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How To Write A Novel: Question Everything Before Putting It In Your World 

How To Write A Novel: Question Everything Before Putting It In Your World 

Question Everything Before Putting It In Your World from worldbuilding

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How To Write A Novel:
Question Everything Before Putting It In Your World 

I always think about this whenever I hear someone talk about mana in magic. Do they know what mana is? WHY it was put in the FIRST magic system it was used in? Do they have any idea how EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE and DISRESPECTFUL it is to Jewish people to use mana in non-Jewish based magic systems?

Manna is a very specific part of REAL WORLD Jewish mysticism and it has actual religious meanings. And the first time it was used in fiction Fantasy, it was used by a Jewish author writing a very Jewish Kabbalah based magic system. And yet, today the word mana gets flung around all willy nilly with no one ever once stopping to ask the questions:

SHOULD I use mana in my magic?

What does it mean?

Why was it used?

Does it actually even match my non-Jewish non-Kabbalah based magic system?

Did they think to go to a local synagogues and actually interview a Rabbi on how the Kabbalists use mana in their mysticism practices?

Same thing goes with races. Take Gypsies for example. They are real people. Gypsies, are NOT Romani either. They are 2 separate groups. Aske either one and they both tell you they don't like being called the other. Gypsies hate being called Romani. Romani hate being called Gypsies. Both hate the derogatory way they are portrayed in Fantasy novels.

Did the author thing to ask questions before putting Gypsies in their world?

Did they think of how they might have caused someone's death, because real world Gypsies and Romani get beaten to death by white folks all the time - and in every case, the excuse is always "Well I read in this... that Gypsies were like that..."

Authors often forget that a lot of people have trouble understanding races in novels are not real representations of real world races by the same names.

Or take disabled characters. Did you ever notice how they are conveniently disabled in certain scenes ONLY, but then act perfectly "normal" the rest of the novel?

How many one eyed characters, run through unfamiliar streets of busy cities, without bumping into things? I'm blind in one eye - I KNOW a person with one eye can not run through a busy crowed street they are familiar with and even less so in a strange town! But you see it all the time.

Or a person with a cane. Ever see them in a novel, drop the cane and run from danger? You know a real person on a real cane, really can not run at all, right?

And then there's Autism, PTSD, OCD, and schizophrenia... all way over used and never portrayed accurately. Always used as a plot device, like someone with these illnesses can just turn them on and off at will. Did those authors question the effects of inaccurately portraying real world disabilities, so vastly incorrectly?

Take albinos for instance... albinos get used in Fantasy left and right and they are always super powered, demi-god like characters. Did you know real world albinism is caused by 3 generations in a row of incest (nothing else can cause it), that the symptoms of albinism are identical to the symptoms of AIDs, that albinos can die from being in the sunlight for more than just an hour or 2, they are nearly always born both deaf and blind, and albinism is a hell of a lot more then white skin as they have no immune system and can not have contact with the general public as they could die with in a few minutes of you sneezing on them?

You wouldn't know those real world facts about albinos from the way they are portrayed in fantasy now would you?

Or, like religions. I've seen dozens of sci-fi and alter-hist novels that poke fun at LDS/Mormons. Make Mormons look like psycho-crazed nuts jobs. Did they stop to ask: maybe should talk to a real Mormon and find out what they are about before I write this? I've known a lot of real Mormons and I've yet to meet one that acted the way they are portrayed in fiction.

I'm asking these sorts of questions all the time, because I write alt-hist fantasy, so I have real world races and real world religions in my novels and it's a very tricky thing to have to juggle, writing your novel, while not relying on stereotypes, and doing the research, and asking questions to the real people from the races/religions/cultures I want to write about.

I'm constantly asking myself "Why is this the standard norm for writing about ___" and they "But should I write __ like that too or not?"

I think the best thing we as creators/authors/game devs/game masters/etc can do, is ask as many questions as possible, ESPECIALLY when it comes to working with something that's either already been done before or something (race/religion/etc) that exists in the real world.

And do you know how I got started thinking like this? Years ago, way back, in the late 1970s, when I was just getting started as a novelist... one of my very early novels featured a character from a real world race/culture that I was not overly familiar with. Well, in my real home town, there was this saying said about this particular race. EVERYONE said it, all the time. You constantly heard it no matter where you went. So I thought nothing of it, Had no clue what it meant, and then included that phrase in one of the novels. Well, a year or so later, a friend of mine, pointed out, his family was this race/culture and he asked me...

"Do you know what that phrase means?"

