Love at a Glance by *Goldfish-In-Space
The heat in her body boiled all her blood away and she pearled, then flaked, until she was the husk of a fish on a
The Real-Life Stats on Spontaneous RomanceShe singled him out of the rest of the people in the waiting room, because he was wearing an ascot as a scarf like he didn’t know the difference. Maybe he didn’t. His shoes didn’t match; one was red and the other was black, though they were both chucks. Behind his glasses, his eyes peered out a pallid, self reflective grey.The Real-Life Stats on Spontaneous Romance by *Goldfish-In-Space
An image of him smiling came to her, and made her smile in turn. Then she decided to notice the empty seat beside him and got up. She sat beside him with a whump sound and he didn’t look up.
“So...” she said, “have you noticed that the lady over there, the one wringing her hands like that, is twisting a ring, but it’s on the wrong finger to be a wedding ring?”
“Uh...” he looked up at her, “no?”
“There, she’s the one in the only cushioned chair in here. The one with the hat.”
He looked over, and then down again.
“Yeah, I guess she is.”
“Who do you think s
The Price of Opting OutShe woke up not in a pool of her own blood, but in the alley behind her house with one wrist healed new and pink. As light filtered down through the trees, she slapped her hand across her eyes and bolted the last few meters into her suite. Diane woke up with the sun. Slamming the door, she closed the blinds in the living room and blinked in the darkness. Making a small sound, she examined the scar on her wrist. Only the smallest traces of blood remained over what had obviously been a twisted wound. It tapered off in the impression of teeth, and she walked into the bathroom and closed the door.The Price of Opting Out by *Goldfish-In-Space
The phone she had left on the sink sat dead, and she checked for her pulse.
“One, two, three...” she muttered numbers and patted her still sore wrist for a pulse. Her neck was next. Prodding, she found nothing. She tried with her other hand, and still found nothing. Looking up, she saw her reflection hover like a ghost in the mirror. Her eyes were a wide, milky white that turned sharp
DisassociationYour burnDisassociation by *Goldfish-In-Space
but with the aftertaste of hot peppers
the chafe of spent kisses is an old feeling
dim in the back-brain
You finger your lips
feel the dry ridges over them
passing fingerprints over something else unique
from one side to the other you let the hand slip down
there's nothing in the eyes though
the body is vacant behind them
a vessel that used to be yours
A Brand New PlaceHe looked up at the silver film between above and water, in the place where it distorted with the flow from the river. He cut through the brackish tide to the edge of the world where he could grip the rock and see the place above. Safe from his mother’s cautionary glances he poked at the water’s end and found no resistance. A strange heat came over his skin, and he pulled his hand back. Something moved above the water. He jumped back and trunks came crashing into the sea. They popped in and out until they floundered, and a face uncannily like his own crashed into the water. It was missing the fluff of gills around its jaw, and had instead a strange mat of fuzz on its crown. It opened its eyes and let out a blub before thrusting its entire head above. Muffled, noise came through the ocean. More trunks and another face burst into the water.A Brand New Place by *Goldfish-In-Space
The two creatures stood curiously in the sea, with two appendages planted onto the floor, with their top halves above. He heard them chat
Coffee Shop Blues“May you be blessed to live a nice, long life” were the words that echoed through his head every time he woke. It was the end of his dream that he tried to swat away like an errant fly. It followed the vision of the woman-- the wyrd woman as whispered by the locals-- and they surrounded her. Their faces were pale and stricken with the words directed at him.Coffee Shop Blues by *Goldfish-In-Space
She had been sitting in the coffee shop of the tourist trap, putting what was obviously ‘more’ beads into her hair. It was dark and knotted and he asked her how she washed it with so many decorations clinging.
“I don’t,” was her answer.
“It damages the beads,” she said.
With a clatter she turned her head to size him up. Finished, she made eye contact with the owner, who shrugged at her. She peered at him past the dip in her nose, and he decided she must be half asian. The beads clashed cultures in his brain and she sipped her drink, already turned away.
