And then I go offline for the next week at try to meet my deadline. And since I realized today that I've misplaced a couple of important chapters that I SWEAR I wrote, that's what's going to have to happen.
I've been trying to work on my book all day, you guys. ALL DAY. (Except when I was at work.) And I keep getting distracted and putting it off and I have a whole new scene to write and it's HARD and I just want to eat Ramen and read about stupid people on the Internet and hide from the world.
It's not going well.
What should I do?
PS. Almost forgot! I'm up on the Friday the Thirteeners blog doing a dare today! So if you want to see me do an interpretive dance to a passage from City of a Thousand Dolls, (yeah, I totally just typed that) then click here.
This book kicks all kinds of a$$. Short plot synopsis: In order to become a recognized adult, able to marry, get a job, etc, every person in the city of Kersh has to track down and kill their genetic alternate. Once you've been "activated" you have thirty days to do this or both of you die.
Again, I say. Whoa.
At this point you're probably thinking "Book reviews are cool but isn't this a worldbuilding post?"
Yes, yes it is. And you have Dualed to thank for it. See, reading this book reminded me of one of my favorite things about good worldbuilding.
The principle of Logical Outgrowth.
Logical Outgrowth means that you take the defining characteristics of your world and play them out in the details. It means that every small part of your world fits together, makes perfect sense
For example: What kind of culture grows around a system that means at any given moment, two teens may have a shootout in the street? How do the businesses and government systems adapt? How do those adaptations feed into the cat-and-mouse tactics these kids have to use?
If I were to pick something that Dualed does very well, it would be this attention to detail. Everything about the society and the everyday operations makes perfect sense. But since most of you haven't read it yet, let me use another example:
In Holly Black'sCurse Workerstrilogy, there are certain people who have dangerous powers or curses. They can wipe your memory or make you feel things you don't really feel or change you into something else. But they have to touch your skin to do it. This leads to a world where everyone wears gloves and where a bare hand is considered as agressive as a knife.
Logical outgrowth. Natural consequences.
If you can take your story idea and follow it into the logical result, if you can take that logical result and weave it into your story, you can build a world that feels completely authentic.
And you do that primarily with details. It's hard to get people to read pages of backstory and world explanation. But if you can use your details well, you won't have to. And the details can be anything, from traditions to architecture to language.
In Frank Herbert's book Dune, there is a phrase that perfectly captures the kind of detail I'm talking about. Dune is a desert planet, home to group of people known as Freman. They live in the deep desert, with no natural sources of water and thier culture reflects that. Water is precious and should be conserved even when it comes to tears. To cry at someone's death is to give a great gift. When one of the main characters cries at the death of another, the desert people are impressed and say "He gives water to the dead."
What a perfect way to demonstrate the priorities of this group of people.
I've had conversations with people who tried to make their books as generic as possible so no one could say they got anything wrong or so they could "appeal" to everyone. Don't do this. That leads you and the reader down the road to Blandtown. And no one wants to live in Blandtown.
Have faith in your vision. Find what makes your world special, what makes it different, and then go as far as you can with it. Give us the details. We, the readers, will thank you for it.
Can you think of any other books or stories that do this well?
*deducts 40 cool points from self for use of the word 'swanky'*
Seriously though, I hope you like it. There's still a bit of header-tweaking and updating-of-lists to do, but that will have to wait for a while because....
3. I'm going to a family reunion this weekend.
It will either be awesome fun or a festival of awkwardness. There's no way to know. What can be known is that it is going to eat my entire weekend. Seriously. My to-do list in the next few days is outrageous.
But I can't bring myself to mind too much because it's in Seattle and the air will be CLEAN, which is more than I can say for Boise.
4. See this map? The little dots are big fires. And that nice valley in the lower left of Idaho, smack in the middle of all the smoke? That's where I live.
(Also, poor Nevada. Stay safe, Nevada!)
The air here is currently swinging between Bad-For-Children-And-Old-People-And-Cats-With-Respiratory-Issues, (otherwise known as level orange) and Bad-For-Freaking-Everyone-For-The-Love-Of-God-Stay-Inside. (That's level red)
5. I don't feel good. 6. It's making it kind of hard to concentrate on my work. 7. Especially the second book. 8. Which is due at the end of the month.
9. This second book is a secret. It may not be a sequel. It may be something entirely different. But it will be set in the same world. And if it doesn't kill me, it should be kind of awesome.
10. Also awesome is that I was interviewed by Sabrii's wonderful Romanian book blog. The translated version made me giggle. I just hope I sounded more coherent in the original language!
11. This list thing is kind of fun. 12. But I have to stop. 13. Because of the aforementioned deadline 14. And the reunion 15. And the seven hundred other things I have to get done before the end of the month. 16. So it goes....
How have you been? What did you do this week? I'm curious!
EDIT: Omg, guys Writeoncon started today! How could I forget! It's a totally free online writing conference and you need to check it out. Lots of awesome authors giving awesome advice and awesome prizes of critiques and books and things. (I donated a critique too!)