Scary Starts and Fictional Census Results

It’s been a weird couple of weeks, writing-wise.  I submitted my latest revision of the novel-that-has-no-name-yet to my editor, and now I have turned to something scarier: writing Book 2.  The thought of doing in less than a year what took me almost ten years to do the first time is, well, terrifying, but we’ll see what happens.  There is a character who just demands to have her story told, so I guess I am going to have to give in to her.

As well as I knew my world the first go-round, I found that it was not nearly enough for this one.  This point-of-view character has a much broader education and experience of the world than the main character of my first book, and so I am learning things I never knew before.  I’ve spent the last few weeks doing things that don’t feel like writing but are a necessary prerequisite – lots of brainstorming and making charts and maps and background materials.  I’ve even pulled out a couple of books I bought about ten years ago, thinking that they might help with world-building someday, and it turns out that Past Me was correct.

Here they are:

culture      city

 

These are lesson-planning books for middle school teachers to guide students in a project researching various cultures and cities and then inventing their own.  These books have turned out to be great writer’s guides.  They help you think of all the angles on a culture, from the religious beliefs to the role of women to currency and games and sports.  I’ve ended up making a giant chart with all the major cultures represented in my story, and filling in these areas has led to some fascinating realizations, connections, and relevant story ideas.

And now, when someone asks what I did at work today, I can answer, “I wrote up census results for a fictional culture.” How many people get to say that?

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