I thought about it and suddenly realized - no, you know what, I actually have no clue.

So he told me and I was like: OMG! I had no idea. It was a really offensive thing and not at all what I thought it meant.

Ever since then, I've always been careful to question the meaning of everything before putting it in my novels, no matter what it was, because, I don't want to add something "everyone does in this genre" and then find out it's something horribly offensive in the real world.

Question everything before putting it in your world, is very good advice indeed.

Let's take Stephen King for example...

Did you know he DID NOT get permission before using the World's Most Haunted car as the basis for his book, and that as a result of his movie Christine, said car was cut in half by vandals?

Or what about the Thinner movie?

Did you know Stephen King's film crew DID NOT HAVE PERMISSION to film on the Gypsy farm? That they were trespassing. And that as a result of this, 4 members of that Gypsy family have since been murdered by the Ku Klux Klan?

Did Stephen King question the consequences of using a REAL culture (Gypsies) in a derogatory way in his books and movies?


And now people are dead.

Far too many authors, are too quick to think there will be no side effects to the disrespectful and often times out right hateful ways they portray people who are "different" or "exotic". A perfect example of this is Medieval Fantasy... 

The Middle Ages are an interesting time! However, there aren't actually that many MA worlds. We've got a lot of Tolkienesque worlds, a lot of D&D worlds, a lot of ASOIAF worlds, but all of those are significantly different from the actual Middle Ages.

The thing is that all of the original versions of these worlds took inspiration from the Middle Ages and changed it into something else, something that better suited what the specific artist wanted to do. Martin, Tolkien, pretty much any successful author or creator you could name, all made specific, reasoned choices about what things they wanted to include in their world, how it was different from real life and their influences, and how it was the same. They did this because they had a vision or an idea. Tolkien wanted to write one thing, and Martin wanted to write another. That's how they both took the same historic period, the medieval era, and came up with two completely different things that both feel fresh in their own way.

Amateur worldbuilders go wrong in two places.

First, they prioritize the things they like over what will be good for their project. I think dragons are pretty badass, I enjoy seeing them in Game of Thrones, but they're not in my world. There just isn't anything they do for the story I'm trying to tell. Self-control is important. In art, use of negative space is often just as important as what you actually paint. In worldbuilding, it's important to remember that our worlds are defined as much by what they don't have as what they do. So if you just throw in everything, you're undermining your ability to accent and emphasize certain elements via the absence of other elements. Would the impact of dragons in ASOIAF be anywhere near as meaningful if there was another race of giant gryphons flying around? Would the elves in Tolkien be as interesting if the dwarves and hobbits were also immortal? Worldbuilders often rip things straight from Tolkien or Martin or whoever else without fully considering what those things do in their world.

Second, they're too limited in the number of their influences. They see something they like, and they build a world that's very similar. The three biggest offenders here are D&D, LotR, and ASOIAF, but it happens with WH40k, Dark Souls, WoW, and a hundred other worlds. If you're telling a story about a dark lord trying to take over the world, and your world has elves, dwarves, orcs, and halflings in it, you're never going to escape Tolkien's shadow. Same goes if you take a low fantasy medieval world and tell a story about feudal politics, you'll always be seen as fundamentally GRRMesque. You can change all the details you like, but when someone else's work is baked so deep into what you're doing there's no way to change enough of the surface that people won't see it. It's like a deck of cards. If you just draw one or two cards, there are only so many combinations you can make. But when you're pulling from the whole deck and mixing them together, there are limitless stories you can tell.

TLDR: Middle Ages worlds are cool and good, but people seriously fuck them up because they're bad and derivative.

I agree with you so much.

I've written tons of articles on this very topic over the years. In fact my most trafficed page of this site is one such article on the misuse of the word "medieval" in fiction.

Everyone says Medieval times is over done, while I'm sitting here waiting for an ACTUAL Medieval times book to be written. Just goes to show how very little people know about history, when they think there are Middle Ages books out there. If you find one, let me know, I'd love to read it.

Medieval fiction has kings in castles, you know, before REAL medieval kings had castles, because in medieval times, the church had castles. Kings didn't start having castles until the very late 1380s, and kings with castles wasn't a trend until the 1500s, LONG after the Medieval times had ended (1330 is the last year on the Medieval period, which started at 0A.D.)

  • Raise your hand if you thought kings lived in castles in medieval times (0A.D. to 1330). 
  • Raise your hand if you knew kings did not live in castles until renaissance times (1540 to 1640).

