Using Maps and Essays in World Building in a Fiction Series by Charles F. French

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I had a wonderful time participating in the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference 2020. The hosts were friendly and extremely helpful. The information given out by many presenters is useful for writers who are not horror writers as well as those who are. If you have a chance, you can still stop by their excellent site: HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference
Here is part two:
lmWdnGUGVBQyDmckQymS
How To World and Character Build in a Horror Novel Series

by

Charles F. French

Part Two

 

World Building

All fiction writers, no matter the genre, must create the world in which their characters live. Whether writing in literary fiction, romance, horror, science-fiction, or any other of the myriad of possible genres, writers create a world for the readers to observe and in which they can be immersed as they read.

This can be a difficult process to perform for one novel, but in the creating of a series set in a particular fictional world, it presents several problems. Among these issues are: what are the details of the fictional environment? Does the world remain static or change? What elements of the fictional world are the most important? And does the world change throughout the series? I am not suggesting that there are absolute answers to these questions that can fit every series, but I am saying that these questions should be kept in mind and addressed by writers who are building these places.

I have written two novels in a continuing horror series: Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 and Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 2. I am currently working on book 3. The books are all set in a fictional Pennsylvania town called Bethberg—set somewhere north of Bethlehem, PA and south of Stroudsburg, PA.

Maps

During the writing of the books, I did not initially try to set down on paper details of the town, which was a mistake. I have since corrected it, and I have made a map, that would never impress map-makers, but serves the function of being a reference if I need it.

I recommend this process as strongly as I can. You do not need to have any artistic ability to create this guide; it need be useful only to you. I certainly, also, do not claim to have been the first writer to make this kind of aid. J. R. R. Tolkien created maps of Middle Earth in The Lord Of The Rings and Sherwood Anderson, in Winesburg, Ohio, also showed a map of the town. These charts help the readers, but I believe they also aided the writers in their craft.

I recommend keeping the map to only one page if you can. I began by drawing the basic street layout of Bethberg, PA. It is an old-fashioned Pennsylvania town with a circle in the center of town and roads going east-west and north-south in an imperfect grid from the circle. Because the town dates from the 1700s, the roads often do not follow any particular layout.

I then began adding key landmarks that appear in my books to the map, including diners, bars, homes, and shops.

As I continue to write this series, I add more to the map. In book two, I realized that a major area occurs in the outskirts of the community, a place call Gallows Hill. When I understood that point, I added it to the map.

One day, I might show the map in a book, but for now, in its present condition, I use it only for my reference.

To Begin:

• What kind of physical world are you building?

• If it is large, I suggest an overall map to begin, including pertinent landmasses and water or other characteristics.

• Is your world that of a small town, a large city, or the country? These are only a few of the possibilities.

• Then draw smaller maps of other areas within the larger world.

• If the world you are creating is small, then make a map of it. You might begin with the most important central feature and expand from there.

• What buildings are there?

• What stores and shops?

• What kind of roads?

Continuing:

As you work on your novels, you will find some changes that you need to make in your world. I suggest continuing to work on your map.

• Expand the map as needed. Add new places, such as streets, buildings, and parks.

• Mark changes that occur—has a building been destroyed in a previous book.

• I suggest keep copies of the maps as they exist for each book.

Using Essays:

Besides the use of maps, it can also be a good idea to write a small piece about the world you are creating. I have done this, and I have tried to give an over accounting of what makes this world operate as well as specific details. For example, is it a place that is driven by the known rules of physics, or does magic operate there? Are you concerned with a very specific place, or is your book set in a sprawling expanse of time and place?

I believe that the more you know and understand about the world your characters inhabit, the easier and more vividly you will be able to create that place in words, and your readers will, therefore, also be able to picture it when they read your work.

The most important consideration to remember is consistency with the world you create. Be certain that you can picture the world and keep the details clear in your mind; that way, the readers will also be able to do the same.

I hope these suggestions help.

 

How To World And Character Build in a Horror Novel Series by Charles F. French

Standard
I had a wonderful time participating in the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference 2020. The hosts were friendly and extremely helpful. The information given out by many presenters is useful for writers who are not horror writers as well as those who are. If you have a chance, you can still stop by their excellent site: HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference
Here is part one of my presentation:
How To World and Character Build in a Horror Novel Series
by
Charles F. French
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Part One

 

Character Biography Sheet

The following worksheet is a sample of the kind of biography sheet that I use when writing. I have formed this based on biography sheets I used both as an actor and director, and I find them to be extremely useful in writing fiction. I do not suggest that I have asked all the questions that another writer might of her/his characters, but I hope this sheet is a good way to begin. Feel free to copy it and use it as you will. I find it is most effective when I include as much detail as I can about my characters. Also, please understand that it is unlikely that you will use all of these details in your writing, but knowing these minute parts of your characters will help you both to bring them to life and to bridge their existence over several books.