Closeup of a StarRayne needed a chart to find earth among the points in the sky. The fact made her stomach relax, though the nagging feeling of proximity returned on any of the days the cruise ship stopped to stargaze. The engine quieted for a day and the tourists milled about, watching space. The ring Leanne gave her weighed on Rayne’s chest. It was the only remaining piece of earth she had, and she wondered what it would look like lost in the stars.Closeup of a Star by *Goldfish-In-Space
“Relax, sweetheart.” Leanne said to her on the second day they stopped. The guide pointed out earth among the stars, any other relevant systems, and the nebulae used by the ship’s very own navigator to keep it on course.
“I am relaxed” she replied.
Leanne looked at her and rolled her eyes. The tiny Stargate nebula winked at them from outside the viewing window, and the guide pointed out a cluster to the rest of the excited tourists.
“What does space look like to you?” Leanne asked as she wrapped her arms aro
Door to DoorThe first time he had tried them, he cried, and the tears obscured his vision. He understood that was he was seeing was not the world around him, but something different. It was the world how it may be. The woman at the door had been correct, and through his tears he smiled.Door to Door by *Goldfish-In-Space
“Hello, my name is Maddie.” she had started, not deterred that she was one of the last remaining door-to-door salespeople in the world, or that she was trying to sell her product to a blind man. His cane had hit the door when he opened it, and Charlie, the dog, had given a little woof and wagged his tail at the company.
He supposed she looked him up and down. She was quiet for just a second before she continued.
“It’s not everyday that I get to sell my product to someone who would appreciate it the way you might-- may I ask, were you ever sighted?”
He was taken aback, but found himself answering.
“I was-- years and years ago. Why?”
“What was it that made you lose your
|Here's what I've been up to "lately".|
Three StrikesJudy took a deep breath and popped open the top of another Red Bull. She could hear one of her nine children crying from the hallway, but she just shook her head. It was only nine in the morning, and already she had played piano for the church’s 2 a.m. early risers’ service, gone shopping, planted six new vegetables in her personal sustainment garden, mowed the lawn, and fixed the kitchen table. How much more could she subject herself to, what else was there to do? Her book club did not meet until eleven, and she had already read the section seventeen times. Once she fed Joshua, there would be nothing. Maybe she could lie down for just a minute.
No, no she could not. Judy already had two strikes on her card. If she would go idle one more time, they would terminate her. Who would take care of her children? Her husband had already been terminated two years ago following a biking accident that left him bedridden. They had no other immediate family, and her oldest child was on
|Sometimes I try to give constructive advice.|
I usually accomplish being a jerk. A jerk with jargon.
Uhg, even worse.
Are you ready to build a world? Good!
The Magic Gateway, by jerry8448. This is what we want to do with worldbuilding.
Worldbuilding is a complex process, because it is essentially creating the base of a different reality from our own. An author must pull together all the elements of a 'world', and capture that in text. This applies in any genre of writing. Even non-fiction has aspects of worldbuilding because it has setting and world details the same as fiction. In any genre, if the world is flat, the story will be flat and one of the best ways to build a fictional world is to know about one's own. Stories and readers both require an interesting and engaging place to go to, and our world, as well as any imagined one, can provide this! Because our world is the base of most human experiences, it is a great place to understand for both personal and writing reasons. If the author understands the setting, there is much less of a chance of the world having obvious holes in its workings. The stronger the base reality that is created, the stronger the story will be, and the more the author understands the world they are trying to capture, the richer and more believable the world will be!
Two of the most noticeable aspects of worldbuilding are Environment and Social Structures. The Environment is the actual biological environment or environments that the story is placed in, and Social Structures are the workings of the society or societies that the story deals with.
How does Environment contribute to good worldbuilding?
Environment is the stormy night, or the sunny day the story exists inside. It is the deciduous trees turning gold in the autumn, the stunted evergreens on the snowline of the mountains and the creatures emerging from the canvas of red ocean at sunset. It helps set tone, and characters can, in some cases, be dealing with it constantly. Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road opens with a description of the book’s environment: “When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him” (1). The dark unknown of the woods is the first thing the reader sees, and it sets the tone for the entire novel. The characters interact with their environment constantly, and through the book nothing jumps out as out of place, or strange within the parameters of the story. Consideration of the story’s environment aims to make a strong world for the story to exist inside.
