500 Subscribers on YouTube! The Jay Dee Show 37

Thanks to a sudden increase in subscribers on my YouTube channel, I’ve passed 500 subscribers! That was a pretty quick increase, and it keeps going. In the past week, I’ve posted 3 videos, all on my main channel.

The videos on my main channel are mainly about Authors Answer, but also a talk about what I plan to do on my channel in the future.

We start off with Authors Answer. I talked about movie novelizations and my experience with them.

Then my channel passed 500 subscribers. As a celebration, I made a video! And you have got to see my daughter in it. She’s a bit silly.

And then another Authors Answer! This time, I talk about writing sex scenes. Exciting!

Some Star Trek and a science video are coming this week. I hope to get to a lot more, as well! That includes Japan videos.

Which video did you enjoy the most? Let me know in the comments section.

Authors Answer 140 – Developing Plot

You need characters and setting for a story, but what would it be without a plot? Not much of anything. The plot may be one of the most complex parts of writing. A good plot isn’t predictable and straightforward. There may be multiple story lines running through the plot, but they all lead to one conclusion. So, how do we develop our plots?

Question 140 – How do you develop the plot of your stories?

Eric Wood

To develop a plot I sketch it out much like an artist would. An artist might draw out the art piece in pencil with very light strokes that are easily covered. I sketch out the plot of my stories with short words, a few descriptions, and random ideas to that come to me. It’s when I sit down to write the story in full that I then fill in details and move the story along from beginning to middle to end.

H. Anthe Davis

Plot? What plot? Okay, so I do have plot, even though at base it’s ‘a couple people plunge into adventures to stop a threat against everything’ — standard fantasy schtick. However, I think of ‘saving the world’ as more the end-goal, and all the plot movement is about what the individual characters want, how those wants impact other characters’ needs and ambitions, and how these conflicts turn and twist the story as the characters fight their way toward their end goal. All of my characters have their own little arc — not always very large — which is both based on and also gives them their personality. It may have nothing to do with the main plot but it’s something that drives them, and because of that it influences and potentially bends the main plot in unpredictable ways. I always want to make sure that as the writer, I’m not railroading the characters into certain actions — but it’s okay if the characters themselves are acting on each other to force actions because of their personal motivations. Obviously my stuff is very character-driven.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I’m honestly not quite sure how to answer this question, because actively “developing” a plot isn’t really my style, to be blunt. For better or worse, my writing method has most been, “picture cool scene in head –> write scene –> try to come up with logical reason for that scene to exist”. It’s probably not the most professional approach to writing, but so far it’s been what works for me, and amazingly my plots have manage to work themselves out into coherent stories that my readers seem to be enjoying!

Jean Davis

I usually start writing with an opening scene in mind and just see what happens. Occasionally I’ll know where I want the story to end, most of the time I don’t. Most of my first drafts move along like: if this happens, they need to B to get to C and hmm, to get to D they need to do this thing, etc. So I guess I’d say it’s an organic plot process. There’s a good deal of me looking off into space throughout the day while I run through the next step of the plot in my head before I sit down to write the next scene.

Beth Aman

HAHAHA, what’s a plot? Am I supposed to have one of those? Usually I just start writing and let the plot unfold as I write. (This is called being a “pantser” – ie you ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ as you write.) I really flesh out my plot and have it all start to make sense when I do draft #2, and each successive draft makes more and more sense plot-wise, with adding in smaller plot arcs, micro-tensions, and foreshadowing. It’s like the first draft is me going around making a bunch of dots on the page, and the second draft is connecting the dots to make a picture. For actually coming up with the plot, I take my ideas and then ask ‘what could go wrong here?’ or ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen?’ or sometimes, ‘what’s unexpected?’ Then I let my imagination go wild, and try to make it all make sense at the end. (I wish I was a plotter. I really do. It would make life so much simpler.)

C E Aylett

No set formula. Sometimes, especially if I’ve researched a character particularly well, I’ll just write what comes to me and often it works out roughly to be right — the plot stems from the character. Sometimes, and this happens with the stories that come from dreams or something I heard on the news, I have a major twist or an ending in mind, something that the story pivots on. I then write out a first draft, see where I’m at by the end and how the story arc runs. If needs be, the beginning will be rewritten to accommodate a strong arc.

Paul B. Spence

I decide where to begin. I think of something interesting in the future of the characters to write toward. I fill the space with character development and side-stories.

D. T. Nova

Same as with characters, elements of the plot can be inspired by anything, and once the idea is there it’s mostly down to seeing how it fits together. I go through so many ideas and don’t think its entirely conscious how I decide which ones belong in the same story.

Linda G. Hill

“What if …?” It’s a question I’m always asking in my head, and it often ends up being a story.

