Monthly Writing Updates

Jay Dee:

My author site gets an update! I’m going to make sure to update at the beginning of each month with a plan for the month. I’m going to attempt to stick to the schedule for writing.

These updates will not be on this blog (actually, I’ll reblog), but the main updates will be on the author site.  If you haven’t already, please go there and follow it.  You can get there through the link below, as this is a reblog of my October update.

Originally posted on Jay Dee Archer:

Journey to Ariadne is going to have a good month.  I have submitted Part 3 to Critique Circle for critiquing after doing some editing.  I’d had a brief delay thanks to a lot of things going on in September, but I also added a bit to the story that will help it mesh nicely with some main plot points in the future books after colonisation.

I’d like to start doing some weekly goals, so at the beginning of the month, I’ll post them here.  The date shown is the final day of the week.

October 4th – Part 3 submitted for critiquing (this is finished)

October 11th – Writing of part 4 is completed.

October 18th – Part 4 is edited and submitted for critiquing.  Part 5 begins.

October 25th – Critiquing of Part 3 is complete. Writing of Part 5 complete.

November 1st – Part 3 is published here.

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Month in Review – September 2014

September has finished, and what a month it was.  I had a lot going on offline, so I didn’t have as much time as I’d have liked to blog, so the post count suffered a bit.  I now have 534 followers on the blog.

September Stats

Despite the lower number of posts in September, it was still the third best month in terms of views.  The busiest day was September 4th with exactly 100 views.  There were a total of 1,551 views, bringing the total to 19,197 views.  It should easily pass 20,000 in October.  There were only 37 posts, the lowest since March, bringing the total to 587 posts.

The month ended with 3,070 comments, with only 218 in September.  With a lower number of posts comes fewer comments.

The top 10 countries for September were:

  1. United States (997 views)
  2. Canada (149 views)
  3. Japan (109 views)
  4. United Kingdom (108 views)
  5. Australia (27 views)
  6. Philippines (22 views)
  7. India (19 views)
  8. Germany (8 views)
  9. South Africa (7 views)
  10. Malaysia (7 views)

Top Posts

The 5 (6) most popular posts made in September were:

  1. What Will You Write? #7 – Good Fortune (83 views)
  2. My Future Relationship with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (51 views)
  3. Children’s TV Doesn’t Always Make Sense (45 views)
  4. Where Are You From? (41 views)
  5. Deadly Eruption at Mount Ontake (39 views)
  6. Commentition: The September 2014 Edition (39 views)

My most popular post in September that was written before September was yet again The Power of Introverts – From TED with 48 views.

Posts that I think need more love (meaning you should read them!) are:

Reviews

I managed to get one review up.  I still have two more to post, though those should come shortly.  September’s lone review is:

Social Media

Let’s take a look at a couple of the social media platforms I use.

On Twitter, I have 2,113 followers, an increase of 55, while I follow 2,155, an increase of 50.  I have 6,079 tweets, making that 79 tweets in September.

On YouTube, I have 35 subscribers, which is a decrease of 2.  I wasn’t very busy in September with videos, and they were mostly my daughter, so some people weren’t that interested in it.  There are a total of 6,527 views, with only 292 in September. I have some big things coming up for YouTube this month, though.

Looking Ahead to October

September was a disappointing month for me, despite the fact that I had good view numbers for the number of posts I made.  I was quite busy with Embassy stuff, as well as getting sick didn’t help. I had low motivation while I was sick.

I have a few big things coming in October.  First is a new YouTube channel.  I’ve decided to split off my daughter’s videos into another channel that’ll feature her and me trying to talk to each other, some things educational, some things fun.  I’ll focus my book and Japan videos on my main channel.

Another is part 3 of Journey to Ariadne.  It’s finished now, but just needs editing and critiquing.  Part 4 is ready to go soon, too.

Worldbuilding continues this month, and I have a lot to teach about.  It should be very interesting, so keep an eye out for that.

And of course, I’ll have at least 4 reviews this month.  That’s right, I’m going to get that many done.

Thanks to all my readers!

Worldbuilding Continues

Earlier today, or should I say last night, I posted the fourth part of my worldbuilding series of posts.  It was a big one.  But it’s well worth the read if you’re interested in creating your own world for fantasy or science fiction.

I’d like to direct your attention to the menu at the top of the page.  Where it says Writing, there are menu options under that heading, and one of them is Worldbuilding.  That’ll take you to the main Worldbuilding page where I’ll be keeping a list of all the posts related to creating a fictional world.  So far, it’s been pretty scientific, but the human side of things will be coming soon.

Please check it out and read them through.

World-Building: Climate and Weather

Having a map of your world is great.  But now you need to know what the climate and weather are like.  Is it a hot world, a cold world, or is it just like the Earth?  You have a lot of choices.  This can be fun to do, but it can also be a lot of work, depending on how detailed you want to be.

