Writing Exercise: Unexpected Consequences

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First Step, Initial Worldbuilding – Second Step, Unintended Consequences

Basically one part of worldbuilding is taking the change made in the world and parse it out to additional layers. Only when a writer commits to the consequences of those first choices does the world become real.

Example: Punk cuts off arm and replaces with cyber arm. We know the back muscles will also need replacement for the strength modification and likely the leg bones to support any additional weight carried. It will need to be charged, lets say solar thread replaced hair, plus a nighttime recharge against a wall. Yea – change and then additional change.

One step further, I had a friend with a missing body part – her daily calorie count was about 300 less than one would expect for someone her size (and she was small) – so her calorie count needed to hover about 1,200 except for special days. Not a diet to lose weight, but the meat missing from her body mass that no longer needed to be repaired, heated or function required her to take in less energy producing products or gain weight quickly. So this huge cyber punk guy guy with the cyber arm, replaced bones and adjusted muscles likely eats like a bird! … Oh, and additional question with 3 out of 4 of his limbs missing natural long bones – how is his body making all the blood necessary – is it necessary with the missing body parts – does he make more than he needs now?

WRITING EXERCISE: Okay – so for your present work – come up with one unexpected consequence and explain it below. Now you don’t want to do this all the time because you can spend forever on worldbuilding, but having one or two of these takes you beyond – well, the dude can fly, the wand makes magic. 

Other Cool Posts: Magical Words January 31, 2011

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Vernor’s Law

I’ve been going through the Magical Words archives, making certain I have made a copy of everything before it hits the seven-year disappear mark. And I found it! Vernor’s Law. No, not the one of “If the technological singularity can happen, it will.” but the one useful for writers.

(please note this is paraphrased) At any given time while writing, at least two of the three should be happening in a scene, preferably all three. Otherwise your writing has stalled.

  1. Develop character
  2. Advance plot
  3. Fill in necessary background information.

The most commonly known version of breaking this law is an information dump. On the other hand, the most common weakness of a new writer is the character description which just describes the character like they are in a police lineup.

David B. Coe goes into a series on descriptive passages helping writers to sharpen their descriptive skills so nothing is just an information dump. The series includes the following (with the comments being nearly as useful as the blog postings):

Part I: Settings

Part II: Character

Part III: Action

Part IV: Dialogue

WRITING EXERCISE: After reviewing the above, write 200 words or more description from your present WIP using one of the following prompts: a setting building toward action, a secondary character as described by the main character, an action scene from someone other than your typical POV character limited by that characters experience and language, or a dialogue which is particularly about character building and background information.

Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words June 16, 2016


Painting entitled: Woman in Prayer

Worldbuilding: Gods

Everywhere we look religious is steeped into our culture. How the days of the weeks play out, the days off, holidays, how people dress, quotes, country boundaries, and dozen of other expectations. To write a world without religion, whether horror, science fiction, or fantasy creates an unreal world.

I loved how steeped Babylon 5 was in religion: Stephen Franklin’s Foundationism, Susan Ivanova’s Judaism, the Mimbari government being lead partially by their priesthood, and G’Kar’s fanaticism. Every character is on Bab 5 was driven partially by belief in something greater, including Londo’s ties to his people. Without the religious overtones, Babylon 5 would have been the typical bland sci-fi we normally see. Instead it constantly was asking questions.

Magical word’s Diana Pharaoh Francis covered the topic in “God-Fearing Woman”. The list of questions to ask when creating a religion are especially important. I lightly touched on religion in the flash Joelie and Sarah’s Last Day last month. Joelie is an ongoing character for me; I especially love the religion I created for him. The Tester is neither good or evil, benevolent or petty, but a smith shaping materials to be the best they can be – sometimes the hard hammer and sometimes the gentle hands.

WRITING EXERCISE: Pick three characters from your present work-in-progress. Create one prayer for each they might say at the beginning or end of a day.

READING EXERCISE: Think of your present read-in-progress. How does religion impact one of the characters? Does their beliefs drive any of their goals?

Book Review: Steel’s Edge (The Edge #4)

Book Cover for Steel's Edge

Book Cover from Amazon

Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews
Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.

Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive…


An awesome contemporary romantic “urban” fantasy. Last of the four book series, the manuscript can be stand-alone or enjoyed at the end of a long reading marathon. At this time I have only read books one and four.

Ilona Andrews, a husband and wife team, write banter like they took notes during a few of Benedict and Beatrice (Much to do About Nothing) private arguments. Sexy, funny, witty. The men of the series are warriors and the women stand by their side with their special abilities, kicking ass and maybe even scarier than the male loves; Charlotte, the heroine of Steel’s Edge, certainly is the more dangerous of the two. All the heroes and heroines are strong people.

And the worldbuilding is delicious. It isn’t so much political intrigue as sociological intrigue. Unless you know how to move through the society, you got problems. In the first book it was trying to fit in with the isolated Edgers, and in the fourth book maneuvering through the challenge of a three-hundred-year old aristocratic society – it isn’t a Victorian novel on manners, but picking the right color gown can mean the difference of getting in to see the person you need to assassinate.

Steel’s Edge is clearly a three-act book – the first on the Edge dragging Charlotte out of her hidey hole back into the land of the living and personal hurt, the second an unholy absolutely amazing preparation for and then battle at a slaver’s town, and finally going after the big slave bosses who move at the very top of society. In each act Charlotte’s and Richard’s relationship develop further and the stakes get higher.

I loved meeting up with the children from Book 1 – George and Jack – again in Book 4. They have grown older, now full teenagers and on the cusp of adulthood. And I may forgive the Andrews the first major death of the book … if they write two more romances set in the Edge. I want to see who George, Jack, and even Sophie end up with.