Blue Highways and Autumn at the Ren Faire – Stranded Meta

Everyone gets their inspiration from somewhere; every setting has its seeds in something.
Stranded – well, Autumn – came out of the book Blue Highways.

According to Wikipedia, this book came out in 1982. I don’t think I read it that early at all – I would’ve been six – but someone recommended it to my father, and I read it. I was probably in my early teens.
read on…

Autumn at the Ren Faire

I was playing around a little with Pinterest and Image Search today.
Here’s some pictures that are pretty close to Autumn’s garb at the Ren Fest, although her costumes are almost always in red, orange, gold, and brown.

read on…

Conlang for Lexember!

Day 1 & 8

Day 12, oops!

So, I’m doing what, every 4 days?

Before the Curse hit their little corner of the world, the Shou were known as the finest artists in all the land – poetry, painted art, sculpture.   Now they are known as the finest artificers, but they do still hold some vestiges of art.

They live a shorter lifespan then the average human-variant, but they make up for this with a very quick childhood and a very intense apprenticeship/scholarly period.  The apprenticeship is known as “the hard years” and is both headed and followed by  one-year “wander times”

Child: notey (NOTE-ay)

(this is a word that is about as generic as “child,” meaning any non-adult.

Apprentice – Het tppey (HET tp(pop)-hay)

to apprentice – Het tpp o

(Fiassh apprenticed to Eyone on her tenth year, when she stopped being a child).

And from that, to take as an apprenticeTcho het tpp o, which shortened after some time to Tcho o .  Technically, that just means to take on, but it is always used in meaning to take on as an apprentice.  One who takes on: tchotey.

Sound Inventory 2

I’ve used F, t, pp, S, sh, tch, h, n, kw
ee, e, oou, (a) e, ia (yuh), ey (Fonzie!), o

Worldbuilding Day Six Part 1: Gender and Sexuality

Desmond’s World
Okay, yay, gender in Desmond’s world!

Gender in this world – or at least in this nation – is marked by clothing, by behavior, and by voiced preference. The clothing is pseudo-Edwardian in style, so it is often the case that Male People wear Pants, Female People Wear Skirts, and so on.

However, people a) sometimes choose to wear robes that hide everything, thus obscuring the question of gender – often for political-functionary roles where gender has no place in the role.

Many roles are still very gendered: someone has to stay home and watch the children, someone has to do the heavy labor, someone has to make meals, and these are often but not always split along gender lines. However, one can choose to put on the role and pronouns of either gender – although in a marriage or other partnership, it is generally considered polite to discuss such things with your partner and work out the roles ahead of time or, if not ahead of time, in teamwork with your partner.

Marriages are often for a combination of procreation and protection of the young, especially among the lower classes, and for those things and for financial unions among the upper classes. Thus, it is generally considered useful to have two people with the appropriate sex organs to make a child together in a marriage, but there are several ways around this, and nobody would ever ask outside of that partnership or forming one. What sex organs you have and who you have sex with is generally considered private business as long as it does not lead to babies.

Babies are raised as genderless until they begin to express a preference, at which point they are generally dressed as that preference until they take over dressing themselves.

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Worldbuilding Day Five Part 1: Civilization and Architecture

Desmond’s World

Stone is is ample supply all around Desmond’s nation, and that is amply evident in their building, which is wood-supplemented stone for the most part. The oldest buildings are often dry stacked stone, some of them just literally stacked, others carved cleverly and carefully to join perfectly while losing as little stone as possible.

In the Capital City, further from the mountains than many of the, stone and wood are used more equally: buildings are often wattle-and-daub over timber frames (think “Tudor” houses) wit tall stone foundations, often mortared together.

You can often tell the mage-wars-time buildings, because their stones are improbably large, their joins improbably tight, and their polishing improbably bright even after hundreds of years.
The Potentate’s Palace and the City Hall Building are from that time.