Medieval fiction shows women with freedom and jobs - not so in real life. Women were considered livestock, were bought and sold in marketplaces, had harnesses to keep them silent, and if a man had 4 wives it's because his 1st wife had 3 daughters.

  • Raise your hand if you thought women in medieval times, had jobs at taverns, ran inns, were barmaids, were bakers, owned land, or had rights.
  • Raise your hand if you knew women in medieval times were LESS valuable than dogs, horses, cows, goats, sheep, or pigs, when they can up for sale on the auction block.

How many fancy medieval wedding parties do you see in novels and movies, where the bride marries the man of her dreams, is a young women, or at least a teenager, and wears a splendid white dress?

  • Raise your hand if you knew the first white wedding dress was worn in the 1830s (by Queen Victoria).
  • Raise your hand if you knew a "wedding" in medieval times involved a 10 year old girl with irons shackles on her neck, being sold to the highest bidder and then publicly raped by her new husband on the auction block to prevent other men from taking her.

The time period MOST "Medieval Fantasy" novels/games/worlds are set in is almost always the 1600s to 1700s, sometimes as early as 1500s. But to actually classify as Middle Ages (middle of Medieval Times), is has to be 900s to 1200s, with Medieval being 0A.D. to 1330.

How often do you see pirates, with their tri-cone hats, their merchant ships, their long button coats, in medieval fiction? All the damned time, right?

  • Raise your hand if you thought pirates sailed the high seas on giant ships in medieval times (0A.D. to 1330). 
  • Raise your hand if you knew Chris Columbus in 1492 had what was the world's largest ship - it was 21' feet long, 1 foot shorter then the 1959 Cadillac.
  • Raise your hand if you knew pirate ships (galloons and dutchmen) were invented in the 1700s during the Napoleonic era.

In these examples, you don't see the side effects on real world people being beaten up and murdered, but you do see real world people who are completely clueless about the history of the world and are completely clueless to when things happened.

Like for example, did you know the concept of bathing daily was invented in the 1990s? Only 20 years ago? Yet how often do you see characters of historical novels bathing daily? Science only discovered it was safe to bath as often as once a week in 1976! Before that they believed it was dangerous to do so! In the 1950s, doctors even warned against bathing too often, stating it was unsafe to bath more then once per month, and that to only bath once every other month was safer. People were not even washing their hands before meals until the concept was invented in 1968.

So, yeah, I'd like to see Medieval Fantasy that was actually Medieval.

 Inaccuracies in fiction bother me a lot ever since Stephen King filmed Thinner on our farm and the Ku Klux Klan blew up our house with a bomb after. You never think about how things are portrayed in fiction until someone turns your culture into a villain and terrorists who can't tell the difference between fiction and reality attack. :(

The bomber blamed it on us Gypsies being evil, because they had seen Thinner and stephen King said so.

Stephen King's film crew filmed that movie on our farm WITH OUT permission. They were trespassers who arrived, said Stephen King told them they could be on our private property and refused to take no for an answer. They were bullies who stormed in unannounced.

We had never heard of Stephen King before. We didn't know what they were talking about. We could barely understand their language enough to know what they were saying.

They were gone a few hours later. We never expected to hear from them again. And from them we didn't.

Two years later the onslaught of Stephen King fans arrived and arrived and arrived and arrived... droves of them, month after month, year after year, destroying our crops, tramping our gardens, breaking things and saying "Look I got a souvenir!"

Then the Ku Klux Klan arrived, calling us witches and Satan worshipers, saying that we were evil, and that me specifically was worse then the rest, because I was a witch.

The KKK claimed the Gypsy witch in the Stephen King movie the Thinner was based off of me and so it was my house they blew up with a bomb. My cats they kidnapped. My cats whose heads they cut off and nailed to my door. My motorhome they filled with hundreds of gallons of feces.

And for what?

Because of some book I never even heard of before they arrived.

Because of some movie I've never even seen.

Because one irresponsible author named Stephen King, did not stop to think about how he portrayed a minority race in his books.

A bomb blew up my house because Stephen King was an irresponsible author who did not stop to question: SHOULD I MAKE FUN OF SOMEONE ELSE'S CULTURE?

Ever since then, now I just question every single bit of inaccuracy in fiction.

It seems insignificant I know to think about the huge amount of errors in medieval fiction, but look at how Gypsies and Jews are portrayed in medieval fantasy. It's never good, and how many of today's real world Gypsies and Jews are being murdered because of something some author just tossed into their novel without doing the research?

It's scary when you start to really think about it, because, we authors, we know it's fiction we are writing, but far too often readers don't.

