Being a Better Writer: Building a World From Scratch – Part 1

Welcome back readers! It’s another glorious Monday, and I’m back with another installment of Being a Better Writer!

What makes it glorious? Outside of there being a new installment for BaBW, well, today marked the delivery of two new five-star reviews for Axtara – Banking and Finance, plus a contact from a new fan who loved it and is hoping for more!

In addition, it is finally spring where I live. Shorts weather! Biking weather! Said bike is at the shop, already getting worked on. I’m ready for sun and sweat!

But all in all, that’s a good start to any week.

So, my week is already off to a good start, so now let us switch the focus over to you, reader, and to what you’re here for to help your week have a strong start. That’s right, we’re just going to dive into today’s Being a Better Writer.

But first, really quick, I’m going to thank the support of all the Patreons who make posts like this possible. Thanks to these supporters, Being a Better Writer exists. Without them, it wouldn’t. Be grateful for the support of the following folks:

Frenetic, Pajo, Anonymous Potato, Taylor, Jack of a Few Trades, Alamis, Seirsan, Grand General Luna, Miller, Hoopy McGee, Brown, Lightwind, Thomas, 22ndTemplar, and Piiec!

Without them, BaBW couldn’t continue to exist! You have them to thank for topics like today’s being possible.

Speaking of which, what are we talking about today? Well, today’s topic is a big one. A really big one, by reader request. Today, we’re going to talk about building a world from scratch.

Or rather, we’re going to talk about step one in that process, because worldbuilding is a complicated, deep endeavor (and one that can run away with you if you’re not careful, but more on that another time). So today, we’re starting at the beginning—literally.

It’s time to try our hand at being a merciful (or not) creator. Hit the jump, and let’s talk about building worlds.

Wait. Not yet. There’s one thing I want to say first: Today’s advice is, wholly, more for planners. That doesn’t mean pantsers (those who write as they go) won’t find useful insight here, but let’s be honest: they’re a lot less likely to sit down and sketch out a world beforehand.

Okay, now we can go. Hit that jump!

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Like a Dragon

Hello readers! I’m back!

“Was I ever gone?” some of you might be wondering. Well … Remember how I got that Covid-19 vaccination on Monday? I noted as such in Being a Better Writer that day, then after I finished my post went right to work and chugged along. Well …

Let’s just say I got walloped. By late that night, I was shivering with fever so bad I was almost dropping things, and I ended up swiping every blanket in my apartment and piling them high on my bed to stay warm that night. And then, of course, in the tradition of fevers, having wild dreams and waking up way too hot … and then being way too cold once more. The fever broke by morning, but the fatigue and stiffness stuck, and the next night I slept until 2 PM the following day …

Yeah, no writing was had in the last two days. My brain was not in a place where writing—good writing, anyway—could happen. Just looking at the errors I made and had to correct posting online was proof enough.

This all said, do not take this as a recommendation against the vaccine. No, instead it’s the opposite. Get the vaccine, but plan ahead. This will probably knock you on your butt for a while. Plan accordingly, and don’t let your boss tell you that you can’t take time off to recover from the vaccine (in fact, if they tell you that, your boss is sadly a deadbeat skag-licker, and should be acknowledged accordingly).

But seriously: Do your part. Get vaccinated. Better a few days of discomfort than a week, or a month, or worst of all, transmitting the virus to someone who won’t survive it.


Now, other news! I would like to point out to all you readers that the Dragon Award Nominations are open again once more, this time for the period of 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021. You can nominate here, but before you click that link and get to it nominating your favorite works from the above time period, I would like to note that Axtara – Banking and Finance is eligable for nomination in the “Best Young Adult/Middle Grade Novel” category. Am I going to recommend that for a nomination?

Well duh, yeah. I’d be a fool not to. Especially after seeing so many other posts from authors promoting their own book for spots.

Now I’ll be real, despite Axtara breaking into the global market (by the way, hello Italy!), I I know I don’t have much chance of winning a nomination. It’d be fantastic, but it’s unlikely.

But even so, I’d still ask you readers who have loved it to consider giving her the nomination for Best YA.


And with that … I’ve got two days of sick to catch up from when it comes to working on Starforge. Not that my time was totally lost. I watched The Adventures of Tintin once more (currently free on YouTube) and played Into the Breach, a title I literally bought several years ago just to get my hands on its soundtrack (a good chunk of Starforge has actually been written listening to it) and found it to be just as good as people claimed. And blisteringly hard. Oh, and grim. It is, however, one of the more clever Sci-Fi uses of time-travel as a mechanic. There’s little to spoil here, but basically it takes the idea that the moment you go into the past you create an alternate timeline and runs with it. The result is that in a war of desperation where mankind is being wiped out, every time they lose, these time-travelers jump to another timeline. Oh, and every time they win. They just keep going to alternate worlds where things are a little different, but always the Vek are there, wiping out mankind. And so they fight until they die … or lose or win, jump to another timeline to start all over.

Simple, and sweet, but still a clever premise.

And with that, I’ve got Sci-Fi of my own to write!

Being a Better Writer: Rules – When, How, and Why You Break Them

Hello readers! Welcome back!