Cyrus Keith

Plots come from everything from dreams to sudden revelations, to lessons learned, to random over-hearing “what if…” from across the room. Sometimes, the plot comes after the title. I love plays on words, and sometimes I get a great title idea. For instance, a thriller with a title like “Hush Little Baby” generates so many delicious ideas. That’s my current WIP.

Gregory S. Close

My plotting goes something like this: Come up with the basic story elements, flesh out the world-building and character-building as necessary to begin writing, maybe do a story outline, then start writing. Plot has to be consistent and fun and maybe a little bit complicated here and there, but it should move forward through the eyes/experience of the characters and in context of the world. It has to make sense. The bad guy is taking over the world!! Why? The magic sword has been discovered! Where was it? Why? Who put it there? I adjust plot just like I adjust character and world-building – if the driving story element turns out to be stupid, inconsistent, or otherwise doesn’t work – I change it. My last step in plotting is, after the final draft, go back and add the moments, clues, snippets of dialogue and foreshadowing etc that will glue it all together into a seamless story.

Jay Dee Archer

I start off with the idea, then develop a general direction I want the story to go in. I know how I want to finish the story, and work toward that goal. I start off quite general. I’ll write out the major plot points, then flesh them out. I plan out what I want to do for each chapter, outlining them. I pay attention to what each major character should be doing at the time, even if they aren’t in a chapter or scene. I need to know how each story line is going, and where they intersect. Once I’ve figured out the plot, I start writing. But the plotting isn’t finished. While I write, new ideas pop in my head, and sometimes it takes a new direction. When I finish writing my first draft, I go back to make sure I’ve got all the plot points in that I wanted, and make sure they work. I check that there are no loose ends. And of course, I make sure there’s a bit of foreshadowing in there. I also refer back to all of my character and setting notes to make sure everything is consistent. In the end, I should have a nice, cohesive story.

How about you?

If you’re an author, how do you develop your plot? Let us know in the comments section below.

Star Trek S1E15 – Shore Leave

This was a very unusual episode. Did you know most of the dialogue was ad libbed? Gene Roddenberry had to rewrite the script of this episode after the network complained it was too surreal. He rewrote it on the fly while it was being filmed. Roddenberry had been told to go on vacation before this episode, and it turns out this episode is about a vacation.

Season 1, Episode 15: Shore Leave

Original Air Date: December 29, 1966

Stardate 3025.3

Planet: Shore Leave Planet in the Omicron Delta region (no official name)

Featured Alien: The Caretaker

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu

Main Guest Characters: Alice (Marcia Brown), Yeoman Tonia Barrows (Emily Banks), The Caretaker (Oliver McGowan),  Esteban Rodriguez (Perry Lopez),  Lt. Angela Martine (Barbara Baldavin),  Finnegan (Bruce Mars),  Ruth (Shirley Bonne),  The Warrior (Sebastian Tom)

Things I Noticed

The planet has no animal life, yet it has flowers. Don’t they require a polinator? But then, this isn’t Earth. Nor is anything real.

This is an unusual episode, featuring figments of the crew’s imagination come to life. This is more fantasy than sci-fi, it seems. It is very difficult to nitpick things, as many of the things that happen really can’t be nitpicked.

Lt. Martine is back, and this time, she seems to have completely gotten over her fiance’s death. Well, that was fast!

Finnegan seems like a stereotypical Irish man combined with a leprechaun.

The old style antenna seems a bit old-fashioned for an advanced world like this.

Why would Kirk run after Sulu, and then take a moment to appreciate a flower? Priorities, Captain?

Kirk seems to be affected by what’s going on the most, or he’s extremely weak-willed. I just can’t seem to resist Ruth, and it takes a lot to snap him out of it.

McCoy is getting pretty close to Yeoman Barrows. Earlier, she massaged Kirk’s back, and he didn’t like it.

Finnegan says he’s still 20 years old, but he looks like he’s in his 30s. Shouldn’t this be from Kirk’s memory?

Before Finnegan flipped him, Kirk’s uniform was intact. After the flip, it was ripped. There was no reason it would have ripped. But you know, no Kirk fight is complete without a ripped uniform.

The tiger has a chain around its neck. Obviously for safety reasons, but why would it appear on this world?

It makes me wonder why humans aren’t ready to understand The Caretaker’s people or where they come from.

Again, they leave at warp 1. Is this standard for leaving a system? I guess it would make sense, taking a lower speed in system.

My Impressions

This was an amusing episode. It was sometimes difficult to take it seriously, as most of the things were quite absurd. But then, a lot of the crew of the Enterprise thought it was absurd. But the acting was also kind of absurd. Shatner wasn’t very good. DeForest Kelley didn’t do very well, either. Actually, there was a bit of overacting. But it makes sense since learning that most of the dialogue was ad libbed.

