Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Brainstorming Extras For Your Story AND . . . A Free Ebook


Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

As a storyworld first writer, I tend to get excited about the little things. I love coming up with details that make my world more interesting. That's partly why I like drawing maps so much. But maps are only one of the extras that I like to create when building a new storyworld.

I'm in final edits right now for King's Folly (and it's various ebook parts), and that's keeping me immersed in all the fun extras I made for this series. Let me show them to you one at a time.

Family Trees

This is epic fantasy with a huge cast. When I was writing my first draft, I started to get confused about my own characters. So I created a family tree for the two most important realms in my story where most of my cast comes from. It's nothing special and won't go in the book, but it really helped me as I was writing and rewriting. (Click on it to zoom in.)


Flags

My storyworld has five realms in it. Armania, Sarikar, and Rurekau are the father realms or patriarchies, and Tenma and Magonia are the mother realms or matriarchies. I wanted each realm to have its own flag with colors and an image that could be used on uniforms and shields. So I Googled all kinds of clip art until I found heads I liked, wings I liked, roots, etc. I used the various images as inspiration when I put these together. And then for fun, I also put these flags on my map.


Sigils/Signets

I wanted each king to have his own sigil that his personal guards would wear and that would be the seal he used in his signet ring. I designed these using the same procedure I mentioned above. I showed these to the cover designer for King's Folly and he used them on the book. That was a pleasant surprise. (Look at the red symbol in the King's Folly cover to see my first sigil in the row below.)




Runes

The magic system in my storyworld is a bit mysterious to the reader because it seems to work differently for mantics in different realms. Magonian mantics use runes as part of their magic, so I drew these for inspiration. I never actually used these runes in the story beyond mentioning the ten mantic runes the Magonian mantics use, but drawing these was the first place I used both shadir and cheyvah, which both became important parts of my story.


Religious Lore

The hand is an important symbol in my storyworld. Since my character Trevn is studying to be a priest, he must learn about all the religions in the Five Realms. This is an image I created to help me teach Trevn what he needed to know. (And in the process, it helped me figure out the differences between my different religions.) This image will appear in the King's Folly book.



Darkness Reigns + The Heir War + The End of All Things = King's Folly

A lot of people are confused by all my book covers for the Kinsman Chronicles, so I want to explain how this works. My publisher is experimenting with this series. The trilogy will have three print books: King's Folly, King's Blood, and King's War. Each print book will also be broken into three separate ebook parts for those readers who don't want to wait a year between books. As the picture below shows, King's Folly is the full book one that includes three ebook parts: Darkness Reigns, The Heir War, and The End of All Things.


You Can Pre-Order Darkness Reigns for Free

To kick off this new fantasy series, my publisher is making the first ebook part free on Kindle. I'm pretty sure that in time, it will also be free on other ebook platforms like iTunes, Nook, and Kobo. But so far it's only free to pre-order on Amazon Kindle. If you're a Kindle reader, click here to pre-order Darkness Reigns, which will be delivered to your Kindle on December 1, 2015.



How about you? What interesting extras have you made to help you write your book? Ever make a family tree or draw symbols for any reason? If so, share in the comments and tell us what you made and how it helped you in writing your story.

27 comments:

  1. I love making extras! For some of my past projects, I've made family trees and maps. For my current project, I'm working on creating holidays that my fantasy world could celebrate. Flags seem like they would be fun to make. Thanks for sharing your extras for the Kinsman Chronicles!

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    1. Ooh, unique holidays sound like fun, Linea.

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  2. Free book! BOOM, yes! (I'll probably ask for King's Folly for Christmas anyway, but this way I get something to ease my waiting . . .)
    I do not generally make extras, not really, not unless you count maps (which are really just there so I have a general idea of where people are going). I did make a runic alphabet, but that doesn't really count for much as I never used it.

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    1. Runic alphabet. Cool. If you didn't end up using it much, perhaps you can use it for a different book?

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  3. Thanks for sharing your extras and telling us all about the free ebook! :)

    I usually make a lot of extras, especially maps (which I promptly copy several times so that I can draw all over them for labeling names and drawing lines for who is moving where throughout the story). I once did a family tree for a family history narrative that I wrote, but the family tree didn't turn out nearly as nice as your example. What program did you use to make it?

