New Location Profile for the entire planet of Zhop

19 chapters in and I figured it was about time to talk about the actual planet Wandering Fortunes has taken place on so far, Zhop. It’s not really a nice place. In fact, it’s a bit of a mess.

Now up, Wandering Fortunes chapter 7: The Obsidian City

Chapter 7 of Wandering Fortunes is now up. The Obsidian City, New Zhopolis, finally appears! Big city! Tall buildings! Dim lights!  Innumerable residents! Numerable but still a pretty high number of species! Subways, districts, roads, vehicles, orators, scam artists, grumps, racism, and jerks, jerks, jerks!

Wait, somewhere along the line that took a turn for the worse. Will the big city turn out to be all that it promises to be? Or will it turn out to be more than that and it turned out we just didn’t hear its promises right the first time?

As always, I post these chapters early for $3+ patrons on Patreon, so this chapter has been available for a couple weeks now and patrons will be able to see more of Alden and his friends’ adventures in The Big City in just a couple weeks. Even if you give just one dollar though you still get to see things early, as I post weekly updates that include a snippet of work much further ahead. You can take a look at a bit of chapter ten already!

Wikify the Encyclopedia

I’ve spoken before about the creation of an encyclopedia to keep track of your novel or novel series’ world. I had an entire series about it on some website, Obscure Authors Alliance I think, the website itself is even more obscure than the authors now so whatever. My own encyclopedia for the Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos was all put in a Word document. I started with a rather random assortment of information, moved on to entries for species, organizations, characters, and locations, then ended with some random lists. The document became like 200 pages long or something and it was nigh-impossible to efficiently look through it.

I needed a better way to do it.

What about a wiki?

I mentioned I was putting everything on a private wiki earlier and that I would make this post so now I am. I actually have some weird wiki experience, having made one with some friends a while ago for our fan universe. This new one is private and not for a fan universe. It’s for my universe. And it helps immensely with organization. I fully recommend anyone creating their own universe put it all into a private wiki for easy access and organization of information. You might even find it easier to come up with new details when it’s so easy to find existing ones.

When I was trying to find a good program to use I checked Wikipedia’s personal wiki article. I probably should’ve tried all of them before going with one for sure but I didn’t feel like it and am always too busy so I just went with Dokuwiki on a Stick which is apparently its real name. It’s worked fine so far. Some of the syntax is different than what I’m used to (but apparently it’s the syntax MediaWiki uses so whatever) and it needs some extensions added for things that should be pretty obvious like categories, and also it has a bit of the problem of public programs made by coders which is that it can be obtuse to anyone who doesn’t code (like me) but it’s not too bad. I mean, I figured it out! See?

Okay. Okay. Okay. So on the Word document I just basically had one chunk of text with a few paragraphs smushed together with each paragraph being a different section (history, appearance, etc.) This was terrible, and for longer things, such as species with an actually notable history, it was terrible to look at because it was just one paragraph per section. It was… you know how dinosaur is like “terrible lizard” or something? What would be the name for “terrible paragraph”?

Anyway, having actual sections sectioned off for each section means I can use actual paragraphs now. It’s readable. And whereas before I could really see no more than one or two entries at a time and had to scroll the giant document to find them, now related articles can be reached right from a link. I know this is basic wiki information but I mean come on it’s really figgin useful!

So far the most time-consuming thing in transferring all this information onto the wiki is the formatting, but as I go I’m finding there are things that I never really detailed on, things that are easier to notice I never wrote down now that I can easily look at it all. Species culture, including any possible common religion, is but one of these. Eating habits is another. There is also a lot of information that I would put in lists, such as blood color, that I probably should have mentioned in the species entries. So now I do. Characters of a certain species is another example.

Honestly the Word document also got incredibly disorganized. At the start was a lot of information that should have gone elsewhere, such as planet histories, and for some reason I tucked a list of planet flora off near the bottom instead of actually in the entries for those planets.

With all this information in the wiki, I’ll be able to see a list of everyone who lives somewhere and simply click their name to see who they are. Before I’d have to like, put their name and then probably what species they are or some other identifying characteristic because honestly I just wouldn’t know, that’s why I write this stuff down so I can look it up, but I couldn’t effectively look stuff up in that document!

