Just letting you all know that page 2 of the Intergalactic Guidebook is now up and available for your perusal.
Hope you like it.
Just letting you all know that page 2 of the Intergalactic Guidebook is now up and available for your perusal.
Hope you like it.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m compiling a new page on this site which I call the Intergalactic Guidebook. I decided a little while ago that it would be fun to create some kind of encyclopaedia of The Lilean Chronicles. In it I would write a kind of mini wiki all about the worlds and peoples we meet in the series. This is going to be a herculean task, as I’m finding out but it’s fun to do and I don’t mind it taking a while. I’m uploading each page when it’s complete and will blog when there’s a new page for you all to peruse.
It’s called world building or rather in my case, galaxy building and I actually did this when I wrote the books. I built the words, the galaxy as I wrote each volume of the series. What I’m doing now is putting all that information together in one place, but I’m finding that something interesting is happening as I’m putting it all together.
I know the worlds contained within The Lilean Chronicles very well. I spent a year writing with my characters and I know all about their worlds, their culture etc so writing it all down again for the guidebook is not hard. What I’m finding though, is that I’m actually writing stuff I never wrote in the books. There are things in the guidebook that you won’t read about in the series at all. The back stories in the guidebook are way more comprehensive and complete than the information in the novels is. This got me to wondering why I’m feeling the urge to go so much further with these back stories, when some of the information isn’t in the books.
The answer is simple really. I love doing it. World building is such huge fun and it’s a total pleasure to invent a whole world, a race of people, their beliefs and culture, even their diseases and sports. I also feel that the fuller the back story is, the more believable the novel becomes. When you can find out everything about the world a character comes from, it helps you identify with them more closely and understand them more deeply. Besides, it’s interesting shit to read..!
So how much is too much? Should I go so far as to include geological information about the composition of the land masses? Should I document the changes to air purity over the past thousand years and cross reference this with a graph showing the increase in population perhaps? Maybe I need to include a political history, complete with list of the last 10 years worth of import and export figures?
No, I think not. For one thing, it would bore me rigid to write and therefore, probably bore readers too and secondly, it teeters on the edge of OCD. Readers have enough imagination and sense to know that stuff isn’t necessary for a work of fiction. Yes it would make it totally comprehensive but it wouldn’t add anything to the story as a whole.
I’d love to one day publish the Intergalactic Guidebook as an actual book to accompany the series but it would involve massive amounts of artwork and I don’t have the money to pay my hugely talented art guys enough to cover the time they would need to devote to such a project. Who knows what the future holds though; I may win the lotto one day and then I’ll be emailing them..!
I am on facebook every day, for quite a significant amount of time. If I’m not actively working my page, then I’m checking it every half hour or so just in case. Just in case of what I don’t know but facebook is addictive as we all know and, well you have to check your page often don’t you…?
One thing that constantly amazes me is the way people are hurt or offended by the actions or words of other people. It’s as if the general population really do expect everyone to be nice, friendly and helpful all of the time and when they’re not, they’re surprised, hurt and angry. The thing that people just don’t seem to grasp, is that people aren’t nice, friendly and helpful. In fact people are normally the opposite and I’ve found that to expect otherwise is idiotic at best, and downright suicidal at worst. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and the internet revolution has enabled us to be more vindictive than we ever thought possible back in the day when we had to actually converse with people face to face. When I was growing up I had to actually talk to people and if I had a problem with anyone I had to deal with it and them physically. Being a non confrontational sort of person meant I tended to let things slide more often than not but conflicts did occur from time to time and when they did, I had nothing to hide behind. Nowadays the internet allows us all to be brave, pro active and downright aggressive if we desire to be, and the temptation must be extreme if you are the sort of person that has never had the balls to actually confront anyone in person. It’s so easy to be assertive online that anyone can do it.
People are now able to show their true colours like never before and so many are taking full advantage that an average day on facebook is tantamount to going into battle. Each and every day I piss at least one person off and get pissed off by at least another couple. Facebooking is fast becoming a stressful way to spend my spare time. There are so many weird and wonderful people on the internet and the popularity of social networking sites such as facebook make it so easy for these people to make their presence felt. when I was growing up, each town had it’s fair share of weirdos and oddities and they tended to keep themselves to themselves and everyone knew to keep out of their way, but nowadays the internet has given them the opportunity to scream their weirdness to the masses worldwide and they are taking full advantage.
