Being a Better Writer: Currency

Welcome to Monday, readers! And to another installment of Being a Better Writer! Where today, we’re going to talk about something worldbuilding related: Money!

Now, those of you who’ve been following things since I announced that Shadow of an Empire would release on June 1st (and you can pre-order it now!) may have caught on that BaBW posts since then have been kind of tied into something to do with Shadow. Which makes things easier on me at the moment, to be sure. But those of you who have may be wondering how currency as a topic ties into Shadow. Well, outside of “Hey ho, I can’t wait until Shadow of an Empire launches and I start making a return on it!” Which, to be perfectly fair, is a 100% reasonable reaction from a content creator. We like to be able to afford rent.

But that aside (Order Shadow of an Empire!), how does currency tie into Shadow? Well, to be perfectly frank, it doesn’t … in any more or less capacity than it would tie into any other book taking place in its own little world.

Let’s step back for a minute. Say you’re writing a … oh, let’s go with the Fantasy genre. So you’re writing a fantasy story, and you’ve got your group of characters out on the road for an adventure or whatever. They come across an inn and stop for the night, expecting to buy dinner and a few rooms. Now, quick pause here: how are they going to pay, and with what?

Well, if your character were having a fantasy adventure in the United States, it’d be with US currency. If they were journeying in the Indrim Empire, they’d need to shell out some Imperial Marks, hard metal coins minted by the empire, or sign a bank writ of sale. If they were in Sheerwater, they’d use reeds—basically metal straws of varying values and make. And if they were at the Leaky Cauldron of Harry Potter fame, they’d need to produce knuts, sickles, and galleons.

The reason I bring this up is because currency is one of those facets of basic life that most take for granted, so much so that it often seems to slip beneath the cracks in a lot of basic worldbuilding (nod your head here if you’ve ever read a book or played a game that’s defaulted to simplified gold, silver, and copper “pieces” without even a name or mention of mint). A lot of novels and worlds simply … skip, I think would be the best term … this aspect of worldbuilding. They go with the aforementioned copper, silver, and gold pieces, because … well, to be perfectly frank, that’s usually the system they know, the one that they’re most familiar with next to whatever they use each day.

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Shadow of an Empire Releases in Two Weeks!

Shadow of an Empire

I mean, do I really need to say anything else? It’s almost here! Two weeks from today, you’ll finally be able to get your hands on this sweeping Fantasy-Western adventure! If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet so that you can have it in your hands for the first weekend of June, click the cover there to get cracking!

In the meantime, look forward to some related events coming up next week! In addition to the usual Being a Better Writer post, you’ll get the unveiling another X-Com 2 character pack! Starring—Who else?—Salitore Amazd and Meelo Karn from Shadow of an Empire. Fun side note, these two were actually the first custom characters I made in X-Com 2. I’ve had them in my roster for a long time … and now it’s your turn.

Next week will also see me doing an AMA on Reddit! That’s right, Friday, May 25th, at 1 PM Mountain Time, I’ll be doing a Reddit AMA for several hours to promote—naturally—Shadow and just answer any wild questions you guys might have about writing, Shadow, my other books, or really anything else.

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David Weber Speaks Up on “Disinviting” Convention Guests

This deserves to be read. I’m not going to post the whole thing here because, well, it’s David Weber’s take on things, not mine. I just happen to agree with it, so I’m going to spread and share the link to the post he made on the topic.

A little background if you haven’t heard what’s been going on, however. There’s a new trend that’s kicked up in the last month or so regarding conventions in the book world: See someone you disagree with announced as a guest at a con? Don’t just complain about it. Make up a bunch of horrible stuff, start a twitter-based lynch mob, and slam the convention organizers en mass in hopes that they’ll buckle under the deluge before anyone pauses and says “Wait a minute, this all sounds highly suspicious.”

It’s happened twice in the last month. Both times the accusations have been found entirely baseless, but even then, sometimes the con organizers have simply doubled-down and basically decided that even if it all was false, it’s just bad publicity, so no, those authors will no longer attend.

Weber’s reaction to this is well-said, and if you’re in the con circuit or thinking about getting into it, give it a read.

Shadow of an Empire on Goodreads

Just a heads up, readers, but Shadow of an Empire is now listed on Goodreads (alongside the rest of my books). Which means you can let Goodreads know that you’re planning on reading it or that you’re excited for it to come out. You can also recommend it to others on Goodreads and even (once it comes out) leave a star rating for it!

Naturally, I wholeheartedly recommend doing show, especially the bits about letting Goodreads know you want to read it and sharing it with others. Just like with Amazon pre-orders, Goodreads recommendation metrics get a boost out of readers letting other readers know they’re looking at a book, which in the end is a big help to me.

So if you’ve got a Goodreads account, let ’em know you’re excited for Shadow of an Empire and spread the word!

Being a Better Writer: Cover Art

Hello readers! Welcome back to a Monday edition of Being a Better Writer! I know, it’s almost sad that I have to celebrate the posting of a Monday-centric series on a Monday, but my other job lately has been nuts. As in, I could write an entire post about how it’s an example of the dumpster fire that corporate America has created/become. I sort of want to, for my sanity as well, because … well, that’s a tale for another time. Or day.

Thankfully, things with this job are going pretty awesome. How so? Well, you might have missed it if these posts are the only ones you ever check out, but Shadow of an Empire (the snazzy cover you saw in the featured image) is available for pre-order! That’s right! It comes out June 1st, and joins my slowly-but-ever-expanding roster of adventures. If you’ve been reading Being a Better Writer but haven’t checked out any of my books yet, this is the point where I tell you that you definitely should. You’ll get to see all of the topics, elements, etc, that I talk about in these BaBW posts on display in some awesome fiction.

Also, if you haven’t, this week’s News Post is pretty packed-full of cool news and updates. Price drops, Reddit AMAs … check it out!

Okay, news and stuff out of the way! Let’s talk about a really tricky, often dividing topic among authors and writers: Book covers.

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