So, the acting wasn’t that great in this episode. I didn’t think the story was the best, either. It was amusing, kind of weird, but unimportant. It could’ve been removed from the series and no one would have cared. It affected nothing, really.  It wasn’t terrible, though. Just fluff.

One thing this episode did show is how irresponsible some of the crew can be! Kirk fights Finnegan, Kirk stops searching for Sulu because of a flower, Martine changing into a princess dress, Sulu shooting a gun, and more. Maybe their minds were affected by this world? I don’t know.

Verdict

★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Was it fluff? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments section below.

The 13th Doctor Was Revealed! It’s a Woman!

Yesterday was the day that the 13th Doctor was to be announced. In Doctor Who, all of the Doctors have been men. But now, we have a female Doctor! It is Jodie Whittaker.

Some people are unhappy, but the response seems to be mostly very positive. The opponents often say they don’t want a female Doctor because the Doctor has always been male. But Time Lords have changed gender in the past, so why can’t The Doctor?

Here’s what I had to say about this:

And in case you missed it, here’s the reveal trailer:

So, what do you think? Are you happy with the choice of actors for The 13th Doctor? Let me know in the comments section below.

I’m No Newbie! The Jay Dee Show 36

I actually recorded several videos in the past week. But I still have to edit and upload 3 of them! Yikes! Well, one should be up today. In the meantime, I did upload 3 videos, all to my main channel.

I also decided on a bit of a revamp of my channel and video thumbnails. Content changes slightly, too. I’m doing away with the intros on my videos, as they’re really unnecessary. I’m trying to tighten up my content so I get to the point. Videos may become shorter as a result. So, let’s look at last week’s videos.

First up is a software-related Authors Answer video. Check out what I use to write.

Next up is the video that changes my channel. Well, the changes happened around this time. New thumbnails!! Let me know what you think. This video is the reboot of the Booktube Newbie Tag.

And finally, big news. The 13th Doctor is a woman! Surprised? Happy? Unhappy?

This week should have a few good videos coming up, including a top 5 list, a Star Trek video, and more!

Let me know what you thought of the videos, as well as the new thumbnail design.

Authors Answer 139 – Developing Setting

Last week, we talked about characters. But now they need a place. A well-rounded book has a setting. A good setting can create the atmosphere, whether it’s a real place or imagined. Real places are already established for the author, but they have to know it well. Imagined places require world building, and that can be a complex process. How do our authors tackle setting?

Question 139 – How do you develop the setting of your stories?

Gregory S. Close

I develop setting the same way that I develop characters, by establishing a history, economics, rules, laws, mores, religions, geography, species etcetera and then strictly adhering to that until I need to ignore it, modify it, or do whatever else serves the story best. There were a lot of things for In Siege of Daylight that shifted or changed altogether as the story came together, but having the solid foundation at the beginning allowed me the framework to be flexible when needed. Also, thinking thoroughly through things like economics and trade really add some realism and nuance to your cultures and countries.

Growing up, I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons. A LOT. This can be dangerous, because it can lock you in the stereotypes of RPG races and countries, but the mechanics of world-building really do come in handy when applied properly. Early version of the world of In Siege of Daylight were a campaign setting, and by fleshing out the world with adventures, characters and storylines that evolved unexpectedly it really helped develop the mythology and depth of the world.

For my science fiction setting of Greyspace, its a pretty similar method. I did a lot of research into space travel, emerging bio-tech, military tech, submarines (similar to spacecraft in terms of crew composition and psychology, and then a lot of different stuff on mythology and folklore for the magic elements. Again, a lot changed, but getting that solid footing for your world allows the leverage to pivot when you need to.

Cyrus Keith

Setting is dictated by the story line. On my first published novel, I set out to write a high-tech-hard sci-fi story. But the story line just refused to support it. There’s just so much going on all at once, the story would have been lost in the fog of all the gizmos and gadgets. My current WIP is set in a large city, because it features urban homeless people. As with characters, the specifics come about as the story develops. I don’t waste time on sketches and world-building because it changes as things come together, and I abhor “info dumps” that come with highly-developed worlds that authors are only too eager to show off.

Linda G. Hill

I have a hard time imagining settings, so I use real places to inspire me. Sometimes I name them (Kingston, Ontario, Canada is the main inspiration for the setting of my novel The Magician’s Curse), and sometimes I just observe and describe without making mention of where they are. I love to travel, and do so a lot just for the sake of my novels. In fact, I’m thinking about going to Edmonton in the coming months because the West Edmonton Mall is one of my settings. Maybe we can meet for coffee again, Jay Dee!

D. T. Nova

For the most part I’ve had setting made to fit the plot and characters, and not really standing out otherwise. I’ve been trying to change that and have more interesting settings.

Paul B. Spence

Usually in giant brainstorming sessions. It grows in leaps and bounds, and the options for stories to tell grows exponentially. I have a lot of basic information compiled from over the years.