But can you see the problem here?

How many authors make fun of Jews in their novels?

Did you know that in the 1840s it was so popular to make fun of Jews in novels, that an entire political party was created based on how FICTIONAL Jews were potraied in FICTIONAL novel?

Did you know that was how the Nazi party got started?

Think about it.

How many lives will you seemingly insignificant use of "mana" in magic, destroy? 

You know the answer is: A lot.

Have you seen the news lately?

Did you know, many of the white power killings going on in America right now are based off FICTIONAL facts about none whites and have no basis in reality at all?

Do YOU question the things you put in your world when writing your novel? You should.

*(And for those wondering... part of my family is Jewish, part of my family is Mormon, we are all Gypsies of Persian descent; 4 members my family have been beheaded by the Ku Klux Klan who also blew up our farm with a bomb - since the filming of Stephen King's The Thinner on our farm, so - hey, Stephen King fans don't get to visit the filming location of the movie and we Gypsies no longer welcome the public to our land anymore;

I have Autism, PTSD, and OCD, and my partner is an albino. In 2013 the KKK beat me up because I'm a not white Semite - we of Jewish blood are Semites, yes that does mean many members of my family were killed by Nazis in WW2 as well - ,

In 2013 they left me paralyzed for 5 months, relearning to walk for 18 months - I'm crippled for the rest of my life on a cane, because I'm not white and have Jewish blood; So, I actually know the details of the facts I mentioned here and do know how extreme offensive these things are when seen in fiction. My cousin who lived next door to me had his head cut off in 2013, because the KKK is really big problem here in Maine, and they have been for a while. You don't know what it is like to live with terrorists, until you live it yourself, and I think that's why it's so easy for so many authors to add things to their books without asking if they should. It doesn't effect them, so they assume it won't effect anyone else. Believe me it does.

When Stephen King filmed Thinner on our farm, we never could have imagined it would bring the KKK here to Maine to terrorize us Gypsies because we have Jewish blood, but it did. So, it's nice to see authors and creators who take the time to research and ask questions, rather then just slap any old thing in the story because they saw some other author do it. Please, always take the time to stop and think before you write something in your fiction, that could adversely effect a real person's life.

Kudos and {{{hugs}}} to the authors who take the time to ask questions before added things to their world - you guys are amazing for going out of your way to be kind hearted and considerate to others.)

Have You Seen These Kidnapped Cats?

3 of the 15 Pidgie Fund Cats Have Been Murdered

2 Have Been Found & Returned

These 10 Are Still Missing

If You Know Where They are
Please Bring Them Home

If You Know Who Is 
Holding Them Hostage

Please Call FBI Agent 
Andy Drewer 
@ (207) 774-9322  

More Information 

Help The FBI Capture Old Orchard Beach's Gay-Hating, Animal Abusing, Bomb Building, Psycho Terrorist

If life gives you lemons, then you grab life by the balls and say you're taking them too.

Why make lemonade when you can make testicle stew? 

I don't take shit from no one, I stand up to bullies like you.


“People try to say suicide is the most cowardly act a man could ever commit.
I don't think that's true at all.
What's cowardly is treating a man so badly that he wants to commit suicide.” ― Tommy Tran

“1. Bullying is not okay. Period.
2. Freedom of religion does not give you the right to physically or verbally assault people.
3. If your sincerely-held religious beliefs require you to bully children,
then your beliefs are fucked up.” ― Jim C. Hines

I'm a woman who has had 7 miscarriages, and wears "elaborate clothes". Because I have no children, the residents of Old Orchard Beach, beat me up, calling me a transsexual, claiming only a man would dress like I do, claiming that the reason I have no children is because I'm not really female.

They left me paralyzed and crippled. 

They crushed my hips, my pelvis, and my spine, and took away, what little chance I had to carry a pregnancy to full term.

I'm crippled for the rest of my life. I can barely walk now. It's why I'm now on a cane. Any hope I had of having children is gone now.

That's the reality, of the gay hatred of this town. 

I have Autism. I wear pink. I wear glitter. I talk with a "funny gay sounding voice".

Acording to the people in this towm:

I walk like a fag...

talk like a fag...

dress like a fag...

act like a fag...

and therefor must be treated like a fag...

I need to be taught my place...

I deserve to be shot in the head...

