Hey everybody! I’m wrapping up my author platform series today with a few notes about using Pinterest as an author. It’s a nice quick and short post today because Monday is the start of exam week! Wish me luck, y’all; I’m gonna need it.
Pinterest is an interesting platform that I find reaches a very specific audience. I never used it a bunch growing up, but I know a lot of people who did and they raved about it. Pinterest is all about images as inspiration for all sorts of different ideas and projects. It’s one of those sites where you could reach a lot of people or you could reach very few. Some authors have lots of luck with it, especially if they are big vision board people. But anyone can have success with it in varying degrees if you know where to start. I think it’s a good platform to use in general, especially for posting pictures that highlight your fantasy world. Here are my best tips for the site:
Tip #1: Create a Pinterest Business Account.
A business account looks pretty much the same as a personal account, except you will have access to free analytics. You also get access to tools to help you embed pins and boards directly into your blog posts or your sidebar if you’d like! And it’s free, so why not?! You can make your profile aligned to you as an author, to your website, or a combination of both. Here’s mine as an example.
Tip #2: Add links to your blog posts.
If you’re using images with each of your blog posts (which you definitely should!), use your first board as your blog post board. When you add an image, you can add a short description of the subject of your post and more importantly, a link!
Tip #3: Make Your World One Of Your Boards.
Show your viewers your world. Explore other people’s boards and save them to a board that reminds you of your world. A lot of readers want to be able to see your world even before the book is released. Try to add some new images regularly to keep things fresh. I’m not great at this yet because I’m just starting out with Pinterest, but I’m getting better!
I hope everyone has a great weekend and a wonderful week ahead. Happy writing!
As I have enjoyed my vacation over the last few days, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about where to improve my novel. Of course, the best ideas always come when you’re actively trying to leave things alone for a while. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to incorporate more worldbuilding into my story, particularly when it comes to magic interacting with everyday life. Now, I’ve had a solid magic system built since I started worldbuilding, but details have either escaped me over time or have been written down across a bunch of documents I have no organization for. Many of my other elements are like this as well: useful but disorganized.
This is why I think it’s time for me to revert back to a tool that I discovered during the process of worldbuilding and experimented with on and off for a couple months.
World Anvil is an online set of tools designed for writers, artists, and RPG creators alike and the worldbuilding process. This website has a lot of great components to help you make the most out of your research and efforts.
The site has templates with worldbuilding prompts to help you create your world and explore the relationship between places, characters, and laws. You can connect entries to each other to build complex families and systems. World Anvil also has features for map building and timeline creation (a feature I would highly reccomend; it did wonders when looking at my universe’s history).
You essentially have the ability to create an entire encyclopedia for your world that you can refer back to over and over again as you write.
A free plan will get you all of the basic features you need and a decent amount of space to store things. Of course, if you want to put a little money into it, you can get things like more storage and extra features. But pretty much everything you need is encompassed by a free plan.
So as I head into next week, I have plans to hop on World Anvil again and see if I can’t straighten my world out. It can only improve my writing, right?
This article was a specific request by my sister, Morgan, and I am hoping that it will help out many beginning authors who need a little extra help when it comes to thinking about imagery. I do not claim to be an expert on the subject; in fact, I think incorporating imagery is something that takes a lot of dedication and practice to get it just right. But nevertheless, I would like to share some thoughts on the subject that I believe would help get you in the right mindset.
One of the most important places to incorporate imagery is when describing setting. You want to be as descriptive as possible. Half of the battle in writing good fantasy stories is making your readers feel fully immersed in your universe. The easiest thing to do is start by incorporating the five senses. I know it sounds incredibly simplistic, but the following questions should showcase why this works so well.
What does your character see from where they are standing? What does the scenery look like? Do they notice the colors and the hues of locations or objects? What people are visible, if any? What are they doing?
What can your character hear? Do they hear people speaking, the bustle of daily life around them? Are they listening to music echo through the streets? If they interact with a certain character, how does their voice change the tone of what is being said?
What smells are lingering? Does the air have a certain scent to it? Is there food or flowers nearby that can waft through your character’s nose?
Don’t forget; the air can have a certain taste too, especially when other scents are involved. Taste should be used sparingly except in cases where you really want to emphasize the environment or if your character is eating (but also should be used sparingly in that case).
