It’s Thursday and Episode 81 of Authors in Focus Podcast!

It’s Friday Eve!

Woot!

I mailed off my taxes for the year! Boo!

Writing those checks hurt, but at least I don’t have to remember to pay them over the year!

I am 75% done with Fractured Soul’s editing draft. I should be done by tomorrow and will send it off to Poppy Kuroki by Sunday. Yay!

What are you getting up to?

  • My Author in Focus Podcast Episode 81 is out! I had a great chat with bestselling fantasy author Nicholas Eames! Give it a listen here!
  • Check out my post on how to start your worldbuilding!
  • Look at this pic. I saw it and just thought, “There’s going to be some awesome captions!”

Worldbuilding JMD Reid Style!!

Worldbuilding.

It’s everywhere.

It’s one of the most important parts of a story regardless of your genre, but when you get into Fantasy and SciFi, it is essential to get write.

Done well, worldbuilding is not noticeable. Botch it, and it leaves your audience asking questions to understand it.

I remember this clearly when I watched the movie Battle Royale. It’s a Japanese movie about a class of high school students, twenty boys and twenty girls, that are abducted  by the government, taken to a remote island, outfitted with explosive collars, and told they have to kill each other.

Yes, it’s very similar to the Hunger Games, but let’s not worry about that.

This appears to be modern Japan, not some post-apocalypse hellscape. So why were they abducted? There’s not a good reason given in the movie. We’re told that every year, one class of their year in the country are chosen by lottery to fight to the death. That winners get set up for life.

But why do they do this? What possible reason could a society have to do this to their children?

Worse, their old teacher is the person administering their Battle Royale. He’s clearly here to get some sort of revenge on this delinquent class.

So while what follows is rather good as the students form factions, some wanting to survive, others wanting to escape, and others falling into their dark sociopathy and finally able to act without restraint. As good as it was, the movie failed is worldbuilding and I could not enjoy it.

Later, I had the chance to read the book, a

 

nd there were my answers. One, their teacher isn’t the administrator. It’s just a military officer. Second, this isn’t modern Japan. This is a Japan that hadn’t lost World War 2 and is still fascist, military dictatorship. The Battle Royales were set up to study how people act in combat and stress, and now decades later, there’s not a bureaucrat  that’s willing to put their neck on the line and stop it.

The book did its world building that the movie failed to do.

So this is important when you are making fiction. And when you have to make up a whole world that isn’t ours, how do you go about it?

After you come

 

up with your story, what you want to tell, make a list of what you need for the world. What geographic features do you want? What is the scope of your world? What sort of nations do you want?

What type of story are you telling? Something small and personal? Something that will shake up the entire world? A story about a journey? About armies? About commerce?

When I was worldbuilding the Storm Below, I wanted to make a world of floating islands. I wanted some to be big but most to be small. I wanted to make it look sort of like Indonesia.

When I was making the world for the Cycle of Illumination, I wanted a world that was big as our world. One where there were multiple continents. I wanted a world that could be host to so many stories. So I wanted many countries, ethnicities, and cultures. I wanted parts of this world not to know about the other parts. I had no geographic features I wanted. Just the size. I would use what I made on my map to let that determine how the world flowed.

For Shadow of the Dragon, I wanted a world that would have many fantastical places for my characters to visit. I wanted there to be evidence of a past magical conflict that scarred the world. In the center, I wanted a lost land hidden by a storm with the other continents and lands around it.

As you might have noticed, it’s drawing the map that I see as the foundation of Fantasy worldbuilding.

If you’re not having a story set in a small location, you should make a map. Sketch it by hand or use a program to draw it. Whatever works best for you. It can be rough. It’s for your reference to make the world coherent. To keep it clear where things lie to each other. Even better, you can find inspiration as you draw it.

When I am making my maps, I focus on getting the aspects I need. I make sure it works in a coherent fashion. Mountains and rivers and forests and deserts in spots that make sense, unless there’s some supernatural reason for it.

As I get my important stuff down, I have more space to fill in. I’ll put interesting features. I might even sketch an evocative name, not sure what it means, but feeling potential that sparks my imagination and that of my readers.

Odds are, your characters are not visiting every bit of the map, but that’s okay. Because you are making the foundation of your world. If you share your map with readers, they can stare at it and wonder what is there, or what is that.

