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The Other Things

When I made a decision to pursue writing seriously a few years back, one of my first lessons stuck with me.

Focus your attention on writing the best book you can.

This, of course, is a process. Writing a book becomes re-writing it. Re-writing eventually moves to editing. And then poof – there’s a genuine living novel on the computer screen!

In the process of working to accomplish this, I learned there were other things like elevator pitches, query letters, synopsis pages, etc. Writing groups are attended. Conferences are flown to. Critique buddies appear. I came to find that this whole writing thing is a big deal, full of super highs and super lows.

Sometimes in the same day.

When I received my contract offer from OakTara, I realized a new world to writing existed. Things like finances, rights, and book cover brainstorming just to name a few. Some are cool (like coming up with cover art ideas). Some are mind melting (like contract jargon). All are new to me and most aren’t related to the actual craft of writing.

One thing however tops them all.

Mapmaking.

Maps!

Maps!

Oh, come on. You know your inner nerd is doing the snoopy dance. When Albione’s story began to unfold in my mind, one of the very first things I did is make a world map. All sorts of cool ideas took shape from the things I put on that graph paper.  Over ten years, I’d revisit that map often and ask myself about a particular area.

Who lives there? What are they like? Who do they get along with? Who are they hostile toward? Who/What do they worship? What would it be like to grow up there?

Mapmaking has always been the most fertile field for my imagination. So, it was an absolute blast to sit down and make some decent looking maps. I’m nothing close to an artist. My children laugh at me when I attempt to draw something for them. Yet it breathed life into my love of storytelling to finalize maps for a skilled artist to put in my book.

So, what about you? What thing do you enjoy most that goes along with writing, but isn’t writing itself?

And if you’d like to see my world map, I’ve uploaded a picture here

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About Will Ramirez

Will Ramirez grew up with a love for God's Word and fantastical worlds. The first passion led him to pastor Calvary Chapel Lighthouse for the the last 17 years. The second led him to create the world of Adme, the setting for his coming debut novel, an epic fantasy titled Soul Yearning. He lives in Central Florida with his bride of seventeen years and their four children. Since 2010, he's been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on the leadership team of Word Weavers of Orlando. He is currently working on the second book of the Godslayer series as well as The Unspoken, book one of a dark fantasy trilogy. In the land of Adme, powerful beings rule as deities and compete with one another for followers. But when a young priest is revealed as the prophesied godslayer, the pantheon unites to destroy him.

8 comments on “The Other Things

  1. Oh, the Deadlands… Looks scary.

    I’m excited for your new stage, Will. As I rewrite the third major edit of my novel, heading into the last ten percent, I had to put the breaks on the text and compare pieces of the beginning with how I’ll need to change the end. That was hard, but I knew it was necessary. Part of why I pants my way through drafts is the feeling that I’m wasting time slowing down to outline. Today was a sign I’m growing. I just have to remind myself that I was productive today in spite of little change in word count.

    • Revisions can be frustrating but rewarding. I still miss a few things I’ve cut, but I know the story is better without them. Excited to to hear how things are coming along!

  2. Graph paper…that’s brilliant! I’m lousy at mapping out my fantasy world, but I bet that would make it a lot easier.

    I love song-searching. Songs are a direct link to writing for me. Often for a certain scene I’ll need to find just the right song to capture the emotion. Once it’s there, all I have to do to workshop that scene is play it and I’m right in the characters’ heads. It’s great for when I need to figure something out when I’m driving. And a song isn’t always exclusive to a specific scene–I can use it to inspire several scenes in several different stories in different genres.

    • Thanks for sharing Janeen 🙂 I so get what you’re saying as certain songs have influenced my writing in such a way I can’t think about those scenes without the music heh.

  3. I have to go with your’s too. I always make maps for my books, even if they’re set in the real world. I love messing with maps. 🙂

  4. Wow, Will, your map is way better than mine. My pencil scribbles were so poorly done that after I scanned it, I re-drew it in a photo editor to clean it up before sending to the illustrator. I am nowhere near brave enough to put either version online. But this has been one of the most fun parts of the process!

  5. I’m just like you Will. Even though I’ve only been working on my first book for a few months, drawing a rough map was one of the first things I did, and it’s one of the things that I consistently come back to, change, improve and develop. I think a good map can make it so much easier for the reader, but what I’ve come to realise is that actually, it makes it a lot damn easier for the writer as well!

    One of the other things that I find myself thinking about a lot (and very prematurely) is the font that I hope will be used for my book one day. I feel like the font used can be a clever way to illustrate the kind of setting and atmosphere of a book, right from the get go. I always remember the Garth Nix “Old Kingdom” series had a really interesting font, and it immediately grabbed my attention, so if I’m lucky enough that my book ever gets to publishing, this will be a massive consideration for me (I know, such a geek…)!

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