Physical Characteristics:
 

Height –
Weight –
Body type –
Hair color –
Hair length –
Hair style –
Eye color –
Scars or birthmarks –
tattoos and piercings –

limps or other physical issues –
Family:
 

Mother –
Father –
Siblings –
Cousins –
Emotional relationship with any of them –

Foods:
 

Is the character a meat eater, vegetarian, vegan, or other special kind of consumer of foods?
Breakfast:
Eggs – how do they eat them? what style?
Breakfast potatoes – homefries, hashbrowns?
Breakfast meat? what kind?
Toast? what kind of bread?
Bagels? what kind, with toppings?
Fruit? what kind?
Pancakes?
Waffles?
French toast?
What kind of syrup?
Cereal? what kind?
Oatmeal? with what on it?
Cream of wheat?
Other breakfast choices?
Lunch:
Soup? What kind?
Sandwich? What kind? What bread?
Salad? what kind? what kind of dressing?
Pasta dish? what kind?
Fruits? What kind?
Dinner:
Any particular type of food that is a favorite?
What main dishes?
What side dishes?
What salads?
Desserts:
Cakes? What kind –
Pies? What kind –
Ice Cream? what kind and how?
Other baked goods? what kind –
Indulgences:
Candy? What kind?
Cookies? What kind?
Other?
Alcohol:
Beer? What kind –
Wine? What kind –
Whiskey? What kind –
Mixed drinks? What kind –
Coffee or Tea
Coffee? How? black, cream, sugar –
Tea: Caffeine, decaf, herbal, cream, sugar, honey –
Other beverages:
Soda? What kind?
Iced Tea?

Sparkling Water?
Clothing:
 

What do they wear to work?
What do they like to wear at home to relax?
Are they formal or informal dressers?
What kind of shoes do they like to wear?
What kind of coats do they wear in bad weather?

What do they like to wear on vacation?
Entertainment:
 
Books:
 

Do they like to read? What kind of books –
Print or ebook?
Read for work or pleasure?
Favorite authors?
Fiction or nonfiction?
Poetry?
Biography/Memoirs?
Magazines? Which ones –

Television:
 

Series?
Comedy?
Drama?
Horror?
RomCom?
Occasional viewer, faithful viewer, or binge viewer?
Prefer traditional cable or streaming services?
Film:
Comedy?
Drama?
Horror?
RomCom?
Suspence?

Life History:
 
Education:
 

Level of highest education?
What was studied?
Did the character enjoy school or not?

Sexual Orientation:
Straight, gay, bi, trans, other?
Romance History:
 

First love –
Ever Married?
Divorced?
In love now?

Children:
 
How many?
Grandchildren:
 

How many?

Other relatives:
 
Who?
If any of you find this useful, please feel free to use it as you will.

A Reminder: My Presentation in the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference

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lmWdnGUGVBQyDmckQymS

I am pleased to announce that I am presenting a session at the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference, which is being held February 24-29, 2020.

To find the event, which is free, please go to: Horroraddicts.net Online Writers Conference.

To participate, you need only sign up and create a user name and password. Again, this is free!

I am presenting

How To World and Character Build in a Horror Novel Series
by
Charles F. French
In this session I will make suggestions for writers that I hope will be practical and applicable to writing horror novels, or novels in other genres also.
I am also hosting a live Q & A on:

Shout Box Chat 12 noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday February 26

I hope some of you come by for the event!

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon

I Am Presenting A Session At The HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference!

Standard

lmWdnGUGVBQyDmckQymS

I am pleased to announce that I am presenting a session at the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference, which is being held February 24-29, 2020.

To find the event, which is free, please go to: Horroraddicts.net Online Writers Conference.

To participate, you need only sign up and create a user name and password. Again, this is free!

I am presenting

How To World and Character Build in a Horror Novel Series
by
Charles F. French
In this session I will make suggestions for writers that I hope will be practical and applicable to writing horror novels, or novels in other genres also.
I am also hosting a live Q & A on:

Shout Box Chat 12 noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday February 26

I hope some of you come by for the event!

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

coverIPScookbook

Available on Amazon