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    1. I made it in Photoshop, Tricia, since it lets me continue to edit it. I must have changed it a hundred times.

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  4. I LOVE this sort of stuff. When I was younger, I used to make all sorts of stuff from my stories as craft projects (swords, rings, etc), since my mom's an artist and I love craft. I've been brainstorming for my new science fiction story, and that'll be so fun. You get to make entire planets and solar systems!

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    1. Your mom's an artist? That's so cool! I've always wanted to make "props" from my stories in real life. :)

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    2. Oh, yes. Solar system maps are sweet, Jonathan.

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  5. I'm going to throw out here that I love making family trees more than virtually anything else, and I probably spend a lot of time on it that should be spent on writing. ; D Congratulations on the new book! : )

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    1. Yeah, family trees are super fun. And, thank you, Allison! :-)

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  6. So awesome AND it's available on Canadian Kindle? YEEEEEES :D Pre ordering now.

    I love looking at all the little pieces of your world. Darn you. You're making me want to write another fantasy ;)

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    1. Yay! I never know if they're going to get them free in the international stores, so I'm glad they did! And the fact that I am making you want to write another fantasy novel makes me smile. :-)

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  7. I LOVE doing this stuff! One of my WIPs is an epic fantasy, so I've been making maps, family trees, species charts, stories, holidays...all good stuff! And magic. Yes, mustn't forget all that time I spent creating my magic...
    How do you make the family trees? Is there a website or something, or do you just draw them (because you're that awesome)?

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    1. I made mine in Photoshop, but you could do it the same way in MS Word using text boxes. You would change your paper to landscape to give you more room.

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  8. Extras are fun, but I usually don't have very many ideas for them. I did come up with a symbol of sorts for my WIP's storyworld, and--how funny!--it has to do with the hand, too. :) It can be done with one's own two hands or linked with someone else's. Basically you hold your hands out with the fingers slightly spread apart and then cross your thumbs over each other until the index fingers touch/thumb touches the edge of the other hand. (Someone please let me know if that creates a decent mental image, because I'm working on figuring out how to describe it in the story...) It means unity, togetherness, that sort of thing. :)

    Pre-ordered! Yay! Can't wait for another book in Achan's world. Are there any references to the Blood of Kings cast?

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    1. When you do the hand sign, do your thumbs make an X? (That's what happened when I tried it.) Thanks for pre-ordering the book! There are references to Blood of Kings things, but this is 500 years before Achan was born. I'll be interested to see what people think of it.

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  9. Ooh! The book sounds so interesting! I'm going to have to be getting it.

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  10. You're so handy! Got my copy of Darkness Reigns preordered!!!

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  11. normally, i world build as i go. if i'm feeling some strange thing should happen at one point, i'll just write it in and flesh it out during revisions. however, i live for developing rules for the super power system in one of my novels and characters in another. their pretty much my go to activities when i get bored. although, the only problem is that now i have two fully developed characters and rules for their worlds, but no plot :(

    however, i can't wait to try out some of these suggestions. I've tried making a map before (it isn't very pretty) which was pretty fun. thanks for the tips. (and a free ebook. SCORE!)

    ~K.A.C.

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    1. Sounds cool, K.A.C. Now you need to take some days to brainstorm plots and you'll have two awesome stories ready to be written!

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  12. Thank you so much for sharing your process and also the free e-book. This post could not come at a more opportune time. I'm currently in the research/brainstorming stage of my WIP and it's so helpful to see how other fantasy writers' process for worldbuilding. At times, I feel like I'm being neurotic over minute details, but to see that other writers have the same care and attention to their stories is really helpful and validating.

    I used Pinterest to find visual represenations of my setting and characters. I've made boards for each aspect of my world and then pinned images that I thought would help when I started writing. I also printed out the boards and they came out as thumbnails. I cut them out and washi taped them to my map to help give more context for the setting. I also printed enlarged pictures of images that I wanted more detail for the first scene and I expect I'll probably do the same for subsequent scenes.

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    1. You're welcome, Jennifer! I didn't know you could print Pinterest boards. How interesting and clever. I love making Pinterest boards for my worlds, too.

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