(Another feature of buildings from that time is an Escher-esque opinion about dimensions and architecture, even in houses now owned by the lower-middle or lower class. You might still wander into a poor person’s home and find that it improbably fits an extended family of twenty comfortably in a narrow building in a tiny lot that does not tower over its neighbors. Sometimes these buildings have views of other places, as well, out windows that should not show anything but the neighbors’ underwear: the mountains, the sea, even another nation. These houses are tightly-guarded secrets which nobody speaks of, often owned by the same family for centuries, by some deed from a long-dead Potentate.)

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Worldbuilding Day Three: People and Races

Dragons Next Door

As the title of this setting suggests, the Dragons Next Door world has Dragons.
It also has quite a few other magical sentient races: ogres, harpies, pixies, tinies, elkin, and centaurs, to name a few.

In addition, it has a deep and broad human population, very similar to the real world (it’s an Urban Fantasy setting, after all) and then dweomers, who are humans with magic, or at the very least humanoids with magic.

For a very long time, these races lived primarily separate lives with their own civilization. There were dragon nations and pixie towns and Centaur Isles and so on; the elkin had a remote mountain nation that spoke to no-one except the Tinies and the harpies, for instance.

The Tinies were the only exception to this rule: Tinies have always lived everywhere.
Only recently – since the 1930’s – have the races begun to actively mingle.

(I wonder if this matches the previous notes on Smokey Knoll. Shall have to check).

Portal Bound
The continent that Portal Bound takes place on has only one sentient race: humans.

On the other hand, because of the portals, there are two factors at hand here:

* what counts as human varies slightly from dimension to dimension, and so there are those that are very nearly elves or fairies or such (or Klingons or Romulans) in appearance
* because of the broad spread of the portals across the worlds in all these dimensions, the humans come in all ethnicities.

Sometimes, if a portal stays open for a particularly long time, a city will end up with a small enclave of people of a particular ethnicity and world-origin.
More often, however, people come singly, and thus they find a place and settle as they can, bringing their own traditions but integrating into the massive whole.

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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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Worldbuilding June Day 1

1. Introduction
Desmond’s World
The world Desmond lives in is on the cusp of industrialization, a word in which most people don’t believe magic exists. Poverty, class struggle, hunger, and crowding are, however, all too real.

The nation Desmond lives in is isolated on all four sides: on three sides by nearly-impassible mountains, and on the fourth by an ocean which is inhospitable and almost entirely non-traversable. It’s a small nation, seven days’ travel by horse long from pass to pass and three days’ travel by horse wide at the widest.

While magic is not believed to exist, it underlies everything, just as the tight isolation, the high price of any trade goods, and the stratified class society do.

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Worldbuilding Month Day 11 – The end of the World, as I know it…

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it! (I need more questions, guys)
This eleventh one is from [personal profile] lilfluff: just what was the nature of the apocalypse in The Planners?

You know, I have been doing a Very Good Job of leaving that completely unsaid.

The things I know are: It was not nuclear, it was not alien, and it was not zombie. It was not climactic – I.e. Giant Flood, that thing in 2000 or whatever the movie was with a giant freeze everywhere and the book-burning, and it probably didn’t involve Mad Max. It was probably not an asteroid strike.

It destroyed a large portion of the infastructure and it was probably that destruction that killed off a large portion of the population.

It was a worldwide apocalypse, not centered on any one nation.

It may have had a lot in common appearance-wise with the apocalypse in the TV show Revolution, although it was not cause by Plot Nanotech. Basically: the power all went out. Cars stopped working. Going anywhere became a challenge.

I think it involved several EMPs or a world-wide EMP. Either a backfiring test strike that ended up with several large nations making a mess of the world, or something like solar flares that made a mess all on its own.

As far as apocalypses go, it left the landscape mostly untouched, the people devastated, and technology a mess.

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Worldbuilding Month Day 9: Building Worlds

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it! (I need more questions, guys)
This ninth one is from [ profile] medicmsh3141: What’s your favorite part of mapmaking?