From the map, we can paint our world.

Add our countries.

Features.

Places.

From here, you can work out the details your story needs, but we’ll talk about where to focus your efforts in building your world and where needs just a quick coat of paint.

In the JMD Reid method of fantasy worldbuilding, the map is the foundation. So make it a good one and you’ll have that world that won’t make your reader question things. They won’t be distracted. You’ll have created verisimilitude, an important step in your fiction.

  • Sill no progress on Sands of Loss (and I’m really digging this title) but I will get back to editing Fractured Soul and get it ready for my editor this weekend!
  • I found this article today. Writers you should check it out!
  • Wow, look at this bad mamajama! Let’s caption!

It’s Taxes Tuesday! Yay…

Hello all! How is your Tuesday going!

My accounts are done with my taxes and now want money! And so does the government. Sigh…

Not getting much writing done on Sands of Loss. Have some ghostwriting work and it’s the start of the month, so I have to go over my payments and stuff. Got to make sure I set aside money for taxes.

Being self-employed has some interesting hurdles, including the fun of paying quarterly taxes!

I am 2/3 through my final draft of Fractured Soul (Assassin’s of Illumination Book 3)! I will have it done by the end of the week!

What are you up to?

  • It’s Authors in Focus Podcast Episode 80! Today, I chatted with Samantha Evans! Give it a listen here!
  • Found this on Twitter today! That it’s funny!

Monday Update and $5 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Monday has come again… Sigh!
 
But that’s fine. It’s a new month. March. Winter’s end is in sight. The sun is up so much earlier!
 
Always busy on the first of the month. Haven’t had a chance to write on Sands of Loss, but hoping to get to it next. I have an interview to record with Tom Lloyd. It’ll be fun.
 
Congrats to Emily Wiebe! She won last weeks $5 Amazon Gift Card.
 
Michael Evan is getting ARCs ready for Max and the Captain today, so stand by!
 
If you want an ARC of Mask of Guilt coming out on May 12, let me know.
 
What are you getting up to today?
  • Want to win this week’s $5 Amazon Gift Card, comment blow on what your favorite Fantasy Couple is! Mine is Liam and Karan from The View from the Glass Quarter by Ian Irvine!
  • Let’s caption! Who is this big boy? A corrupted knight? A demon marauder? Best Halloween costume?

~~Arc Readers Wanted~~

Mask of Guilt (Mask of Illumination Book 1) is being released on May 12th.

I am looking for ARC readers so we can hit the ground running with reviews! If you want a copy and can have an honest review ready by May 12th, please comment below!

You are going to love this book!

We all wear masks…

…to hide from our guilt.

Lady Foonauri is on the far side of the world. Her life of indolence and chasing wealth has left the young noblewoman empty inside. She wears a mask of happiness while she weeps inside for the two men she loved.

And destroyed.

One man, however, sees her more than a beautiful ornament. He sees a woman who can change the world. Onyx offers Foonauri a new mask to wear and the chance to do something meaningful with her life. To be a thief and steal a dangerous artifact before it falls into dark hands.

Is this Foonauri’s chance to take off her mask of guilt and find purpose in her life? Will being a thief who takes her destiny in her own hands bring her peace?

Or is she entering a world that will swallow her whole?

You’ll be captivated by this exciting fantasy story because of the passion and drive of its characters will keep you reading!

Happy Friday!

Friday is upon us!
WOOT! WOOT!
Writing felt off today. It might have to be that I’m cutting back on how much food I’m eating. I need to lose weight and, frankly, that means eating less. So my body is not happy.
So hungry…
But I’ve done this once. If I can just get over the hump and adapt, it’ll work! So fingers crossed!
At 9 PM in the Fantasy/Sci FI Focus Blog I’ll be doing a live read from my novella Time’s Prison! I hope you’ll check it out!
How’s your day going!
  • Check out my interview from Adam Gaffen!
  • Who’s this bad mother fer? Let’s caption!

It’s Thursday! Captain and the Max is Finished!

Hello! It’s Thursday!

Great day today.

I finished off Max and the Captain, so Michael is going to get that edited up. Stay tuned for ARC copies and it’ll also be an Audiobook!

