Generators: Weather Dice

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There are times when our scenes are simply too boring to not only ourselves, but to our readers. Sometimes, we need help sprucing up the scene, and weather dice could be the perfect way to do that. Each side has a different weather pattern, so depending on which pattern you roll, the outcome of your scene could be totally different.

What if you rolled the side with a thunderstorm? If your character(s) are outside, they would be caught up in it. What if the storm caused massive amounts of flooding? That could be one outcome to the scene if you decide on a time jump with neverending storms. What if you rolled a snow side when your characters live in an area that never snows? A freak snowstorm? If magic is used in your story, perhaps a character used magic irresponsibly and a snowstorm is the result?

The trick is to ask yourself “what if?” questions in regard to your scene. Remember, weather is an organic way to help your scenes flow, which could also give you more ideas for other parts of your story. I bought mine on Amazon, though I’ve found them on Ebay as well.

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Worldbuilding 101: Mapping Layouts

In this post, we will be talking about an element of worldbuilding called “Mapping”. This will be about mapping out the layout of rooms and buildings that your main character will see throughout their journey in your story.

This is a really simple thing to do and all you will need is graphing paper. You can purchase graphing paper, download it into Microsoft Office programs and print it out, or draw it out yourself with blank paper and a ruler. Some of the graphing paper you can purchase have lines on the back like notebook paper, that way you can make notes when needed.

Using the graph paper, you can determine the measurement of the rooms and how the layout of the furniture will be situated. Using this mapping exercise, you can think of how you want the flow of the rooms to be. This is important to keep the locations of the items your character uses consistant. I have read many reviews of books where the author seemed to have forgotten important details and moved things around.

If your character lived next door to a bakery in one chapter, you do not want to have them living above the bakery in a other (unless they had moved within the story and it was mentioned). Having layout maps can help you look up the information you need quickly. I put mine into sheet protectors and inside a binder behind a tab for whichever series I am working on at the moment. Having one binder with the maps from all of your novels and stories, even when they are located in different worlds, helps keep you from going through multiple binders to find what you are looking for. Of course, that decision is up to you, but you may find that having a “Maps” binder is beneficial.

Once you get the hang with creating room layouts, you can move onto bigger maps such as villages/towns/cities, countries, worlds and even galaxies! I hope you can use the information we have contributed in this post. As with other writing subjects, mapping can easily be an overlooked aspect which can easily affect your story. Remember, one of the goals to writing fiction is to have fun!

Setting as Character

You all may have heard this one before. What does it mean when an author says that you should think of the setting as a character? Once you wrap your head around this concept and really think about that sentence, this will become second nature to you as you think about your scenes.

As an author, whether it is fanfiction for your personal enjoyment or novels to publish, the setting can help you push the story forward. Each scene needs a setting, even if it is only a little room with nothing in it. Think about it this way:

Take the example above of the little room. If you are writing a mystery or thriller, what could this room represent? Is there any furniture in the room? If not, this could be a characteristic to help the setting act as a character. What if there is no furniture, but there is a yellowed lace curtain streaked with dirt? A cobweb in the corner of the room between the wall and ceiling? Dust on the floor? Now we are getting somewhere. These elements could tell the story of where this room is located, and the occupants of the space. What if a young woman in your story was kidnapped? She observes this room as a prisoner, so the look of the room fits in with her situation. She doesn’t know where she is, and her chances of escape look bleak.

Let’s take this up a notch. What if she was handcuffed to something? An old radiator perhaps? Maybe this radiator doesn’t work? If this is the case, the time of year could be set in the cold months, which would cause the room to be freezing. This adds another element not only to this room, but to your female character’s situation.

If your female character isn’t handcuffed to something, the radiator could still be used for the setting. What if your character runs up to the curtain and pulls it back, only to find a set of security bars bolted into place? Escape out the window in this case would be impossible. Let’s go back to the radiator for a moment. What if the radiator wasn’t working because part of the unit is broken and weak? Your female character could use this broken piece as a weaon and lie in wait for her capturer to open the door, therefore, making her escape.

This is only one example of how you could make your settings work for your characters, or against them. Each scene has a location, so see if you can come up with different traps, weapons and other uses the scenery around your characters could implement when you get stuck writing a scene.