With the ability to create completely false identities, social networking sites allow us to be whomever we want to be without the ever present chance of being found out that we had to worry about back in the day. One can create any number of facebook accounts and every one of your alter egos gets it’s voice heard..! Equally astounding is the fact that so many of these weirdos have entourages of willing and flaccid hangers on who make all the right noises and so encourage the weirdness even further. Many of them are just so weird that they are funny and it is not these that I worry about. The ones that worry me are the ones who use the internet to bully and demean others who may not have the ability to stand up for themselves. I have been bullied a few times on facebook and I admit that at times it has upset me to know that there are people out there who get a kick out of having influence on the emotions of other people without the possibility of a backlash. As time goes on I get more used to it and am able to brush it off more easily these days but I often see others who are obviously terribly upset at something one of their ‘friends’ has said to them. When you don’t have to worry about whether you are going to get a knock on the door, it’s so easy to express your darkest emotions at the expense of another and for every one that disappears off your facebook ‘friend’ list, there are ten others who will agree and laugh with you.
It’s as if we, as a species, are losing the ability to converse naturally. Nowadays we don’t write letters, we don’t phone people and we don’t talk and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if we didn’t soon evolve without mouths at all…! With texting, e mails and now social networking, what use are mouths..? Without the visible feedback from conversing face to face, how can people learn how to behave socially? Human beings are social creatures; we are pack animals and cannot survive alone but today’s lifestyle seems to be trying to make us into solitary creatures. This can only lead to our downfall and at worst, it could mean the breakdown of society in general as we continue to do our interacting virtually and without the instant feedback that physical interaction gives us. I now find myself feeling more at ease communicating via text, e mail or social networking than I do on a face to face basis and that is worrying.
In order to try to counteract this, I have a little thing I do sometimes that helps me. Whenever I have to pop out to the shop I make a pact with myself that I will make myself actually converse with someone, anyone, about anything at all before I get back home. This has become easier over time and now it’s not so much of a problem for me as it was when I first tried it. Even if I just say a couple of words to someone at the checkout, so long as I actually talk and make something resembling a conversation, I go home happy with myself. Conversation is a dying art and I want to try to keep it alive if I can.
So what’s that got to do with being aggressive online..? Well it’s all about being real as opposed to being fake and that’s the relevant point here. Most of us wouldn’t have the nerve to be aggressive to people face to face as quickly as we do online. That’s because when we talk and interact face to face, we have to consider the other person’s feelings and we have to be aware that if they react badly to what we say or do, we may get either embarrassed or hurt or both..! Because most of us are cowards at heart, we don’t want to be embarrassed or punched in the face, so we moderate our language accordingly and that is what is missing when we interact online.
It is human nature to be a bit competitive. We have this inner need to keep up with the Jones’s and be better than the next person but when it’s done online without the usual signals that encourage us intuitively to moderate our language or actions, it quickly and easily gets out of control and that’s when people get hurt. When you are constantly having your feelings hurt by comments online, it can influence how you interact when you do meet people face to face and any reactions you display then influence the other person, who then has their feelings hurt and so they carry that to their own interactions, and so on and so forth. In this way, the social structure of modern society slowly and inexorably begins to crumble until we have de-evolved into the grunting savages that we so proudly proclaim to have left behind.
The one thing that you can never get across online, is the subtle meaning of your words. You may have meant it as a joke, but your written words alone often don’t get such subtleties across and more often than not, people get the wrong end of the stick and take offence even where none was intended. I’ve had this happen to me many times and have learned to make an effort to make sure the intended meaning of what I’m saying, is obvious in my comments. I’ve had my jokes and funny comments taken completely the wrong way and have had irate ‘friends’ sending me angry emails more than once. Conversely, there have been times when someone has pissed me off so much that I have fully intended to piss them off in revenge, but they’ve either refused to take the hint or just ignored it.
It just goes to show that the human ego is a fragile thing and the internet gives us a never before seen opportunity to take advantage of that. Whether we do that with good intentions or bad, is down to each individual at the end of the day but I fear that now the revolution has begun, there’ll be no going back. I fear for our social structure and am noticing more and more that the internet is making me more reclusive each and every day..!