I look gay, and therefore I must be, 

because no one but gay men, talk in this vooice

no one but gay men wear pink

no one but gay men wear glitter

no one but gay men prance instead of walk...

so they beat me up, because I'm "too gay" for Old Orchard Beach

they cut my car in half, because I'm "too gay" for Old Orchard Beach

they put a bomb in my house, because I'm "too gay" for Old Orchard Beach

they filled my motorhome with feces, because I'm "too gay" for Old Orchard Beach

they kidnapped my cats, because I'm "too gay" for Old Orchard Beach

they drove a back hoe over my house, because I'm "too gay" for Old Orchard Beach - even though I'm a straight female, nothing close to being gay

they cut my cats heads off and nailed their heads to my door, because I'm "too gay" for Old Orchard Beach

because I have Autism

and that makes me "too gay for the family friend town of Old Orchard Beach"

I used to dance when I walked... but after 5 months paralyzed, 18 months relearning to walk, and now 4 years later, my leg is lame and I am crippled, barely able to stand, dragging a lame leg, I'll never dance again.

Do you know what that's like?

Can you even begin to imagine?

To be an Autistic person, who can no longer dance when I walk?

They hate gay men so much, that they are willing to beat up a childless autistic women, in ill health, accusing her of being a transvestite.

Because these evil people took away my ability to have children, I had cats; but they took my cats, and cut off their heads, and nailed them to my door.

Welcome to Old Orchard Beach. The gay-hating capital of Maine.

Where residents try to murder crippled, elderly, straight women, accusing them of being gay.

This is the reality of how Autistics are seen by the world.

This is the reality of how Autistics are treated by "normal" people.

This is the reality of being transgender in Old Orchard Beach.

This is the reality of what bullies do to someone with mental illnesses, they do not understand.

This is the reality of living with Autism.

Find out more here.

Do You Know The Identity of
the People Who Did These Things?
Have Information? 
Please Call FBI Agent 
Andy Drewer @ (207) 774-9322  

The Dungeons & Dragons Articles:

Meet My D&D Player Characters:

 The Chaotic Neutral Mind Flayer Wizard-Priest

(ZooLock the Great)

Lawful Good Space Cat

(Empress EelKat)

The Chaotic Evil Faerie (Phooka/Unicorn) Illusionist Necromancer

(King Gwallmaiic aka BoomFuzzy the Unicorn aka The Elf Eater of Pepper Valley)

The Chaotic Good Gnome Illusionist/Thief

(BeaLuna the Faerie Hunter)

The Chaotic Neutral Half-Dwarf/Half-Troll Barbarian

(Bullgaar the Vulgar)

Sadly I've not played in a D&D game group since I was beaten up at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) November 14, 2013 and left paralyzed for 5 months, relearned to walk for 18 months, and am still now in 207 crippled and with very limited mobility. A 4 door white truck left the scene.

The FBI believes this attacker to be the same person who blew up my house with a bomb on October 18, 2006.

The 4-door white truck has Maine plate #: 1459 US.

More information can be found HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.

If you know the driver of this truck, they are wanted for 2 counts of attempted murder, the bombing of my house, the kidnapping of my cats, the murder/beheading of my cousin, and more than 200 terrorist attacks on LGBTQ residents of Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Please give any information you have to the identity of this very dangerous criminal to:

FBI Agent 
Andy Drewer 
@ (207) 774-9322  

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Please Note: The Quaraun Series Is Rated M18+ and you must be 18 or older to buy it.

Most pages on EelKat.com are about writing Yaoi, and thus probably is NSFW; reader discretion is advised.

Why is the Quaraun Series Rated M18+?

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Where to get ideas

  1. Story Prompts & Writing Dares
  2. Ideas, Ideas, Ideas (Where Do You Get Them?)
  3. Daily Writing Prompts June 2017



The Quaraun Series On Amazon:

I am wondering why has Amazon moved the Quaraun books to the category "Transgender Romance" and also "Gay Erotica"? The base story is a deeply depressed, suicidal, drug addict Elf who's lover commit suicide and he's trying not to do the same. It's an old Elf in a tavern, monologuing a lot of flashbacks and back story scenes of his youth. These stories are dark, bloody, angsty, full of drug use, murder, rape, Medieval torture, mental/physical/emotional abuse, and references to depression and suicide - no romance in it, unless you count the occasional (and usually brutally violent) rape scenes that show up in nearly every volume - sorry - no clue what Amazon is thinking or why they moved these to Romance and Erotica, but these books are NOT even close to being Romance or Erotica on any level at all. When I published these books I put them in "Dark Fantasy" and "Yaoi". If they show up in any category other then "Dark Fantasy" and "Yaoi", it's because Amazon put them there without my authorization or approval.