Making a Climate Map

So, you have your map ready, all of the shorelines, rivers, lakes, and mountains drawn.  What do you do next?  Well, you need to know what kind of climate each area has.  You can do it simply, if you like.  If we look at a simple method, let’s assume that the world is similar to Earth.  At the equator, you’ll have tropical rainforest.  Moving north and south, you’ll then have savanna, then desert or semi-arid environments.  North and south of that, you’ll get into a more Mediterranean type climate, which is dry, mostly grassland, but temperate.  Then you get the temperate forests.  Moving even farther from the equator, you find boreal forests, tundra, and finally ice caps.  This is a very simplistic look at it.  It’s much more complex.

Let’s take a look at the Koppen climate classification system, which can be very useful when determining your world’s climate zones.  I’ll look at the zones briefly, but you can check out the Wikipedia page for more detailed information.  There are five climate groups.  Each group has more specialised climates.

First are the tropical/megathermal climates.  These are wet climates. The main types here are tropical rainforest (rainy all year, no seasonal variation), tropical monsoon (seasonal wind changes resulting in rainy and dry months), savanna (this has a very dry season).

Next we have the dry climates. There are two main types here, the desert climate (the driest) and the steppe climate (not as dry, but still semi-arid).

Third, we have temperate/mesothermal climates.  These climates generally have warm to hot summers and cool to mild winters.  The main types are dry-summer subtropical or mediterranean climate (hot and dry summers and rainy winters, western coast), humid subtropical climate (hot and humid, rainy summers and dry winters, eastern coast), maritime temperate or oceanic climate (changeable weather with lots of clouds and wet weather, cool summers and mild winters, western coast), temperate highland tropical climate (dry winters and rainy summers, located at higher altitudes), maritime subarctic or subpolar oceanic climate (confined to coastal strips or islands, generally colder than maritime temperate/oceanic), dry-summer maritime subalpine climate (very rare zone, highland areas near the coast where the ocean prevents the winter from dropping below -3 degrees Celsius).

Fourth, we have continental/microthermal climates. Basically, summers are warmer, winters are very cold.  For this, we have hot summer continental climate (hot summers, sometimes dry, sometimes wet), warm summer continental or hemiboreal climate (very simply, summers are warm, winters are cold), continental subarctic or boreal climate (pretty far north, mild summers, very cold winters), and continental subarctic with extremely cold winters (-38 degrees or colder in winter, only in Siberia).

Finally, we have polar and alpine climates.  These occur at the poles or high up in mountains.  The two types are tundra climates (warmest month is between 0 and 10 degrees Celsius) and ice cap climates (all twelve months are below 0 degrees Celsius).

Kamakura, Japan. This is in the humid subtropical climate zone. Hot and humid summers with monsoon season and mild, dry winters.
Kamakura, Japan. This is in the humid subtropical climate zone. Hot and humid summers with monsoon season and mild, dry winters.

Of course, you don’t have to be this detailed, but this is a good guide for how to determine your world’s climate zones.

But what if your world isn’t like Earth?  Let’s look at three types of worlds briefly.

First is the dry world.  Most likely, you’ll use arid and semi-arid climates.  However, you may have pockets of wetter climate zones around bodies of water.  The closer you get to the poles, the climate may change from desert to tundra gradually.  And then you may also have to have a more temperate desert in between.  This requires you to create new types of climates.

Second is the wet world.  Your world may be covered by rainforests.  If you have large continents with mountains, I’d probably expect there’d be some dry areas, but not too extensive.  The farther you get from the equator, your world may go from tropical rainforest to savanna to temperate rainforest to boreal forest.  You might not even have to deal with subarctic or polar climates.

Finally is the oddball of the bunch.  A tidally locked planet with a red dwarf star.  I’ve discussed this before in the second part of the worldbuilding series.  The side that faces the star is incredibly hot and uninhabitable.  The side that faces away from the star is incredibly cold and is likely a permanent ice cap.  The habitable area is along the terminator.  This is where we have some trouble determining what the climate may be like.  It’s probably quite windy, as winds would be howling from the hot side to the cold side of the planet.  But let’s say it’s not so bad.  Basically, you’d go from desert to tropical to temperate to subarctic and to polar in a very short distance.  It’s very unlikely there’ll be any great oceans to moderate temperatures, so it’ll be mostly continental.  However, no day/night extremes, no seasonal extremes, just the same every day.  Mountains would likely get plenty of rain.

There are other factors to consider, as well.  One is the axial tilt of your world.  More extreme tilts would make more extreme seasons.  No tilt would mean no seasons.

What I did

After I drew my world map, I traced it out onto another sheet of paper and started colouring in the climate zones as best as I could.  This was long before Wikipedia existed, and I didn’t think to even search the Internet for climate zones, let alone Koppen climate classification.  So, I just did the best I could.  I made this map:

20140926-182944-66584034.jpg

Pretty crude look, isn’t it?  I have desert in yellow, tundra (and ice cap) in white, tropical forest in emerald green, temperate forest in a darker green, grassland in pink, marsh/wetlands in orange, and mountains in brown.  This has more to do with vegetation, but it basically is a climate map with the exception of marsh (that’s a habitat, not a climate).  What you’ll notice is the vast tropical forests, large grasslands and rather limited amount of desert.  You see, Ariadne is in a humid period, though it does have polar caps.