Going to get more writing on Sands of Loss today. I’m so excited for this book. Got a new character in the group, leading to some great stuff!

What are you up to today?

  • Author in Focus Podcast: Episode # is out of my podcast. Today I chatted with ! You have to check it out!
  • Great Music: The 8 Bit Band is something I’ve been grooving to. They do big band covers of video game music! Check it out!
  • Today’s quote: “The writer must wade into life as into the sea, but only up to the navel.” –Gustave Flaubert
  • Look at this pic! Evocative, isn’t it! Let’s caption!

It’s Humpday!

Good day! Happy Wednesday!

We made it to the middle of the week!

I’m almost done writing the ending of Max and the Captain! Will get that done tomorrow! I wrote some real surreal stuff (and, boy, is real surreal not terrible writing)?

How is your day going? Great? Awesome? Blegh?

The other week, I was reading a Japanese Light Novel called Mapping: The Trash-Tier Skill That Got Me Into a Top-Tier Party! That is a mouthful of a name,  I know. It’s a weird trend in Japanese fiction. Anyways, most light novels are fluff. Power fantasy, strange ideas, comedies. If you watched Anime, a lot of them are based off light novels.

Anyways, this one wasn’t fluff. On the surface, sure. It has many of the hallmarks of those. The comedy. The fan service. But it also has a really great message.

In this world, people are born with 3 skill slots. This is what is called gamelit. The world works like it’s a video game though to the people in it, this is just how the world works. Everyone gets this skill slots and around 16. Some skills are rare than others and some take up more than 1 slot. They can make you an amazing swordsmen, an awesome mage, or the best carpenter around. They determine what you’ll be good at. Where you should focus your abilities.

But some are not seen as useful.

Our main character gets Mapping. It’s an Ultra-rare ability that takes up all three of his slots. All it does is let him have a map in his head in a 1 kilometer ring. He remembers the maps of every place he’s been. It’s not even the only skill like this. There are two others that are similar, one is even more useful, and they don’t take up all three skill slots.

Our main character dream of going on an adventure with the his childhood friend are dashed. How can he keep up with her when she got three god-tier abilities that have made her into the one of the best adventurers around.

He believes he has been dealt a flaw. That it’s worthless. And that is his mindsight. Six months later, his best friend can’t handle his negativity, his unwillingness to try. She tried to make it work, but he didn’t.

He fulfilled his own prophecy.

He falls into depression. Drink. He’s worthless. So he acts it. Then one day, a member of one of the best adventuring parties in the world shows up and says they need him.

That he has seen his ability the wrong way. His Mapping skill is what they need to conquer a dungeon. A feat no other group has managed.

With a change of his mindset, our main character takes what he saw as a negative into a positive. He changed how he viewed it. No longer a victim of circumstance, he is making his own fate. It transforms him. He won’t be a powerful fighter, a grand mage, or an inspiring priest, but that doesn’t mean he has no value.

It’s a beautiful idea, isn’t it? We make our own luck. Our own fate. We fulfill our own prophecies. Believe you’ll fail. You will.

  • Quote of the day: “If the writer were more like a reader, he’d be a reader, not a writer. It’s as uncomplicated as that.” –Julian Barnes
  • Here’s a great article on building an audience as a writer!
  • Never too late to enter in the weekly $5 Amazon Gift Card! Click here to enter! No purchase necessary!
  • Let’s caption an awesome pic!

Tuesday Round Up! Podcasts and More!

Good Tuesday to you all!

I’ve started writing the second half of Max and the Captain, the series of books I’m cowriting with Michael Evan! It’s been an interesting experience.

I’m chipping away at Sands of Loss (Shadow of the Dragons Book 4). I’m into Chapter 3. Getting about 3000 words a day. It’s going to be amazing!

What awesome things are you up to?

  • Episode 78 of my Authors in Focus Podcast is out! Check out my conversation with Holly Bargo! You have to give this a listen!
  • I’m nearly done with the next chapter of The Judging Eye Reread. Everyone is running in terror from the Wight-in-the-Mountain!
  • Want to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card, click here!
  • Let’s play a fun game! What is your fantasy villain title! I’m The Red Prince of the Seas!

Author of The Storm Below Series