Last week I finished the 30 day World Building exercise that I took on to help me get "started" on my short stories writing project. The goal was to use the exercise to build a deeper background world around the land of the "Bewildering Pine" and starting to collect ideas and outlines for the place, the people/folk who populate it and the myriad of details that, hopefully, will make it rich and inviting to readers.
The results were, to put it mildly, overwhelming.
When it comes to writing I have always enjoyed telling little tales. It's been a part of me since childhood too. And, as I get older, I want to create something that will be left behind in written form. More than just little tales for the items I make and sell but stand alone tales of a place that, at least half of my waking hours, I am immersed in.
And yet, every time I have tried to get started, I seem to fall short and the momentum and enthusiasm stalls out.
I am going to write about this a few times in the coming month because it is truly too much to try and share in one post. So I will keep this short and we will call this entry, "the outline".
Now, if you had told me before I started the thirty day project, that I would spend about 15 hours in one month on my stories, I would have told you that sounds great. . . but I am not sure where I'll find the time to do that.
Well, let me say that I did indeed spend between 15 and 20 hours last month writing. First thing each day, 30 days in a row, I sat down and tackled that days world building assignment while having coffee and morning pastry.
Each day is supposed to be just 15 minutes of writing but, some of the exercises were things I had already thought quite a bit about but had never written down. And each of those led, it seems, to deeper and more extensive thoughts about everything from geography and climate to the people, commerce, animals and societal rules etc etc. I spent up to an hour some days, just writing. Moe thinking n top of that.
So much so that I am going through another list of world building questions and expanding the world even more!
The best thing to come out of it all is this.
When I began, the project was going to be a series of short stories, "The Ledgerkeepers" many of which I hoped to illustrate and then make little "zines" from that I could self publish and sell thru my shop. Stories that would appeal to any age or delight anyone with an interest fairies/elves etc and their world. Then, when I had enough stories, to produce a collected, printed book of them to offer as well.
What has come from the last month's work though is a far deeper story that I think is the bones for a longer book. Dare I say. . . a full or mini novel? And the bones of that story. . . the darker, unexpected plot line, characters, the Pine history and lineage and all the details and plot twists, so much of it never existed at all before I did this 30 day exercise.
All of that. . . in roughly 15 hours. . . that I would have sworn I could not have found in my days.
I can look back now and honestly say that I just never had the discipline to do it but also, I simply did not know where to begin.
And that is the thing I want to convey here. I will never let that happen again. I know it's an age old line but it's the journey, not the destination that is the key. Getting from point A to point B is always overwhelming until we take those first small steps. And I know very well that an organized or structured framework, preferably daily and in small increments, is how we always manage to get there.
I did it with my Etsy shops, making new things every single day to improve my skills (I still do this 6 years later!) and I did it with learning to write music. . . or even running coffeehouses and cafe's. Just do this one little thing, then the next, then the next. . . little small building blocks to get where we want to be. Like so many, I can give up n things because that end goal seems so far of. It seems to be the same for people with exercise plans, diets, career goals etc etc. Point B can seem so far away. . .
I think most new things seem overwhelming until you get in and wade thru those dark waters of uncertainty and self doubt.
So, I hope to share some of the deeper details with what I have been working on with you soon but let me leave you with just this one little aspect of my world that I just came up with in the last day or two of the exercise.
I knew that I wanted a "sport" for my world since games and sports were such a huge part of my childhood. But I also made up so many of my own variations back then. . . so I wanted something more personal than just a simple twist on a current "Earth sport". Nothing close to what we know as being sports in the here and now. Nothing violent, nothing requiring extreme physical skill or physique. In fact, the long lithe elf would be a better suited candidate than the big strong ogre. lol But still, something that could be played by any creature. Elf, Hob, Dryad, etc etc with an equal chance for success.
That "sport", still unnamed as of now, is a combination of Hopscotch and Hackey Sack. I envision it being played on a huge, elaborately tiled mosaic version of the French hopscotch layout which is a winding snail shape play area ( in researching hopscotch, I learned that in France they call the game Escargot for the shape of the playing field!!) with, in my game's case, 21 numbered spaces leading to a gold circle in the center. The game I've invented is played with two teams of two defenders, one pitcher (a position that requires only tossing accuracy so any age folk could be this player!) and one sacker (that's the person who tries to score) on the game field simultaneously. Each little village has it's own "Shtyri" (a Pine term, from the "old language" for the four player team) and it's a dream of a number of the folk in the Pine, young or old, male or female, to become part of their town's team. Young elves all over play it on dirt fields, adults at picnics, traders on leave. . . etc etc
Anyway, that's too much fun! I'll probably make a scale model of the playing field in the future too. I've come a cross some wonderful "villager" elf 1:72 scale figurines that I could create it around.
So, more on the world building to come!
For now, here are a few little creations to share this week. . .
Have a lovely week dear ones! MAKE MAGIC!!!