August has always been an “end” month to me. I think my brain never quite fully shook the school year when I left it many moons ago. I lived for so long in a September – September existence that even now when I can finally run by the normal calendar year, August still feels like an “end” of another year.
I had planned my posts up to about mid-August, assuming that it was miles away and I’d have plenty of time to write them. As it turns out, time seems to have just hit fast forward for the months of June and July, and now suddenly I’m catapulted into August with no posts planned, severely behind my monthly wordcount, and even more pressures on my writing time (yay DIY!)
More Learnings from my Travels
Back in April, I talked about my last holiday to Asia and what I had no only learnt for myself, but for my writing (and worldbuilding) too. This month I was fortunate enough to travel to the south of France for a long weekend away, which gave me the idea for the topic of today’s blog update.
I love the Mediterranean and all the regions surrounding it. This was my first trip to the south of France (having previously only ventured no further south than Paris), and it was really engaging and wonderful. Lots of tiny streets and little market stalls, towered by tall buildings full of apartments were so interesting to explore and lose yourself in their winding roads. As you lose yourself in the streets, you’re greeted by the smells of the restaurants and coffee shops that sat in the squares dotted around the Old Town of Nice. As someone who likes to eat to explore, it was difficult to choose just one place to eat!
Not only that, there was some fascinating sites to visit – the port, the old fort, and of course the beach! The old fort was fascinating, although we did not stay as long as we intended (we were slowly starting to dehydrate in the heat and needed more shade). And the beach! Of course, the beach is one of the tourist hotspots in Nice and in the middle of Summer it certainly was! Nothing beats a good explore followed by sitting on the beach trying to not get my writing notebook too wet after having been for a swim.
Worldbuilding a WIP
Even though this holiday was less about exploring and more about relaxing, it did get me to thinking about worldbuilding not just the places or the ecology, but the people as well. There were so many people going through the town, tourists and locals alike, and it made me realise that my world in my WIP might be ecologically diverse, but it needs to have a layer of culture added to it. What phrases do people use to swear with, what idioms do they use? What variations on accent, language and ideas to they have? Why do they have them? Would someone who lives in a predominantly fishing town have one set of saying, whilst someone who comes from a jungle would have another?
This kind of thinking is what I like to call the “second layer” of worldbuilding. If the first layer is your basic map, general world layout, and ecological structure, then the second layer is the impact that the first layer has on your people or creatures that inhabit it. What happens if there are giant insects? Would that change how transport is used? What happens if the magic system is intertwined with the world, so that it too had an impact on the people? The language? What if it impacted on different people from different areas in different ways?
I have so many ideas from holiday, some written down, most are in my head. Now I just need to find some time to write!
Rejection isn’t such a pain
Back in May I mentioned I had submitted some things to a couple of magazines. And this month I got the last of the rejections.
I mean, getting rejections is kind of par-of-course for most writers. Not only is there personal preferences in the reviewers, there are so many flavours of writing magazines that have specific types of writing they’re looking for sometimes it’s just not a good fit. Other times, it’s because there are grammar errors (ugh I hate it when there are still grammar errors even though I proof read the damn thing three times. Thanks dyslexia). Other, other times, it’s because the type of story you’re trying to tell just doesn’t work for what they’re looking for.
I mean, it’s a bit of a bummer to be rejected, but I got some good feedback that I can work into the story and hopefully make it better. And now it’s been rejected, I can line it up as one of my teacup stories, which it’ll probably be quite a good fit for!
Did you manage to read a book Alex?
Why yes, I did! I finally finished “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” over my holiday. I’d admit, it took me a while to get into the book, but once you got to the twist about 2/3 of the way through, then it got really interesting. I particularly liked the Chimera worldbuilding (without giving too many spoilers away!), that was some really, really good worldbuilding and some really clever ideas of how to build a race of characters.
What else is happening in the world of Alex
A small summary of what else is happening in Alex’s world:
- I am terribly, terribly excited for the Wheel of Time cast announcements that happened over at the Wheel of Time twitter. How did I miss the fact that ROSMUND PIKE is going to play Moraine I have no idea. But by god does the cast look good. I’m so pumped!
- I’m trying to attempt some House DIY. Not sure how well it’ll go!
- I have a new Landing Page which I am trying to keep updated (when my Laptop connects to the internet!) which details a quick list of links and a summary about what I write.
- I’m trying to find my own ancestors at ancestry.co.uk. It’s taking up a lot of time but it’s a really interesting puzzle to solve! At the moment, I’m on great x2 relatives!
Other things you might find interesting:
- Signup For my Newsletter – my next newsletter is being prepared for a Sept/October release. Make sure you sign up now! In this edition, you’ll have:
- Intro to my characters from my Assassins!WIP
- Sci Fi Short Story – 3%
- List of all my Favourite stories I’ve posted so far!
- Taylor Swift’s new album is out and it’s all I’ve been listening to (love me some good imagery in lyrics!)
- A link to the rainforest alliance page if, like me, you’re raging about the fires in the Amazon.
See you next month!
Thank you to everyone who leaves likes and comments on my posts (whether here or on my various social media homes). I’m trying to get better at interacting with y’all. It’s a slow and terrifying process (yay anxiety!).
(photo credit – Photo by Gregory Culmer on Unsplash)