Oh, no, favorites!

…All of it?

Okay, so when I was working on my first-ever Nanowrimo novel, The Deep Inks, one of the flaws in that book is that I spent like… 3 chapters describing an entirely-useless-to-plot town that the antagonists had built… I don’t even remember why.

But I LOVED that town.

Forget killing my darling lines, when I worldbuild–>write, I have to kill my darling TOWNS.

Okay so.


First, I’m rubbish at visualization, so when I make a map, I can start to actually SEE a place come together.

Second, it’s arts-and-crafts, and I really, REALLY like arts-and-crafts. I get to pull out the lentils/split peas/other pulses and play like I’m finger painting, I get to draw shapes that aren’t going to look “wrong” because, let’s face it, it’s an imaginary world. I get to get out the watercolors and PAINT.

…there’s more than one reason I do all my mapmaking on actual paper with pencil. 🙂

Okay, so there’s the haptic side of it, there’s the visualization side. There’s getting to play with logistics, too: where would they put cities? Roads? Fords/bridges?

I’m gonna put floor-plan making in here too, ‘cause it fills many of the same urges. “How would they cram as many people as possible into this space, to both fill basic needs for shelter AND to encourage them to spread out and build proper houses?”

(That one’s Colonize Earth, which I never did get too far with).

Maps and diagrams are all about questions. How would they do that that is different from how I would do it?

I’m still not one hundred percent sure why Cya built Cloverleaf in a series of circles – but I love it. Might’ve been for the tower in the middle, everything pointing like arrows at the giant thing that, after all, is not actually the school.

Anke prompted me with “treehouse” the other day and I’m still playing with all the details of a post-apocalyptic scrounger’s tree house…

…I considered going into architecture, you know. Sometimes I really regret that I didn’t.

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Worldbuilding Month Day 8: Tell Me a Story

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it!
This eighth one is from [personal profile] sauergeek: You have storytellers in at least three universes: Autumn in Stranded, Tanakae in Calepurn, and Rosaria in Aunt Family. Am I missing others? How do their styles overlap, and how do they differ? What are their goals in storytelling? (Lotsa questions!)

Ooh! I probably do have other storytellers, because I like the trope of the storyteller. I like telling stories within the confines of the story, for one – some day I hope to do an at-least-triple-nested story, like Arabian Nights. Maybe for Camp Nano in July~

Autumn tells stories for two reasons: One, because she is a small-change artist, and engaging your audience by telling stories is a very good way to get their attention and interest them in buying. As a Neil Gaiman story I just read says, people don’t buy the art, they buy the story. (Paraphrase). Two, because she is a dancer on the strands of life, and she has found that sometimes a story is the best way to engage someone, to get them to heal their own strand damage, to create their own connections.

Tanakae tells stories because it’s her career. She started out doing her world’s version of rap battles, and evolved from there into high art – think like Shakespeare having a patron. She likes political satire best, because if you put something into a catchy phrase, it makes people – if not think, let’s be honest – at least remember the phrase. She’s her time’s equivalent of a Facebook meme on a bad day, and on a good day she’s Mark Twain. She likes the way words flow together, and making them fit properly is like a really good puzzle for her.

(Okay, I probably write a lot of storytellers too because I am, by chosen trade, a storyteller.)

Rosaria tells stories because it’s how she sees the future, the past, and the present – it’s a type of divination. It’s also how she engages her family – some too young to be interested in the truth behind the stories, some too involved in their own world, their own lives. It also gives her a chance to talk to her grandchildren and grand-nieces and -nephews and keep an eye on them.

In terms of style, Tanakae’s style is far more elaborate and ornate than either of the others. Tanakae is much more interested in the wordcraft and in showing off her skills. Rosaria’s stories are the most likely to sound like fairy tales, where Autumn’s are the closest to “no shit, there I was…”

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