AAA

The character articles are probably the biggest relief of these. There was a lot of information I packed into places that it didn’t really fit in an effort to reduce the size of those terrible paragraphs on the Word document. Now they get their own section! I also never was really able to detail a character’s family in their sections because it was about them, but again, now a specific section for that can exist.

Being able to have specific sections also helps in looking up those specific things—before I’d have to scour their history for where they lived, but now I can just check the actual section for it. I’ve also started work on a properly-organized timeline article, which set me into determining just what the birthdates for all the characters are, so I’m not sure I can stress enough that having this be organized goads me to actually get more information made. Now I can tell when Ropak’s birthday is in Wandering Fortunes! Er, not that he can.

There is actually something of a timeline for a couple kingdoms in the CCC that haven’t appeared yet in the old Word document. They’re both too long to look through well and have a giant line of the kings and queens that is confusing to look at. This will, again, now only be vastly improved in the wiki format, but I can make the names of all these rulers link to pages that don’t exist, and when I find I don’t have anything important to make articles for, I can start really detailing that history. The red links to nowhere significantly help me see what parts of the CCC I still need expand on.

So I reiterate at this point in this post that I recommend organizing any world you’re creating for something into a wiki, especially if it spans for more than one something. Especially do it before you have more than 100,000 words worth of information to transfer over to it like I do…

Wandering Fortunes: details on the new Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos setting

On January 1st I will post the prog first chapter of Wandering Fortunes, my third book. While the fist two books, Slubes and Darmenzi, focused on some slubes from the planet Mintop, Wandering Fortunes focuses on the two neighboring planets of Zhop and Derantu. This means an entirely new setting, cast of characters, and species, but still in the same universe and right next door to Mintop anyway.

Right now Zhop and Derantu are only briefly mentioned by name in the about page for the CCC. As new chapters of Wandering Fortunes are released, new character, species, and location profiles will be added. It’s finally happening. The information sections on this website have only had about a third of the CCC. Now the full picture will begin to form.

Ha ha ha, just kidding, it’s not even close to a full picture. But for the main setting, Mintop, Zhop, and Derantu is a large portion of that.

Mintop is actually the least advanced of the three planets, and the focus was on a small village on a small island where technology is generally clay. We did see Interpolis, a big city of tall buildings and cleeple, but it’s nothing compared to Zhop and Derantu. Robots are actually a pretty common sight in the major population centers, the weapons they have makes the Mallet Blaster that Zeth gave Numer look like a toy, and vehicles that makes Zeth’s Transpide look like a starter vehicle in a video game are everywhere.

In the major cities and countries, anyway. Wandering Fortunes starts out at pretty much the Zhop equivalent to Nottle. It is basically like the sticks here on Earth. And just around the riverbend over that hill there is a tribe of mages with robes and masks and they do dark magic and, oh geeze, listen, these guys are figgin dangerous, do not go messing with them.

Well, actually, that’s the very first thing we do in this book. Science and technology is everywhere, and magic lies underneath. Science fiction-fantasy.

Zhop is a cold planet, the furthest inhabited one from the solar system’s sun. (In contrast, Mintop is the closest inhabited planet to the sun.) Most of the forests on the planet are sparse, and outside the forest is even sparser. It’s mostly drab, gray tundra when there are any plants at all, and it’s all one supercontinent surrounded by ocean. Most of Zhop is occupied by tiny, oft-squabbling kingdoms, but everything is under the thumb of the Zhopian Guard, a planet-wide police force and military that exists to keep the peace. It’s headquartered at the planet’s capital, New Zhopolis, near the northern pole, where tall, dark buildings and advanced technology rules. Civilization here is highly developed and technological. Self-powered vehicles are the expensive norm. Robots are commonplace assistants. However, few realize the magic that hovers everywhere and in everyone, and monsters lurk everywhere, some greatly disguised.

