How to Beat the Blank Page and Write by Janeen Ippolito

We’ve all been there.

You sit down after a long day. You’re tired, but you made it. Your kids are at a sitter, or your dishes are getting ignored in the sink, or you’ve finally gotten off social media. You’re ready to write.

And then: nothing. Absolutely nothing. All of those brilliant ideas for your manuscript, blog post, article, or what-have-you are gone.

The screen is blank.

You glance at the clock. You’re down to fifty minutes of precious writing time before you have to get on to the next task, because you write in the margins. You don’t have the luxury of trying to wait for the muse. You have to get content onto paper NOW.

All of those thoughts only make you freeze up more. You decide to go on a walk. All you feel is relief that you’re away from your computer. Divine inspiration? Not there.

What about online writing gurus and experts? Surely they have an idea? You hop online just for a second, just to scroll through a few blogs and websites of successful writing experts and authors.

Man, these people look way more put-together than you. Look at those shiny websites! Even their posts look awesome. And who did those book covers? Yikes! How are they that famous that quickly? Is this normal? What are you even doing?

Maybe you’re not cut out for this. The doubts churn in your stomach.

Thirty minutes gone. What? No. How did time go so fast? This is not fair. Okay, focus. Gotta get this done. Otherwise, you won’t have any time until tomorrow. Professionals work best under deadlines, right? And you’re a professional. You’re making time. You’re doing things the right way.

The blank screen still looms large. You have nothing…

Read the rest of the article:  How to Beat the Blank Page and Write

Sneak Peek Friday: Author Janeen Ippolito

This week I’d like to welcome author Janeen Ippolito, author of World-Building From the Inside Out.

Go to the heart of your world and build it well!

worldbuild1Memorable world-building enhances story, attracts readership, and sells books! Find the core of your science fiction or fantasy people and instill your narrative with universal themes and concepts derived from real-world cultures.

  • Explore different religions and governments with concise entries that include ideas for plot and character development -Develop key aspects of your society without getting caught up in unnecessary details
  • Learn how the deeper effects of appearance and location can enhance your narrative

World-Building From the Inside Out challenges you to go deep and build fantastical worlds that truly bring your story to life!

World-Building Workbook

This book has questions. You have the answers!

worldbuildwkbkThe World-Building From the Inside Out Workbook is filled with detailed questions and easy-to-grasp explanations to help you probe more deeply into your created world and fill it with meaning that pushes plot and builds tension.

Use it along with the World-Building From the Inside Out reference book, or individually to jump start your creative process.

Ask questions. Dream big. Build the fantastic!

Here’s a peek at what you’ll find inside Janeen Ippolito’s new book.


World-Building From the Inside Out began because of a mistake.

My mistake.

I’d been world-building for over ten years. I’d studied cultures and anthropology at a college known (and infamous) for its thorough humanities program. I’d taught classes on world-building and coached people through the process individually.

And yet, when it came to incorporating world-building into my own speculative novels, I failed.

Over and over again.

My worlds were well-designed. My races looked cool and had neat clothing and weaponry. And the names! Oh yes, I loved making up all those crazy names.

But I had missed one key factor that I should have remembered from my very first literature class: a story is about plot and characters, working towards a goal, and having disasters thrown at them. It’s about excitement. Adventure. Emotional depth. Pacing.

I had beautifully-formed races with no heart. No soul. No motivation.
No reason to go along with my plot other than because I said so.
For some reason, that made for some pretty shallow cultures!
To use a favorite expression from my college days, I was missing the cultural worldview.

Worldview, the essential collection of beliefs that frame how an individual and a society perceives, interacts with, and makes decisions about the world.

Once I stopped banging my head on my desk, I did what any selfrespecting, hyper-planning teacher would do: I began writing a curriculum for myself. I researched all sorts of different ideas on world-building and tried out character builder profiles with pages and pages of questions.

I sifted my way through cultures and societies, trying to fuse together a comprehensive way of building a culture from the worldview and moving out.

The result is World-Building From the Inside Out.

We start off with religion/philosophy. What are the essential moral and philosophical beliefs of your culture? By deciding what motivates them on a basic level, you can then figure out how your main character interacts with them, and how they in turn are products of that culture. Furthermore, it will be easier to create and manipulate conflicts between different races because you will understand their core needs and desires.

From there, we move on to government. Government is often closely entwined with religion/philosophy, and sometimes it even acts as a replacement for a religious system. After government comes society, including family structure, marital traditions, and gender roles.

For the fun of it, we touch on art, technology, naming, and food. These are often the places where you can have the most creativity.
Next come appearance and location. These categories are often the easiest to change according to what the plot requires. They are also the easiest areas to get lost in minutiae that will do nothing to further your actual plot and get that story on paper.

We end with appendices on health and medicine, military, and education. While these areas aren’t strictly necessary, they can have great relevance to your personal story.

So if you’re the kind of person who wants to go deep and build worlds with cultures that can integrate effectively into your plot, then this is the book for you.

If you prefer building from the outside in, then why not try reading this book back to front? I won’t judge.

Either way, please join me on an exciting journey into the heart of man.
Or elf.
Or half-unicorn.
Or whatever else your brain can come up with!

DSC_0587_HeadAuthor Bio: Janeen Ippolito is an English teacher by day, a sword-fighter by night, and a writer by heart. She’s also the founder of Uncommon Universes Press and the author of World-Building From the Inside Out. She has a B.A. in Cross-Cultural Studies, Writing, and ESL and has a passion for using humor and cultures in speculative fiction. In her spare time she makes brownie batter, reads, and watches speculative television shows. One of her goals in life is to eat a fried tarantula.

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World-Building Wonders – The Gliding Lands

Life is precious to me. I wanted to emphasis that in my writing. In my storyEnding Fear, there is a place called The Gliding Lands where they do not value life. Much like communist China, the Uppers are only allowed to have one child (this has recently been changed in China, but for many years this was law). In the world I created, if you try to sneak a second baby into the world, it will get thrown over the edge of the Gliding Lands, only to fall hundreds of feet to the earth below. Pretty horrific, am I right? And heaven forbid you get to keep and raise your own children. That’s what the governments for. It takes a village and all that jazz.

In The Gliding Lands you must surrender your baby to the PediaLab where they then will determine whether your baby is fit for society, or to be thrown over the edge like a piece of trash. Only beautiful and wanted babies will be kept. My main character is a fourteen year old girl named Fear, who was one of these babies…

Source: World-Building Wonders – The Gliding Lands

World-Building Wonders – Mystics as Conduits of God’s Power

Welcome to another installment of World-Building Wonders! Find an escape into an author’s awesome world — and worldview! Today’s featured author is Laurie Lucking.

When I began the first draft of my current work-in-progress, I encountered a problem. I had a strong sense that I wanted to include Christian themes in my story, but the plot I had outlined also involved the scheming of a dark sorcerer. As a Christian, I didn’t feel comfortable having any of the “good guys” in my book practicing magic, at least the way we define it in our world, but how else could the sorcerer be defeated?

I started thinking about different ways in which God might exert His influence in such a situation. Throughout history, God has worked through so many individuals and groups to accomplish feats far beyond what humans acting on their own would be capable of. How better…

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World-Building Wonders – Medieval Monastic Orders

Get a glimpse into some of my behind-the-scenes world building material.  This information is not in the books, but part of my background notes that no one else sees but me.  So this is a rare peek you won’t find anywhere else!

Welcome to another installment of World-Building Wonders! Find an escape into an author’s awesome world — and worldview! Today’s featured author is Allison D. Reid. Since I was a child, the Middle …

Source: World-Building Wonders – Medieval Monastic Orders