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Godon
12-11-2009, 04:10 AM
My name is Michael Johnson, I am a Chemical Engineering student at Florida Tech and as such, I have less time to work on my hobby than I wish. I am currently working on accumulating extensive notes on a series that I plan to have span over exactly thirty books. It will be a fantasy novel, though I have not decided entirely on the tone of voice I will use in writing it itself. My current focuses are as follows: The map and its labels, a very detailed magic system revolving around my knowledge of chemistry somehow, and outlining the synopsis of the series in increasingly small increments (from series, to book, to chapter).

My content I had last time I posted is completely gone, as I have lost all of my notes and maps that were not backed up online. For my text notes, there is nothing. My maps, there was nothing. However, I look at it as a fresh start and am moving forward. I may not be able to be completely active, but I am actively looking for ideas and suggestions on any of the following material.

What my project currently consists of [Back down to 0% on it all]:
The above stated outlining: %0%
Series Synopsis: .5%
Character portraits: 0%
Noun description/sketches: .1%
Spell description/sketch: 0%


All of that above is irrelevant here, I know, but I thought I would post it here anyway and update it periodically as I work over the months if anyone takes interest in my project.

World Map: ~.1%

Steel General
12-11-2009, 06:04 AM
This is indeed an ambitious project. Since you have already been lurking I would suggest you look around through the Finished Maps as well as Challenge Archives and see if maybe there is an existing map that 'catches your eye'.

You can then contact the author (FYI...you need at least 5 posts before you can use the private messaging feature) and see if they'll either (1) Allow you to use their previously existing map or (2) Be interested in creating a new one for you.

There are several folks here who regularly take on commissions, both paid & non (including myself) so I'm sure you'll find someone before to long to give you a hand.

You may even want to create a thread in the Map Request forum (be sure to follow the basic guidelines).

Ramah
12-11-2009, 06:10 AM
My word, you certainly are ambitious. 30 door-stopper sized novels planned in one series? :S

Well, good luck with that and the map and welcome to the guild.

Gandwarf
12-11-2009, 06:29 AM
Hi Godon and welcome to the guild.

I am trying to write a fantasy series as well (planned 6 books, not 30 :shock: ). Somewhere in book 3 I started to lose track of things as well. I then started doing stuff I should have done before even starting this project... so to keep track of things I did this:

- Created several overland maps
- Created a huge regional map
- Created more than a dozen city maps
- Created a synopsis of the history before the story
- Created a synopsis of the entire story I would like to tell
- Created an outline of the story for each book
- Created an encyclopedia of the world, containing dozens of pages, describing culture, characters, economy, strange beasts, cities and other concepts. I set it up as a Wiki. When inventing new stuff as I am writing, I add this to the encyclopedia.
- All mayor characters have had their portrait commissioned
- The first two novels I had printed as books and I can easily grab them from a shelf and look up stuff

Now I don't need to keep track of things in my head anymore :)

Godon
12-11-2009, 11:27 AM
I am hesitant to post in the request forum since I doubt anyone would tackle a project this vast. I plan to do it myself with some help from this forum. I debated for a time where to post this, but decided here would work as I will be updating my thread with progress. Another reason I chose here instead of there is because my only actual map-making request consisted of a sketch of land-masses. Thanks for the reply Steel General, and I am aware of the five posts. I will get my posts in topics, likely this one, but other topics if they particularly catch my attention.

To Ganwarf: I am doing the same things. I actually am using Liquid Story Binder XE to catalogue my lists and outlines. I just started using it, rather than lots of notepad files I lost constantly. Your post did give me an idea. An obvious one, on par with plug the device in before tech support. I can get the world map and then cut it into separate PDS files copied the partion of the map for regionals. Then get the small labels in there.

By the way. I wrote this from my iPod so forgive errors.

Ramah
12-11-2009, 11:59 AM
I actually am using Liquid Story Binder XE to catalogue my lists and outlines. I just started using it, rather than lots of notepad files I lost constantly.

Hmmm, never heard of this program before but I just checked it out and it sounds intriguing. I'm going to download it for the 30-day trial. What is your view of it? Do you think it is worth the money?

Godon
12-11-2009, 12:12 PM
Hmmm, never heard of this program before but I just checked it out and it sounds intriguing. I'm going to download it for the 30-day trial. What is your view of it? Do you think it is worth the money?

If I remember correctly, it lasts until you stop using it for thirty consecutive days. To answer your actual question, I think I will eventually purchase it, if it goes on the 50% sale again next winter. Right now I don't have a time to spare (School has me in debt past my eyebrows).

