Sunday, April 5, 2009

(Re-) Announcing the April Worldbuilding Workshop

April has well and truly begun, and I can now make this announcement with no fear of being taken for fooling.

Some of you may already know this, but for those who don't:

I will be hosting a free worldbuilding workshop on TalkToYoUniverse. Those who wish to participate should submit the following to me in my Comments area by April 10th:

1. A short piece, up to 500 words, which begins the main conflict of a story and demonstrates the world as it introduces readers to that world. Assume your reader has no prior information.

2. A 1-paragraph description of the main conflict of your story. If you have a query paragraph, that might work for this; if you don't, you might want to try writing one. Include: protagonist, setting, conflict, and something unique about the story.

As with the last workshop, I will be reviewing all comments before they are posted publicly, so your work will not automatically appear to public eyes. However, those who are selected to participate should expect their excerpts, questions, and comments to become public after a cursory inspection :-).

I will then post blog discussions and expect all participants to comment and push their worldbuilding forward. Because I will be "digging in" and being very involved in the work that is submitted, I will need to keep the number of participants to five.

If you are at all curious as to what "digging in" means, I encourage you to take a look at the discussions on the last worldbuilding workshop, which began December 7th of last year. The first post can be found here.


  1. I'm intrigued by your Worldbuilding workshop. What a great idea!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. In answer to your question about how to put the stationery design in the background, I wish I had a wonderful, techie answer to your question, but I don't. I used a blog layout from

  2. Juliette, for a background, you should be able to use CSS, even with Blogger.

    Hmmm... It occurs to me that the above might be not far off Greek. If so, let me know and I'll try to explain.

    I've found a site you might find more to your taste than anything I would write with regard to braille:

    This is, as is clearly stated, a top-down approach. If you'd rather have my bottom-up studen perspective, let me know. Sometimes seeing both the big picture and the details can be helpful.

    I'm wavering about the workshop. How many definites do you have already?

  3. Thanks for the recommendations. And thanks, Jaime, for stopping by again.

    Catreona, I have no definites for the workshop at all, because I wait until all submissions are received and then from those pick the ones that I feel best able to address. So if you're interested, go ahead and submit.

  4. Hi Juliette! I'm so excited about the workshop. I'm crazy right now because of everything I have going on (we're moving on the 11th!! OMG), but I'm really trying to finish up my submission.

    I wrote up a first draft and sent it to a friend of mine... he sent it back with plenty of advice. I scrapped the whole thing and went back to the drawing board. After this weekend I have what I think is a really good idea that I think will be pretty easy for me to pull off and I hope will be an interesting read (as well as fullfil all of the requirements). I've got the structure of it worked out and at least one small portion of it roughed up. I just have to write the rest.

    I'm probably going way over board with this and freaking out way more than I should but I've never submitted any of my work publicly before and I've never been involved in any kind of workshop. I'm such a newbie.

    Oh, so just to clarify, are we posting the submissions to this article or will there be one on the 10th?

  5. Colin,

    You can post to this entry or to any entry I make on the 10th. I'll find it.


  6. Here is my entry.

    Xodull leads a music band which just ended their latest tour. As he leaves their last concert, he discovers an object which allows him to communicate to Maltur, a sentient sailing ship looking for help to free his family. As Xodull gets involved, he discovers things are more complex than he thought.

    "Gods, Xodull, will you shitting stop it? "
    We were going back home from our last concert and Xodull was acting silly again. We'd known each other for almost thirty-two years and he never wised up. This time, he was climbing down the canal bank to get something he claimed to see there. The thing is, not only it was dangerous because the bank was slippery due to the storm last night, but he was going down with the two-month old tsu he carried in a pouch on his lap. The poor animal looked scared.
    "Don't worry, Tsumw, I'm being careful this time."
    "Last time you were “being careful this time”, you pretty much destroyed all the furniture in my home."
    "Don't bring this again! I was just trying to help you cleaning the ceiling. If you just didn't try to distract me by talking about this all new scientific idea of your sister's... what was it already? Something about where living species come from."
    "Evolution. And that's not any excuse."
    "Squack!" the little feathered thing in the pouch approved.
    "Shuddup, Tipsy. Yes, evolution. Very new, indeed." Xodull wasn't listening to me, as usual. "Well, after a thought, it looks obvious, right? Ah, here you are." He pulled something from the weeds below. Something that looked like a sailor's necklace, but it was too dirty to tell. Xodull climbed back up. I couldn't believe he made it without a scratch.
    "Looks nice, hey? Well, after I clean it, of course. Don't look at me like that."
    "Well, there's a fountain right there, you'll be able to practice your awesome cleaning skills. But I'm not standing near. I know you."
    "Oh, you're afraid of water? You wimp."
    "Don't. Just don't."
    We laughed all the way to the fountain.
    Xodull then cleaned the necklace, not without pouring water on himself, Tipsy and of course me. "Shit," he said.
    "Oh gods, you've been faster than me. I was just about to say the same."
    "I'm faster, I'm faster... Well that's so rare it needs being noted, right?"
    "Stop that." I answered.
    After more cleaning and more water pouring, the necklace looked much nicer. Xodull showed me. "Well, I dunno who made this but they have my congratulations. Look, it seems genuine, don't you agree?"
    "It's very well done, yes, but I don't think it's genuine. They're so rare and I tend to believe sailors are not the kind of people who dispose of these like this. Even if they had very bad relationships with their ships."
    "Well, I didn't hear anything like this lately. You're right, it must be a fake. But very well done indeed."
    "Did you look if the jeweler put a mark or something? They have to, if I remember correctly."
    "No, I didn't find anything like that. But maybe you could also check, you got a better eyesight."
    "I'm not touching that."
    "Don't talk like Zhebvu, I don't need another one." Xodull then wore the necklace. "It looks nice on me, right?"
    I couldn't believe he was wearing it. Well, it did look nice on him, but it needed a little more cleaning first. And I didn't think it was fit for a Sky Hierarch-Elect's husband to wear fakes, even if it was the fad of the moment.
    "Well, it looks like I'm going to ask all the jewelers in the whole Orlêzh if by chance one of them made this." Xodull finally said.

  7. Okay, thanks again Juliette!

  8. How strict is the 500 word count limit? Is, say, 800 words okay?

  9. Colin,

    Do your best, but if it runs a little over, that's ok. Please try to keep it under 1000.

  10. Hi Juliette,
    What a wonderful idea, and a wonderful blog as well! Your blog was highly recommended by Dave Steffan, who correctly identified you as exactly the resource I've been looking for.
    I apparently happened here at a very lucky time! I hope the workshop will be public enough so all can follow, not just the submitters?


  11. Thank you, Seras!
    Yes, the workshop will be public enough to follow. As of this morning, it's not full, so you can submit if you have something.