What is your character around that is tangible? Do their clothes feel tight and restrictive, or loose and light with fabric that easily slides across their skin? What are they holding? Is it significant enough to be worth mentioning?
Now: something important to remember. Just because you have a lot of information to use doesn’t mean you should use it all. Imagery has to be used appropriately; you don’t want to overload your reader with too much detail. The story becomes too muddled and cluttered. You want to incorporate just enough to shape the world you’re trying to convey: no more, no less.
When it comes to characters, the best way to incorporate imagery is to capture personality through visual cues.
How does your character walk? Do they carry themselves with confidence, or do they hide with slumped shoulders and a closed off stance? Body language communicates emotion. It is a great way to comply by the “showing not telling” mantra.
Describing communication is also important. Does your character have an accent? Do they emphasize certain syllables on words that is unique? When they are happy, how does their face change when they’re speaking? When they’re listening, what is their neutral face? What happens if someone shocks them?
Again, as with the above section on setting, make sure you keep things clear, but also simple. Clogging characters with physical descriptions or other imagery also detracts from what you are attempting to accomplish in terms of description.
So, there you have it! A simple guide to basic imagery work. I hope to expand on this as the blog expands and as I improve my imagery skills myself.
As promised, I am starting my Worldbuilding questionnaire walk through off with a bang! Today, we’re going to be looking at the first section of questions, which encompasses the most basic questions about the world you want to create. I want to give you just an overview of the questions (because obviously, you can go to the link and read them yourself), but I also want to give a bit of commentary about why these details are important when crafting your fantasy universe.
Section A: Basics
When I started using this questionnaire, the very first question took me a while to think about. You wouldn’t necessarily think about whether the laws of nature and physics still applied as your first step. I actually had to go look up what these laws were (I don’t do science very well. >.<) But believe it or not, your universe could entirely flip on its head (perhaps even literally) due to changes like these. Does gravity apply? Do the laws of motion apply? Where does magic fit in? Are the laws different because magic exists, or is magic limited by these principles? This will start you thinking about the limitations of your magic system, which we will get to in a later article.
Then you need to make a decision about what type of world this is: an earth-like world or not like Earth at all? This not only will decide which sections of questions you look at next, but it is also going to affect things related to suns and moons, shape of the world, and terrain.
Next is the basics about people! Or non-people, if that’s your preference! These questions are meant to establish the main players in your story. Elves, Fae, dwarfs, demons, sprites, mortals, and many, many more magical creatures can grace the pages of your story, and establishing who those are early on can make things easier for you later. Marking the differences between these types in terms of habitats, living conditions, and magic now can also be useful in formatting your terrain, cities, and your magic system in later worldbuilding.
Finally, you’re going to create a very basic outline of the magic system in your universe.
Where does magic come from?
How much magic is available?
What are the long term effects of magic on a magic user?
What are the differences between magic among different races/species, if any?
Very simple questions to start off. No details yet. However, if you look at them, you can see why this author chose to include them in the basics category. The very existence of magic has to have been established somehow, whether it’s during the timeline of your story or thousands and thousands of years before.
Section B: Alternate Earth
Writers who view their universe has being an alternate version of our Earth should take note of this section. Here, you will establish where fantasy diverts away from history. How similar are the histories and cultures of our planet in comparison with yours? What makes them different? Is there a specific point in time where our knowledge of our world ends and yours begins? If not, show where things diverge slowly over time through everyday life changes. If magic exists, how have the inhabitants of Earth been unaware of it this whole time? This set of questions works particularly well for historical fantasy.
Section C: Not Earth At All
Everyone else! Join me! My universe, the Three Realms, falls under this category. You will find that this set of questions is not focused on history and culture (we will get to that later), but instead on the physical aspects of your world. Obviously, we need to establish shape, terrain, and celestial bodies (if any) circling around your world. I didn’t realize it until after I had already built my universe (which only has one sun and moon) how much it would affect aspects like the wind, the tides, and the weather if I had chosen to add something like a second moon. If you set the moons on the same side, the tides would be thrown completely out of whack. If the moons were on opposite sides of your universe, could you create an ocean that stays still? Lots of interesting things to think about.
Comment below with any questions or ideas about your own fantasy universe! I’ll see you next time where we’ll be discussing physical and historical features.