As a writer, I feel it’s very important to strive to better my writing and I’m always trying to figure out ways to do that. I hit on the brilliant idea of asking someone else to give me a subject to blog about and this is what I was given.
“Your opinions on your life where you life; the physical conditions and how you feel about them. How do they affect you?”
Okay, let me illustrate the environment in which I live. I live on the outskirts of a large town, which itself is a suburb of a huge city on the south coast of England. My home is a rented two bedroomed flat on the first floor in a small cul-de-sac. My front windows look out across a wide green verge with trees, to a busy main road. A housing estate is situated on the other side of this road, with a forest beyond. Although I live on the first floor, the first floor is the top floor, so I have just one downstairs neighbour and one at the side; my flat is on the end of the block so no neighbour one side.
My flat is actually not bad as far as rented accommodation goes; I’ve lived in far worse places. I rent from the local housing association and although the rent is high, I get housing benefit which pays it all. I have my own little patch of garden at the front to keep as I please, whereas the rear is all communal grass and washing lines. Being on the top floor means I get the loft space, which is useful for storing some of my lesser needed crap that I can’t yet bear to part with, but as I’m the opposite of a hoarder, I doubt it will ever get filled. My front door is painted black and I have a gooseberry bush growing in the garden which gave me its first ever crop this summer. I enjoyed gooseberry crumble a few weeks ago and can’t wait for next summer to have it again.
It’s all very nice here. It’s relatively crime free apart from occasional smashed wing mirrors and sometimes the wheelie bins take a stroll down the road overnight. It could be so much worse and I count my blessings every day. The trouble is it’s boring and bland and oh so middle class. The same elderly ladies walk the same little dogs along the path every day and the same health conscious joggers jog along the main road. The ice cream van turns up at six thirty every summer evening and the bins are emptied every Monday. Life in surburia is boring and although it’s safe here, I do find myself wondering about maybe getting an exchange and moving somewhere else.
The people here are friendly, kind of. Not the always in your place for coffee type of friendly but the smile and hello when you pass in the street kind. I’m glad about this actually; I hate it when neighbours spend more time around your home than at their own so that you can never get anything done and they always want to know your business. I like a little detachment from neighbours but not to the point of being anti social or unfriendly. I do find myself wondering about them though; what they do in the privacy of their own homes and what their secrets might be. I guess everyone does this but being a writer and therefore creatively developed, my imaginings can be quite complex, serious, funny and strange.
Within two miles we have a good shopping centre, a railway station, a bus station and an airport, which means from here you can get to anywhere in the world. It’s a useful place to live despite its blandness. There’s even countryside within a few miles if you want to escape any time. Despite all of the benefits of living here, it’s not the first place I’d choose if I could. I have all sorts of daydreams about where and how I’d like to live if I won the lottery and they range from deep in the countryside with no neighbours for five miles in every direction, to a one thousand year old haunted manor house, to a swanky pad on the outskirts of Los Angeles or an upmarket area of Florida, depending on my mood.
I’m one of those people who forms an emotional attachment to the building in which I live. It’s a part of me, an expression of me and a representation of what I’m all about. I’m autistic and a bit agoraphobic and I live alone so I spend all my time that I’m not at work, here at home alone so it’s important to me that I feel safe and relaxed here. It’s my safe place, my panic room and my rubber cell all rolled into one and as I change, it changes. I can’t change it as much or as often as I’d like; I’m destitute (hey I’m a writer) so I can’t bring all my imaginings into being, but I do okay. If all else fails, I move the furniture around to make the place feel different.
My home has become a sort of living being. It has my energy within its walls. It’s experienced my joys and despairs alongside me and when I’m away from it, I look forward to returning to it. At the same time though, it’s lonely here and I’m very aware of how alone I am and I often imagine how it would feel to have a ‘significant other’ around the place. These four walls have been with me through some of the toughest times of my life. I’ve had many christmases and birthdays here alone with my walls; they know me better than anyone else and if walls could talk, I’d be worried.
Perhaps I’m setting the seeds for my own future haunting of the place by putting so much of myself emotionally and mentally into this flat. Perhaps this connection will bring me back for hundreds of years on the anniversary of my death, to walk the hallway in the dead of night and maybe, in a hundred years from now, the resident will often hear the faint tap, tap, tap as if some invisible writer were sat at a keyboard..!
Having said all that though, if I won the lottery I’d move without hesitation.