I’ve got news! A couple bits of news actually! First and foremost: I have just received my Covid-19 immunization shot. I got the Johnson & Johnson one, and yes, my arm is sore! Already! Which is par for the course as I understand it, and next comes fatigue, and maybe nausea and a headache.

Still, beats dying of Covid. And as a bonus, my cell-phone reception has improved! Now if I could just get rid of the flashing message in the corner of my vision …

I kid. Just in case you’re one of the few people that’s actually been believing that microchip thing. Though if you do believe it, be sure to post about it from your iPhone! No chance at all of anyone tracking you through that always connected device that reports your every move!

Stepping away from sarcasm, for those that haven’t looked, late late Saturday (I had a busy day) there was an update for Patreon supporters over on said site. It was, in fact, a supporter reward, a chunk of a story called A Trial for a Dragon!

This story, as some Alpha and Beta Readers already know, is set in the same setting as Axtara – Banking and Finance and A Game of Stakes. In fact, it follows a character already mentioned in one of those stories: Ryax, Axtara’s older brother!

This story is as of yet unpublished, so if you’re one of the Patreon Supporters that keeps the lights on, head on over to the Patreon Page and meet Axtara’s older sibling! Who has challenges of his own he’s about to tackle! And if you’re not a supporter yet, well then there’s always a time to start! Supporting helps keep Being a Better Writer coming free of charge and without ads for all to enjoy.

Plus you do get access to some bonus stuff, like early views of stories long before anyone else! You support the site, and get to see early stuff no one else has! It’s a win-win!

Now, before getting into the post, I’m sure there was something else … Oh yes! This weekend saw more reviews rolling in for Axtara, Colony, and Jungle! Worked out pretty well, but I do have this to add: If Axtara keeps sailing off of shelves the way she’s been doing, she’s going to eclipse Colony before long!

All right, that’s all the news. So, let’s dive into today’s topic, fresh off of the request list of Topic List #17 asking about writing rules and when, how, or why to break them. Which is a tricky topic, but also an important one and well worth covering. So hit that jump, and let’s get started.

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Bits and Pieces of News

Hello hello people! Yes, I know we had a post Wednesday and yesterday, but there are still a few things to say heading into this weekend. So, diving right in …


Those of you who are Patreon Supporters and fans of Axtara – Banking and Finance will want to keep an eye on the Patreon this weekend. Why? Because the first bit of a unreleased story set in the same universe will be dropping there this weekend. That’s right, it’s a supporter-only look at A Trial for a Dragon, a short story starring Axtara’s older brother Ryax. In … Rietillia? What is he doing there? Well, if you’re a supporter, you’ll have to tune in tomorrow on Patreon to get your first look.

But not the whole of it. It’s a short story but most of you know that doesn’t mean much where I’m concerned. So to keep Patreon from breaking under the size of the post, it’ll be in pieces.

And if you’re not a Patreon supporter, well … it is slated for a future release at some point in a collection. Patience will bring it to you in the end!


Speaking of Axtara, after 22 reviews, it finally got its first non-five-star the other day. A reader gave Axtara … four stars. For its 23rd review.

That’s not bad at all. The banking dragon continues to soar, and it’s a lot of fun to hear back from readers and fans how much they fell in love with Axtara and her adventures in Elnacier!


Speaking of reviews and ratings, just going to point out really quick: I am four ratings/reviews shy of 200 on Goodreads! This brings my total review rating count to … 357! And with all those reviews … still sitting at a 4.5 star average.

Now that’s the power of good writing.


Now, let’s talk about Starforge. I am on the second-to-last chapter of part three, so about to be roughly 75% done, and the total wordcount is … 337,000 words. We’re definitely looking at a Jungle-length adventure here folks. Some of that will probably get trimmed in editing—there’s a tricky balance with the action and pacing that needs to be met, and I’m positive the first draft will require some trimming and tucking to make it hit just right—but at the moment the concern is finishing the story off once and for all. Which I need to get back to, so let me drop other news and get on with it!

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LTUE 2021 Panel Recordings Are Up!

Hello readers! This is not an April Fool’s Day prank! I realize that even saying that immediately raises suspicions of such, but it isn’t! And I’ll prove it! Right now!

Yes! You’re seeing that! It is not a Rickroll. It is a genuine panel recording of one of the LTUE panels I was on during this year’s Life, The Universe, and Everything! And it’s official, from the LTUE Youtube channel. Today their channel dropped (as near as I can tell) all the LTUE 2021 panels onto the web for your listening enjoyment! Those of you who couldn’t attend LTUE this year can now check out over a hundred panels on every writing topic imaginable!

What would I recommend? Well, I’ll embed my other three panels below the jump. The one above there was one of my favorites, and we had a blast (and ran long, since we had the time), but that isn’t to say the other panels I was on didn’t also have a lot of fun!

Anyway, I’ll drop the embeds all below, and again, you can check out all of the 2021 LTUE panels at the official LTUE YouTube Channel. While this is a lot to dump all at once, don’t forget that I did a write-up of all three of my days (day 1, day 2, and day 3) noting every panel I attended, so that’s a good place to start for suggestions of panels to search for on the LTUE channel (I recommend just loading all their latest videos and then using a CTRL+F to find the one you’re looking for).

Anyway, hit the jump for the other three panels, then head on over to the LTUE Youtube and check the rest out!

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