Derantu is between Zhop and Mintop, and is the most highly advanced of the three. Lots of technology on Zhop was taken and adapted from Derantu. Simple robotic assistants are commonplace and are becoming more advanced all the time. They’re totally stealing your jobs. Unlike Zhop, Derantu has individual countries without an overarching controlling organization, though there has been a loose coalition of countries for centuries. Two countries in particular have been enemies since nearly their founding, and what strikes everyone as odd is that the main species of these kingdoms were also found on Zhop. Derantu is a vibrantly-colored planet with bright colors everywhere you look, but the planet is less peaceful than it first looks and old grudges are hidden under the cheery colors everywhere.

Between these two and Mintop lies the Planet Peacemaking Power, an organization designed to balance the three planets’ powers and to solve crises. This was mentioned briefly in Darmenzi.

And through all these highly-advanced, technology-filled worlds of science and machines, one beach ball comes to life. Magic is real here. Don’t believe me? That’s okay. It doesn’t care. If you can think it, it is already here.

January will bring both the first chapter and a new character profile, and then nothing will make sense ever again. But in a good way! More to come.

Time in the Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos

One of the complicated things I’ve found I have to do for the Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos is time. Just time in general. It doesn’t make much sense for all three main planets to have the same year and day cycle, so it could be a completely different part of the year on one planet, or day. Sure, on just one planet it can be 3:00 at one place and 19:00 on the other, but here is a situation where it can be 21:00 on one planet and the other two don’t even have this time.

To ease confusion where one planet may have more days than another, I calculated day and year length to be roughly equal among all the planets. This is also roughly equal to the length on Earth. Isn’t nature weird and not at all being manipulated by someone who can’t be bothered to deal with this sort of stuff??

The other side of time shenaginags is that I’ve never really bothered to figure out when exactly events take place. This is no problem for Slubes and Darmenzi, which only happen over a 5-day span, but the third novel will take place well over a year, so if those events have to be referenced it would pay to know exactly when things happen.

Speaking of referenced, in Darmenzi there was a scene where Numer is watching television and hears the line, “… announcement today by New Zhopolis snowble governor Christen that they would set aside a portion of the public building renovations budget to form a new district to create housing for the homeless…” A reference to the third novel, but since writing that I’ve changed the timeline so this novel happens a year earlier, so that line will no longer work. I had to change it, but first I would need to figure out what was going on in the third novel at the time to see if I could fit another future reference in.

So aside from creating an actual calendar for these planets, I need to determine exactly what days all the events take place.

Once upon a time I had the ability to be bored.

Small sample of what I’m currently working on

Crawber (2 mil (.19 mil Hackney, 1.5 mil Interp, .31 mil other), Floggle (2 mil (1.5 mil Interp, .5 mil other)), Kasdde (1 bil), Shiffle (1 bil), Slube (.4 mil (.29 mil Hackney, .8 mil Interp, .3 mil other)), Smarmel (2.5 mil (.31 mil Hackney, 1.2 mil Interp, .99 mil other)), Spiest (negligible), Stroo (2.1 mil (.21 mil Hackney, 1.5 mil Interp, .39 mil other)), Thyvae (2 mil (1.2 mil Interp, .8 mil other)), Verk’lon (1.3 bil)

Th…That’s the sample. Before I get back to Darmenzi work I’m getting some information down into my encyclopedia that I’ve really needed for a while, some of which I’ve just been trying to pretend that I can ignore it and it won’t matter.

Population size is not one of these things, although I can now report that Mintop’s total population of intelligent creatures is about 6.5 billion, a little behind Earth actually.

What I’ve really needed to make note of is length of year and day on these planets. I can now confirm Mintop has a 398-day year with a 22-hour day. Roughly. And yes, if you calculate it, it is close to the ratio of Earth year-day-hour. It’s almost like some guy in a cloud wanted to make things easy on everyone.

I still need to make an actual list of everything I need, though. I’m also figuring up the population size of some areas, I’m going to sketch out an actual map (probably), and I want to make note of more information on some organizations, such as size. According to my data, Conrad had 823 spleeches on board his scouting space station, but as of Darmenzi only 183 are left with him. Who knows where the other 640 are. Maybe they’re all stacked on top of each other in threes wearing trench coats.