My opinion on the program is that it is more useful than any other I've used, but has a few things that are annoying. I expect, however, for these to be ironed out. Little things such as, some windows don't mouse-scroll for some reason. I found a lot of the tools to be useless in the first two hours I used the program or so, but after three or four days I've admitted most are useful. Look at the tutorial on the website for each thing listed. I've not used the builder yet, as my current book is in Word, but if you have any specific questions or want any screenshots as to how I've set it up, PM me and I'll respond as soon as I make my fifth worth-while post.

Gandwarf
12-11-2009, 02:48 PM
Hmmm, never heard of this program before but I just checked it out and it sounds intriguing. I'm going to download it for the 30-day trial. What is your view of it? Do you think it is worth the money?

I am going to download it as well. It sounds and looks very interesting.

Locution
12-11-2009, 05:20 PM
This does indded seem like a useful program. I think I will grab it myself.

@Gandwarf-- How would one go about having portraits of main characters comissioned? I am a very visual oriented writer and I am finding portraits to be an absolute necessity.

Ramah
12-11-2009, 05:32 PM
This does indded seem like a useful program. I think I will grab it myself.

@Gandwarf-- How would one go about having portraits of main characters comissioned? I am a very visual oriented writer and I am finding portraits to be an absolute necessity.

If you want faces then just skim through magazines and catalogues and cut out faces from there that resemble what you imagine and then you can use them as a visual aid. I've got a stack of photos cut from film magazines that I can use as reference.

Jaxilon
12-11-2009, 06:00 PM
I thought that Liquid program looked good as well but not being a full blown writer myself I figured I wouldn't waste my 30 day trial but if it keeps going until you leave it alone for 30 days that's another story.

I did look in the Open Source world for anything that might help a writer organize his data and from my uneducated perspective thought yWriter5 (http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html) looked good.

I figured it might at least help me to organize my gaming campaigns so I downloaded it. It was created by an author who is also a software developer so it could be good. There was also a published author who uses yWriter5 and she describes how she uses it in a little video.

Ramah
12-11-2009, 06:26 PM
I thought that Liquid program looked good as well but not being a full blown writer myself I figured I wouldn't waste my 30 day trial but if it keeps going until you leave it alone for 30 days that's another story.

I did look in the Open Source world for anything that might help a writer organize his data and from my uneducated perspective thought yWriter5 (http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html) looked good.

I figured it might at least help me to organize my gaming campaigns so I downloaded it. It was created by an author who is also a software developer so it could be good. There was also a published author who uses yWriter5 and she describes how she uses it in a little video.

Heh, grabbed that one too now.

Thanks for that. It sounds really quite useful too. Hopefully one of these programs will allow me to untangle the knotted threads of my plot and allow me to continue work on it. :)

Godon
12-11-2009, 09:10 PM
I added a sketch that I made based on a few of my older sketches. Also, yWriter is decent, but I personally have liked Liquid better.

If anyone has ideas or suggestions on the map, or even the story, PM me or post here. I check the thread every few minutes, as long as I'm home. I'd like some opnions on how to improve my sketch. Currently the PDS is 10,000x10,000. ... don't laugh I am not an artist.

Ascension
12-11-2009, 10:30 PM
I like those sketches...looks promising and fun.

Godon
12-11-2009, 10:38 PM
Do you think the land-masses are... right, though? They look wrong.

Ascension
12-12-2009, 12:22 AM
Well the top landmasses appear to be melting so I'd probably cut them up or reduce the "drip" somewhat. The mountain range in the middle isn't all that realistic curving around like it does but it's your world so if you want them that way then so be it. Deserts usually form around the Tropics (of Cancer and Capricorn), which is roughly 30 degrees above and below the equator, so I'd move it down a bit which would require changing the land shape. So I'd cut that big blob off from the the top and move it up a bit and put a big desert there. The chain looks cool and the huge continents on either side of the globe add some mystery.

Godon
12-12-2009, 01:27 AM
Well the top landmasses appear to be melting so I'd probably cut them up or reduce the "drip" somewhat. The mountain range in the middle isn't all that realistic curving around like it does but it's your world so if you want them that way then so be it. Deserts usually form around the Tropics (of Cancer and Capricorn), which is roughly 30 degrees above and below the equator, so I'd move it down a bit which would require changing the land shape. So I'd cut that big blob off from the the top and move it up a bit and put a big desert there. The chain looks cool and the huge continents on either side of the globe add some mystery.

Don't 'hey it's your world' me! I told you I didn't like it and was looking for the suggestions, <3

Anyway, I'll resketch some of it and try again. I tried to keep the deserts around the 20-40 degree area, but meh. I'll put up a ruler next time and be more careful. I'll post new sketches in a bit.