C E Aylett

Um, same answer as last week? Research. Lots of it. Setting and character can be quite closely connected in the ways they connect and contrast. I have a class on how to build character from setting on Skillshare.

Beth Aman

Sometimes I just write them. Sometimes I’ll kinda prep ahead of time by drawing certain places or objects, or by making lists of sounds and smells of places. Then when I go to write them, I try to remember that settings should use all five senses, and that they should add to the general mood/ feeling of the scene. Often times, I have a lot of work to do in the editing process, because I’ll be so caught up in writing the story that I forget to fully flesh-out the setting. It’s a multi-step process, and I’m always going back and working on it.

Jean Davis

In my first draft, settings are generally utilitarian, whatever is needed to make the scene happen. Most of my focus is on dialogue and action. There might be a couple distinctive characteristics to help me solidify what I see in my head while I’m writing. If the characters end up there more than once, I’ll probably add more details in that first draft and pull it all together with a more polished description during the first major edit.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

A large chunk of my writing, thus far, has been based within the real world, and so I’ve gone about my setting development by simply describing places I’ve actually been. “Nowhere to Hide“, for instance, has the characters moving about in a zombie-infested version of modern-day Earth, so without actually naming specific places, I simply had my characters move around in towns and areas I’ve actually been and worked from there. The beginning of “The Other World: Book One” is similar; the high school I describe is based on the college I actually went to, and the town Tori lives in is based on the town where I grew up. Moving outside of the real world is more difficult of course, which I learned with the rest of “The Other World: Book One“. I find it difficult to to “make up” settings, so I tend to stick to my “real world” method, while adding in “fantastic” elements. Such as, for instance, the scene in which Tori first realizes she’s in a parallel universe: the setting is a simple field with a small cabin, but when she looks up, the stars above come in a variety of shining colors.

H. Anthe Davis

I’ve spent almost two decades developing just one setting, so it’s hard to say how that gestated (beside a bunch of notes in a high school journal that I just started adding onto infinitely). However, I’ve been developing a new setting on the side for a few years, in dribs and drabs, so… I guess it just starts with a core idea or problem to solve (for instance, make a world where zombies/undead are reanimated by ‘tainted’ water) then spin off of it to find the logic and culture that gets wrapped around the concept. Like…what is it about the water that does this reanimation? (It’s a goddess-of-undeath’s blood.) How did it get that way? (Enemies of the locals killed her, it’s her revenge.) Who were the enemies and who are the locals? (Enemies from overseas, locals etc etc…) What conflicts does this produce? What story seeds does it create? How many of those seeds can grow into the background-jungle of the main story, to add complexity to the world and themes but not entirely impinge upon the plot? Then, after I deal with most of those questions, I start researching and image-browsing for stuff that aesthetically suits the idea in my head, to build the visual facade of the setting over the bones of the stories it contains.

Eric Wood

When I start to write a story, the setting comes to me in pieces while I write, much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I know what the final image will look like, but the details fit themselves in during the writing process. Most of my stories take place during modern times in a fictional location. Then I just make up the rest as I go along.

Jay Dee Archer

I enjoy writing stories on other worlds, both science fiction and fantasy. I do a lot of world building. For my Ariadne setting, I started out with the concept, and then I drew a world map. After that, I drew another map with 16 sheets of paper. I created mountains, rivers, seas, oceans, ice caps, and climate zones. I then created countries and cities, expanding the colony organically. I focused on a handful of places that are important for the first book. Although I haven’t done so yet, I plan on drawing city maps and any maps of important locations. You see, I love maps, and they help me visualise places much more vividly and with consistency.

How about you?

If you’re an author, how do you develop setting? Let us know in the comments below.

Week in Review – July 10, 2017

Well, it’s been two weeks since the last update. My personal life has gotten in the way of posting a bit, as well as doing some more complex videos on YouTube. That and more below!

Reading

I swear, I’ll do it!

Writing

Again, current events have made it difficult for me to concentrate on this much. I hope that things will settle down soon and I can get into a good routine.

Videos

In the last couple weeks, I uploaded 7 videos to my main channel, including a live stream! I’d also like to mention that my subscribers have increased dramatically recently. That is very promising! I also uploaded a video to my family vlog.

Patreon

This has stalled a bit, but I’ll get on it when things have settled down a bit more.

Languages

Nothing recently.

The Blog

I haven’t been posting like I said I would. I was hoping to get back to posting daily, but real life has interfered, and I haven’t been able to do everything I wanted. Maybe next month.

Studying

Nothing.

The Next Week’s Goals

Hoping things will look up this week. I’m planning on doing some more Star Trek blog posts and videos. I have several videos to do, and I’d like to get to work on reading.

How was your week?

The official blog of Jay Dee Archer. Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.