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World Building and Private Eyes

Wow. It's been a productive day for writing.

I finally completed my Terra Incognito column for Penumbra. I'm going to want to edit this one more time before I send it out tomorrow, but I'm pretty happy with what I've come up with this month.

For this session, I worked on actually building a world to set the small story I'm writing to go along with the column in. I've created a rather large island with some satellite islands set off the east coast of a larger continent. We've placed the major mountain ranges and identified the major rivers on the island.

Next session, we'll work on building towns and countries on this island and we'll add more details as we go into other sessions.

First off, I love starting with a map. Probably because, I just love maps, the older the better. My father worked for the State Highway Department for 42 years and he always brought home the new state highway map as soon as they were released. He taught me how to read one almost as soon as I knew how to read, so that would have been between three and four. My map reading skills came in handy in high school and college considering I was a History major, and doing the map reading portion of the Common Tasks Training for the Army was a breeze. I wound up teaching that portion of the training with my Drill Sergeants in basic training to free them up to work on other areas that needed "reinforcing".

Once I've created a map, the world my characters are going to interact with becomes alive. I can see where the trade routes are, where the major cities should lie and what the different types of terrain they're going to encounter if they travel overland. I also know approximately how many days they'd be at sea to travel from Point A to Point B., and what they might encounter en route. If my story is predominately set in a city, it's useful to identify a few prominent buildings or businesses the characters might pass on a daily basis. It doesn't have to be a major story plot point, but sometimes those little touches bring a scene alive for a reader.

Along with getting the column at that 90% completed stage, I also added another 2000 words to The Full Moon Affair. Also, I finally broke down and wrote up a quick synopsis of the characters (just a small bullet list) to make sure I'd covered everything in the story. I don't want to get to the big reveal and find out I'd forgotten to introduce the villain and how he was connected to everyone else. While this is a bit more action/adventure than a true mystery, there are still conventions that should be followed.

So, between Terra Incognito and The Full Moon Affair, I've written 3864 words today. Now that's shaking off the rust. *grin*

Tomorrow is final edits for Terra and then it's time to hit the college books again. The cycle of work/college/writing continues ever onward.

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