Godon
12-12-2009, 10:56 PM
I posted four sketches, I referenced a map generated in Fractal Terrains, a style that seemed less distorted. Anyway, they are sketchy so I scribbled in most of the water with blue (missed a few lakes I added, which I had forgotten altogether in my previous map) and red for mountain ranges.

Thoughts? Remember, I'm not an artist. >:

Godon
12-18-2009, 09:58 AM
Sorry now for the tripple post, but I went on vacation with my Brother and my woman and am trapped by snow storms and such, so I'm away for a bit longer than I anticipated. However, I find myself curious as to whether or not I properly introduced my project and/or sketches/desire for input, as I've not recieved any on the sketches I put up over the last few days now. Does the guild just frown on terrible sketches? ;)

NeonKnight
12-18-2009, 12:07 PM
Welcome to the Guild!

Ramah
12-18-2009, 02:55 PM
Godon, people might respond better to those sketches if you'd put them in your last post instead of editing them into the first post so they can see them easier.

I can't really comment on them btw, because they are just to rough for me to get a feel for what it is you are trying to do. I remember your other sketches being on a globe I think, and I wouldn't have commented on those because I have zero idea when it come to mapping that way.

jbgibson
12-18-2009, 03:56 PM
Welcome, Godon!

Btw, Liquid Story Binder's trial ends after thirty non-consecutive days of use, not thirty consecutive days of non-use. Word matters order :-). It does look cool though - helping to keep reference images tied to related content one is writing, for instance.

World-building thoughts - indeed, consider inviting others to your creative sandbox. Infusions of other peoples' imagination could keep the wild variety you're looking for fresh. Tidbits and starters might be enough - instigators instead of collaborators.

Connecting with conlang folks could net you some families of tongues that hang together.

I agree about maps generating all manner of story lines and detail possibilities. The bit of geofiction writing I do springs oftenest from something on a map.

To get plausible climate zones out of Fractal Terrains, you'll want to do some educated guessing and tweaking. See things like http://www.fas.org/irp/imint/docs/rst/Sect14/Sect14_1c.html -- on the fifth graphic up from the bottom, see how (very!) generalized seasonal pressure patterns place highs over big continental masses during a hemisphere's winter, and over oceans during a hemisphere's summer? The pic above that pair shows how some generalized winds spiral into and out of these lows and highs, differing by whether in northern or southern hemisphere.

At this point if your eyes are glazing it's ok to just say "uhhh, the prevailing winds across continent X are about like SO" and be done with it :-).

But if you're compulsive enough to want plausibility, there's a good general presentation at http://geog-www.sbs.ohio-state.edu/courses/G230/hobgood/ASP230Lecture24.ppt . From slide 33 on, it shows how those summer/winter patterns drive wet seasons vs. dry ones. Once you get an idea of where the overall wind patterns might be, you can then guess how that would drive surface ocean currents (did I mention I tend to obsess over this kind of stuff? :-) ). The 'slant' of coasts will matter a lot, as will whether straits are big enough to pass large amounts of water, vs. small enough to choke off flow. Here's how I did that on a Fractal Terrains world. Busy, busy, map - sorry.

jbgibson
12-18-2009, 03:58 PM
(cont.)
Reason I put both summer and winter winds on there at once is to help figure currents - if the winds in one area are diametrically opposed at different parts of the year, the current won't be as strong, being driven maybe more by how the water's sloshing in response to winds elsewhere. Yadda yadda - pick up a used climate & weather textbook to read - there'll be enough maps to grab your graphical interest that you'll soak up a lot of the air & sea movements painlessly. As a side note, I didn't study stuff like this NEARLY as hard in college, as now when I want to know about it :-).

The Fractal Terrains program sets up rather bland climate. First off, it makes terrain of fairly uniform roughness - I had to tweak it to get plains and plateaus. Since it doesn't have even a basic simulation of currents and winds, nor of seasonal climate variation, when I was working with the original maps of the world above, I had time only to do a little basic guessing. The detailed wind stuff came later.

Mods to the 'ideal' situations of the summer winter textbook variation involve plausible 'rain shadows' where land is most of the year downwind of mountain ranges. That got me some deserts and savanna and chaparral. A realistic assessment of weather patterns could maybe show more dry territory now than when I started... but my summer/winter wind patterns are just plausible guesses anyway. I'm content to go light on the S and heavy on the WA of a SWAG. If you do the windfiguring before you settle on an FT climate map, you can manually push and prod temps and rainfall to make it come out better.

One thing I always note is that the climate zones shown by FT are "before human effects". If your people have been cutting down trees for hundreds of years to make farmland, there'll be more grasslands and croplands. It's been said before Europeans showed up in North America a squirrel could probably have run from tree to tree from the Atlantic coast all the way to the Mississippi river. If a grassland or savanna or chaparral or tropical shrubland has been overgrazed for generations it might be desert now. That's what has happened to much of North Africa within historic times. On the flip side, a bit of irrigation could transform what was formerly desert into productive ranch and farm land. Much of the American West was once termed The Great American Desert - don't think bare sand and rock, just inhospitable to human use.

