Archive | June 6, 2017

Worldbuilding June Day 2: Geography

2. Geography
Desmond’s World
Oops, I already covered a bunch of this in the first post.

The City Desmond lives in (100 words to anyone who names it something that fits with the names that I like and another 100 to someone to name the nation) straddles the river leading to the ocean.

It’s definitely got high ground (High Street), mostly to the north of the river, and lower ground, which sometimes floods, to the south of the river. The river directly to the south is all parkland, designated so 100 years ago when a leader ordered the slums torn down so that the houses on the north side did not have to look at them.

This, of course, just moved the slums a bit more inland, but there’s a nice wall of trees now, and the houses bordering that parkland are high-rent for the area.

The City office and school are on the north side of the river. Desmond grew up on the south side.

Portal Bound
There is already a map for Portal Bound, here.

The main city of needing-a-name is settled into an oxbow in the river of also-needs-a-name. Inspired by the Mississippi, the river has moved several notable times over the centuries since the first buildings were hewn from the forest all around.

(The capital we’re discussing is just on and around about where the left end of the upper wild-rice roads are on the above-linked map.)

The river runs through a flattish forest area, making its way towards the sea. Much of the land in the area is still forested, with small townships growing up among the trees.

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The Hidden Mall Part IV

Part I
Part II
Part III

💸 💰 💸 💰 💸

Abigail had her doubts about following the strange person through the back of the spices-and-herbs store, but Liv seemed definitely enchanted by the whole thing.


“Well, as I said, not literally. We don’t have any Animals here, not of the sort you’d find in Narnia or Oz. It’s just not the right environment for them, and nobody but the Raccoons and the Magpies really enjoy shopping, anyway. Oh, and the Corvids, of course. Can’t forget them.” The person pushed aside a beaded curtain, opening up a narrow wood-paneled hallway. “This area isn’t open to everyone, but I see that you’ve already met Tinaia, and that gives you some special leeway.”

Abigail shared a look with Liv, or tried to, but Liv was staring down the hallway. So, “leeway?” she asked, and hoped their guide would give some sort of useful answer.

“Oh, there’s always halls within halls, worlds within worlds. You read the tales of Narnia, so I assumed you knew. Everything is like an onion and a TARDIS: More and more, and bigger on the inside.”

That made very little sense, but considering the way they were having, Abigail decided not to complain too much. She kept an eye on Liv instead.

“So where are we going, then?” Liv persisted, even as she stuck close to their guide. “Down another layer of the onion?”

“More, and yet less, less, and yet so much more. Here.” The person swished aside another curtain, this one heavy and velvet. “Here you are. Have fun, and remember me when you come back around.”

That sounded a little ominous to Abigail, but Liv was already darting through the door. She followed, with a hasty and uncertain “thanks” aimed at the spice proprietor.

Liv had stopped a few steps inside the curtain, and Abigail could understand why. The floor was covered in a myriad of carpets; the walls were covered in bookshelves with more bookshelves jutting out at right angles. And in the middle, at a writing desk with a dip pen and a large book, a blue woman was sitting, writing.

She looked up when she noticed Liv and Abigail staring. “Oh, I see. Anto brought me some more company, mmm? Anto likes to do that. Well, then, come on in, don’t linger in the curtain letting in the mundane. You have three choices. You can take a book, make a book, or leave a book. But all three of those are going to have consequences and prices.”

“We don’t…” Abigail touched her bag. “Oh. I have a schoolbook and a copy of Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. I could leave one, but … there’s a price for leaving something?”

“There’s always a price for leaving something.” The blue woman had gone back to her writing already. “The question is, can you pay it?”

Part 5:

Want More?

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Weekend Blog: Woodstock, Cabins

This past weekend was one of those lovely good-friends good-food good-adventures damn-am-I-tired weekends where we drive to Troy (near Albany, about a 3.5-hour drive because, in NY, you can’t go straightanywhere if you’re below the Thruway. It’s more like — go east-southeast to get to Ithaca, travel southerly with east for a while to go below the lakes, travel around some hills for a bit while heading mostly east, and then head north-northeast for a while on a highway (Expressway? Fast multi-lane divided road with limited access but no tolls).)

In the midst of this lovely weekend — a trip to Woodstock (Which is not where the concert was held but likes to pretend it was, a fun little shopping town that would have seemed like it had a lot of head shops, did I not live in Ithaca), a drive through the Catskills, a quest for forks — we ended up discussing the regional variations on some seasonal-access dwellings.

“Oh, it’s all cute little cottages,” I started — in about the center of the Catskills, as far as the map says, not far from where we saw the World’s Biggest Kaleidoscope a few years back — and was told that around here, they’re called bungalows.

Thus began an interesting circle of discussion: T. and I are from the Great Lakes; K is from the Catskills; E is from Maine. To me, a cottage is a generally seasonal-use privately-owned dwelling on the water. To E., it’s a camping feature. (E calls what I call a cottage a summer home). To K, a bungalow is a seasonal-access rented no-foundation building in the mountains — I’d call that a cabin.

(Add to the mess that log cabin is its own thing, and I spent from 5 years old ‘till I moved out living in a log cabin my parents built from a kit.)

The building I’d originally started this conversation with said cottageto me because of its small but sturdy size, small yard, and cute shutters, by the by. Maintained, clearly, but only used once in a while.

So what about where you’re from? If there’s that much variation within the NE of the US, I’m curious about the broad span of the rest of my readership.

What’s a small home you own but live in or visit part of the year?

What’s a building in a campsite you can stay in rather than tent camping?

How about a rental you stay in for a week or two on vacation?

Does the physical location of these (water, woods, camping, mountains) change the term?

Bonus: what does “log cabin” bring to mind?

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