Even though I have created that map, I’d like to redo it with the Koppen climate classification system in mind.  It would be more scientifically accurate, and not a simplistic as this.

So, what should you do about climate on your world?  It’s up to you.  Make it as complex as you want, or keep it simple.  I love complexity, as you probably already know.  Enjoy mapmaking!

For more posts on worldbuilding, please check out this page.

Deadly Eruption at Mount Ontake

Mt. Ontake.  Looks beautiful, doesn't it?
Mt. Ontake. Looks beautiful, doesn’t it?

Such a tranquil-looking mountain isn’t it?  Well, Mt. Ontake is Japan’s second tallest volcano, and it erupted on Saturday.  There were around 300 people on the mountain at the time, and 31 are suspected to be dead, as there were many at the summit around the caldera during the eruption.

I live around 190 km from the mountain (Tokyo is 200 km from it), which is on the border of Nagano and Gifu prefectures.  At 3,067 metres tall, it’s a fairly tall stratovolcano with a somewhat frequent history of eruptions.  It’s interesting that it’s often climbed considering how often it does erupt.

Another volcano, at 3,776 metres, is Mt. Fuji.  It’s visible from my area, and is the tallest mountain in Japan.  It occasionally has earthquakes around it, and in recent years, the lakes around it have been getting a bit warmer.  There are worries about an eruption from Mt. Fuji, which is quite possible in the coming years.  It’s probably inevitable.  The last time it erupted was in 1708, and it dumped a lot of ash on Edo (modern name is Tokyo), causing many fires.  If it erupts today, the entire region will be shut down.  Planes can’t get in, trains are stopped, all transportation will stop.  No supplies, no food, no fuel, and the water system may be contaminated.  Sounds pretty bleak.  It would devastate Japan’s economy, as it would almost completely shut down Tokyo.

So, what were the effects of Mt. Ontake on the Tokyo area?  Nothing, really.  So, everyone, I’m fine.  Don’t worry.

Appreciating Your Country’s Nature

I was looking around on YouTube earlier, and I found a video that showcases Canada’s nature very well.  Please ignore the cheesy music.

Canada is huge.  There are so many places to see, such a large variety of landscapes, I don’t think I’ll ever see it all.  I’d love the freedom to just explore.  But that’s rare.  I’ll be rooted in one place and occasionally see these places.

Here in Japan, I get to see a variety of landscapes, as well.  But it’s mostly urban in this area.  I can see mountains, sometimes Mt. Fuji, the ocean, some farmland, rivers, and lots of hills and valleys.  What I don’t get to see is really big mountains, flat plains, badlands, massive river valleys, huge fields of crops, and vast forests.  Japan does have some of those, but they’re just not near where I live.  I can see the biggest mountain in Japan, and it is impressive.  But there’s bigger in Canada.  There are flat plains to the north of Tokyo, but I don’t go there often.  No badlands at all.  The massive river valleys don’t exist like they do in Canada, unless you mean valleys in the mountains.  Huge fields of crops don’t really exist except in Hokkaido.  Mostly rice around here, and those are small fields.  There are vast forests in Japan, but they have a very different feel than the ones in Canada.  Japan is a humid country with lots of rainforests, while Canada has the boreal and temperate forests like what I got to grow up around.

The smells are different, too.  I think I miss the smell of a temperate mixed deciduous and coniferous forest in the fall.  Nice smell.

So, what landscapes do you like to see in your country?

Flash Fiction #6 – Maid in Black (Flash! Friday)

I’ve entered Flash! Friday again! This time it’s Volume 2, #42.  I found this one intriguing because the photo is from Japan, and the story must include a death.  Well, this one became dark, but I’m pleased with it.

Also, I just wanted to note that I’m no longer doing Daily Flash Fiction, just calling it Flash Fiction.  Anyway, on to the story:

What’s the point? They just want to touch me. They don’t see me as a person.

Eri gazed out at the swollen Tama River. The rain fell around her as she struggled to hold on to her parasol.

What am I doing with this? Stupid. It’s not made for a typhoon.

The creepy looks of the middle-aged businessman as she handed him his order gave her chills. On the omelette, she wrote, “For my darling master.”

This is no way to live. I’m twenty-one years old. I’m still playing maid in Akihabara. I’m sick of this. No one cares.

She stepped to the edge of the riverbank. The wind tore the parasol from her hands and she shielded her eyes from the stinging rain.

He shouldn’t have looked at me like that. He is not my master. Never again.

She looked down to the water. The hand slipped from the rock and under the rapids.

Never.

Comments?  Leave them in the comments section, please.

Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.

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