Our above map doesn't have the huge bulk of the Eurasian landmass to mix things up. Even Danetia (the largest continent, top right) is a lot smaller than Eurasia, so it has more sea-influenced weather/climate. Your FT world has even smaller, stringier landmasses. At a guess, that would prejudice your climate toward maritime, wetter, less seasonably variable. On the other hand, there's always *weather* to add interest. Climate averages? Pish. All those land-hemmed oceans of yours are going to let equatorial water get hotter than Earth's oceans... a terrific driver for tropical cyclones. So of course on mine I had to figure where those would most likely form and track for my world. Like so:

jbgibson
12-18-2009, 04:02 PM
(cont.)
See the ocean without any cyclone tracks? That's analogous to the South Atlantic, which almost never gets tropical cyclone activity. Plenty of mid-and upper-lattitude storms, it just doesn't have the hurricane thing going. Those zones aren't all active at once - see the wiki page (http://worldspinner.net/worldofaurora/wiki/index.php/Tropical_Cyclone_Distribution) those live on for a look at scheduling. In passing - Earth's strongest tornado areas are in the middle of big continents - maybe your planet just doesn't get a lot of them. Or maybe cyclones routinely spawn hordes of the beasts - your call. But now you have a shred of a reason to go one way or the other :-).


Back to the general culture / history ideas spawned by your map - looks to me like all those smallish straits would make for easier continent-to-continent migration. And earlier than earth - if all you need is little coastal cogs and longboats and such, looks like your whole world would've had commerce a long time.

You mention magic more some places than others - do you have a system or set of rules yet? The maps might suggest some "whys". Tied to volcanism? Figure yourself some plausible plate tectonics. Sensitive to oceans? More mana when surrounded by salt water? Maybe islands this, that & the other are strongest with the mages. Came to earth from above meteorically? - see any plausible ancient impact craters? Comes from the beans dropped from the pocket of the last age's Wandering Giant Glymishkya? Maybe the skinniest straits suggest a path for him from landmass to landmass.

As for a scope of thirty books' breadth -- please, please leave your heirs good notes so they can finish out whatever you leave incomplete!


Is there a way to stick uploaded files inline rather than at the end of a post? That's why I broke this up, to get the pix at the right spots. Nooo, Jake's not the least bit format-compulsive either.... :-).

-- Jake

Godon
12-18-2009, 08:10 PM
I'll put them into the last post, it just seemed better form to update the first post, rather than post at each update, as it would be more difficult to find the updated posts and it would use more bandwidth for the site unless I go back and edit the posts to delete them. As for the sketchiness, it's mainly because I don't want to commit to something before I get a good feel for the land-masses and the mountain structures.

And, jbgibson, thank-you for the post. I'll have to review it more closely when I am at my computer rather than huddling in a room shielding myself from the sudden snow and typing on my iPhone. From what I have read it sounds quite helpful. My current idea for the land-masses was to sketch out a general globe that I liked and then play with FT until I found something that looked similar. I will try what you've suggested as soon as I am home (Monday or Tuesday).

I will likely be taking thorough notes for a few more years, maybe five-ten. Once I have a detailed outline of all thirty books in a chapter-by-chapter lineup I will begin writing. If I die, there should be more than enough for anyone to take over, but I admittedly hope not to. If I manage to get published and make it my living I am fairly confident that I can pump them out fairly quickly, as I have filled out detailed outlines as far as fifteen-to-twenty thousand words in a day. Albeit a long day. The part I -must- focus on now, though, is the notes themselves. I am really just toying with different worlds for a long time because I want to be absolutely certain I like it before I make it my world.

Godon
01-22-2010, 08:00 PM
So it's been a while. I started grad school and have been busier than I anticipated. Anyway, I've had some computer trouble, which resulted in losing all of my notes for the series. I am back to square one, in a way, but I think it will give me a chance to take a new approach to it. I have some ideas, but nothing solid yet. I've taken a bit of time to sketch out patterns for some of the worlds I have been considering, but haven't got anything definite yet. I will have to read more over the material you provided for me before I have confidence in it.

Anyway, I'm caught up on my homework for once, though I have a test on Monday to study for. I am going to start outlining my books again and I think I am going to trash Fractal Terrains and just scribble in Photoshop and say to hell with the prettyness.

Ascension
01-22-2010, 10:16 PM
Expressionism is a good thing...look at Jackson Pollock. :) Just let 'er rip and see what happens.