Writing a fantasy world from scratch can be equal parts fun and challenging. Anything is possible and nothing is impossible when you’re building a new world. But trying to decide what the structures look like, who inhabits the world, and what are the laws the denizens of that world abide by can feel like a pretty gargantuan undertaking for any budding writer. While writers may have a clear picture in their heads of the kind of world their main character will be spending most of their time in, it’s also useful to have some visual aids to make the process of world building a bit easier. This is why Pinterest has been largely useful when I’m working on my YA fantasy novel.
Every writer has a spot they have chosen as their writing space. Whether it’s by a window in their favorite cafe or sitting on their bed with a laptop propped on their lap, the location hardly matters as long as you’re getting your story written. Whenever I prepare myself to sit down and write for the day, one of the first things I do is put on some music.
There have been times I wish I didn’t have a lot I was interested in like anime, manga, video games, classic literature, comic books, and writing. I often thought it would be easier if I just had less to focus my attention on during my downtime. I still think that way, but having your hand in so many pots does come in handy when you’re suddenly thrust into a global health crisis no one could have ever saw coming.
I’ve written about how some escapism is necessary right now to cope with the uncertainty we’re living in. It keeps you sane and prevents you from unraveling. The past four months in lockdown has me turning to fantasy as a way of dealing with a world that no longer looks familiar.
Four months into lockdown and monotony can set in. Every day is a never ending loop of waking up to the exact same surroundings and doing the same thing over and over again. Each week hardly looks distinguishable from the next. While staying at home for an extended period of time hasn’t been that difficult for me, we introverts are often thrilled when we aren’t forced to interact, there is a sense of longing to be able to go on trips or hang out with friends without worrying if the big bad C will come and get you. To add a little variety during my weeks, I have taken the initiative to pick up other skills or hobbies when I need a little break from the usual ones I’ve been doing.
One of the reasons why I enjoy writing my own stories is the total control I have over everything. I get to decide if my story takes place in the real world or a fantasy. I choose what my characters look like, what color eyes they have, and how they dress. I can dictate if my main character will be a heroine who lives happily ever after or will have their life end in tragedy. That’s the thing about writing—there’s no limit to what you can do. You’re in the driver seat the entire time. But one of the challenging parts about writing is deciding what to name your characters.
When it comes to appreciating the smaller things in life, especially in this time of upheaval, I’m grateful to have such a wide and varied number of interests to get through this pandemic. If you’re able to stay home during this public health crisis to keep yourself and others safe, one of the things you might be wondering about is what do you do to keep yourself busy and sane until it’s all over? In my case I’m glad I’m able to hop from one hobby to the next without ever really getting bored. I’ve talked about writing, gaming, and watching shows to pass the time. Another thing I’ve been doing to keep my mind occupied, and taking a much needed break from the bleak news out there, is reading.
Writing my current novel has been an on-again, off-again love affair for years. I would have days where I seem committed to it, and I felt nothing could break my momentum. Then a few weeks or months go by and my unfinished draft goes untouched, gathering digital dust in a folder on my computer. Now that I’ve managed to gradually overcome the hurdles stopping me from writing, regardless of how much I still doubt if what I’m doing is still worth the effort of pursuit, I’ve gotten into a writing routine that has worked and helped me immensely in the last few months.
We’re living in some pretty crazy and scary times right now. None of us could have predicted how drastically the start of a new decade would unravel right before our very eyes. The world has come to a screeching halt and livelihoods have been upended by something we have no control over. The only thing we can do is hunker down and take care of those who are most vulnerable from this pandemic, while helping our healthcare providers and staff from getting overwhelmed at our local hospitals. Despite the severity and gravity of the situation everyone around the world is trying to make sense of and navigate the best way they can, one thing spending time in self-isolation has done, at least for me, is put everything in perspective.
When you’re an aspiring writer in the process of creating your own work of art that will someday be read by a wider audience, you naturally want to obtain the best advice on how to go about the process. I’ve been reading plenty of articles or watching interviews of artists who explain what tips and tricks they use to spark their creativity. One of the best nuggets of wisdom I have taken from them and applied to my own work in progress is creating character profiles.
From the moment I made a promise to myself that 2020 and beyond would truly be different for reaching my targeted writing goal (finishing a full manuscript), I knew one of the things I would have to work out is scheduling.