How do Social Structures contribute to good worldbuilding?
Social Structures are the bustling city, full of veiled men and tall ladies, or the little village with eyes peering out of mud brick huts. It is how the city treats the people in the mud brick huts, and how the people in either place are ranked from most to least important. It is the lattice on which the society grows, and knowing how it works makes navigating world details easier. China Mieville’s novel, The Scar creates multiple societies, all complex and interconnected. It leaves no glaring gaps, but instead leads the reader to the social marvel that is “Armada”, a pirate, flotsam-city on the ocean. Each culture has different values, ideas and levels of technology that when put together make an alternate earth that feels very real. Having a world that seems real to readers is one of the ultimate goals of worldbuilding as an exercise, and the consideration of social structures within a story can be one of the key elements that makes it so.
Constructing an Environment: Basic Biome Principals
A Biome is basically one system of plants, animals and the conditions they can live in. It is a specific ecosystem. One story may traverse many of these, or stay solely in one. If a story takes place in a specific location on earth, it is fairly easy to research the biome it is in. However, if the story is alternative earth, a non-earth, or a different planet biomes can be a daunting thing to capture in text. Here are some guidelines to creating your own ecosystem:
Toxic Birds, by NocturnalSea showcases some really cool adaptions found in our world in wonderful colour.
Things to Consider:
All of these things and more need to interact together to create a working ecosystem. How much does an author need to know to make a convincing system? What if the story is largely removed from the natural environment?
Constructing a Social Structure: Noticeable Social Building Blocks
There is no right way to create a society, because there are no “rules” to how they work, and the human understanding of a society has only human input. Because every reader has lived in a society, they all have a basic understanding of how they work. People intuitively understand some of the workings of interpersonal relationships, the connection between actions and consequences and morality within the limits of their culture. This means that a created society must have real depth to be rich and convincing. However, there are some consistent building blocks that can guide the creation of a society, no matter what form it takes.
Things to Consider:
Values, Spirituality/Religion and Customs are big building blocks of a culture, and they are not easily separated. Do values inform religion, or religion values? Do all customs reflect the values of a people?
Constructing Social Structure: Concrete Traits
Certain aspects of societies are "concrete" in the sense that no matter where the culture is, or what it looks like, it is moulded by these two things. Technology and Environment can have far reaching affects:
Things to Consider:
Technology and Environment are involved in every society, but to what extent are they connected with each other? How do they affect customs, religion or values?
Environments & Social Structures: Putting it all Together
To construct a world that mirrors the complexity of our own requires a lot of thought. Everything: water, flora, fauna, values, spirituality, customs and technology, is interconnected in a real society, because they all exist in the same space. The complexity of both nature and human (and nonhuman?) behaviours are limitless, but this is what lets authors create convincing worlds for readers to get lost in.
How much worldbuilding is required to write a good story? Can you have too much? What other aspects of worldbuilding are helpful to think about?
Making Places: This blog doesn't update very much, but what's there sure is cool!
National Geographic: Explore the natural world; the weird, the disastrous and the beautiful.
The Secret Door: With exciting google-earth technology, explore some really neat places for inspiration.
Al Jazeera: The human and society aspects of worldbuilding found here! Though this is one of my preferred news sites, other news works to the same effect.
Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner: This book takes a very literal approach to worldbuilding. On earth, with a "future" society taken to interesting limits. Also, in a weird way, it predicted twitter.
The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin: This book takes place on a planet far outside the reaches of the earth we know, inside a society just similar enough that we can still understand it.
Abarat, by Clive Barker: Very vivid and creative fantasy for young adults. Get the version with the paintings included, so you can see his monsters as well as read about them.
The Scar, by China Mieville: I already talked about this one, but wow. Mieville paints Bas-Lag with a vividness that lets you see.