WeWriWa | The CyberWorld: A Brief History

This week, I’m going to be talking about the world in my novel, The CyberWorld. It’s a continuation of last week’s excerpt, and talks about what the world was like before our evil villain, Bellatris Dee, came into power. Enjoy! 😀

The world used to be a dangerous place. Gangs of people, stealing food for terrifying leaders with guns and weaponry, roamed freely through the catacombs. At night, children would lie down to sleep, only to be missing, without a trace, the next morning. Their dead bodies would be returned to us, later, after their kidnappers had exacted whatever purpose they needed from them. We slept half-awake, always afraid.
Bellatris Dee promised a change.
She promised a better life;
She promised our children would not go missing, ever again;
She promised a return to the life we had had before this terrifying reign;
She promised us we would be safe.
She lied.

Blog Post, Idea, and Novel Excerpt © Sabrina Wolfheart & the Books and Bark blog

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So, here we have our main character, Breeze, telling us about the world before Bellatris came into power. At first, I was kind of conflicted over which manuscript to choose an excerpt from (The CyberWorld or Dear Melody), but The Paper Butterfly “voted” (voted meaning I asked her in a comment and she said: I want to know more about Bellatris) or The CyberWorld, so The CyberWorld it is. 🙂

It doesn’t read exactly how I want it to, but I had to edit punctuation and grammar to make it fit in 8 sentences. I just realized how disjointed the excerpt from this week/last week is… I need editing for sure 😀

It’s still a lot of telling, but I’ve heard that in science fiction books, telling is a lot more admissible than in non-science fiction books. The world is complex, so the first chapter is sort of her telling about the world and how it functions, etc. I’m hoping that will keep the reader engaged. I’d love to start with some action, but I think the reader would be too confused about what’s happening to really get into it. I have a prologue, which may be a bit more engaging than the world building, too. 😛

If I manage to write a little more of Dear Melody, I might post something from that next week, but right now, there’s not much material to work with, just about 10,000 words.

So I hope you enjoyed! 😀 (And I hope this excerpt made some sense…)

Happy 8Sunday!

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Blog Post, Idea, and Novel Excerpt © Sabrina Wolfheart & the Books and Bark blog

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21 responses to “WeWriWa | The CyberWorld: A Brief History

  1. Yay, you posted more of your cyberworld story :3 I really like dark and angsty worlds XD That line about the children is terrifying D: My mind went to some dark places there. I think it’s good you kept it ambiguous because it’s already really dark as it is. Although I’m not sure the villains would return the children. . . If they abducted them, I don’t think they would bring them back. Most killers/pedophiles bury the kids and won’t even tell the authorities where the body was dumped. The enjoy having that power over the victims. Or maybe they don’t even try to cover it up because they know they won’t be punished. That’s interesting how Bellatris came to power. She’s emotionally manipulative, much like other dictators who fool the masses. I really like the repetition of the last few lines and then the contrasting final line, “She lied.” It’s powerful and bone-chilling.

    About this line, “Gangs of people, stealing food for terrifying leaders with guns and weaponry, roamed freely through the catacombs.” I don’t think you need to add the word “people” because a gang implies a group of people. Unless you have other races in this story? I’m also not sure about them roaming the catacombs. Those are underground cemeteries. I don’t know much about this world you’ve created, so I’m just going off of our world, but why would they be roaming catacombs? Are they robbing graves? Do the people of this world hide out in catacombs? This is how I might reword it, “Gangs stealing the food off our tables to feed our glutinous leaders, threatening us with guns and other means of force if we protested.” You could also add in a line about the starving children and describe them because I think that would make this part even more powerful. I omitted catacombs because I don’t understand their purpose here.

    I don’t know, sometimes you need to do some “telling” or the reader has no idea what is going on, like in Faulkner’s, The Sound and the Fury XD I mean you could add in a description about the barren land in your excerpt. Might give the reader more of a visual picture to hold onto as you talk about the world. I think as long as you do it in an interesting and engaging way it’s fine. I’ll tell you if it feels like you are doing a massive info-dump. Also, I feel like novels shouldn’t start in the middle of the action. I read a list of do’s and don’ts about writing, and I think this is much more applicable for novels than short stories. But they had a picture of a bear firing a machine gun while surfing on a shark with the caption not to start your story off with guns blazing XD If you start with so much action, you will regress in excitement and anticipation because the only direction to go is down. Plus we don’t even know the characters or who to root for. Although I guess I’m the last person to be giving this advice since I started that short story with a guy shooting himself XD

    • I’m really glad you were terrified! 😀 I there aren’t any authorities, really, so I think the reason why they would return the bodies would be because they wanted to inspire fear or something? I don’t know. Sometimes my hands just go off and type things of their own accord. 😛 (Okay, that could be taken the wrong way, but I mean I’m glad you felt emotions about the predicament). Yeah, I’ve noticed a trend in my history classes (wow, the one time history has actually helped me in real life!) of dictators promising good things and then going back on their word, so that’s where the description of Bellatris came from. I’ve never really thought about it as bone-chilling… maybe it’s because I wrote it or something 😛 Anywho, I guess it’s good if the reader fears the world. 🙂

      Oops, I never really thought of that! Turns out, there are only people in the story, so I guess I didn’t need the word “people” at all. I actually haven’t fully described the world–there’s some other stuff that got left out. The people actually live in catacombs, which is kind of creepy, but well, they do. 😛 I like your rewording, actually–I just might have to change some stuff like “our tables,” because people are starving (also not included… oops) and they don’t really own any property. A line about starving children would be just brilliant! Because it could tie back to the whole Bellatris’s purpose thing and *gets excited and runs off to write more*!!

      To tell or not to tell, that is the question 😛 I admit, I have a problem with knowing when to tell/when not to. That was one of my main problems with my first draft. I tried to show everything, and as a result, the reader barely knows anything about the world. So in my rewrite, that’s a huge thing I’m trying to fix. Thanks for pointing out all that stuff, though–I didn’t even notice how much stuff I’d kind of skimmed over. I think that’s the problem with writers writing. 😛 I know everything about this world, and sometimes, I just forget that everybody else doesn’t know everything, too 😀 Hmmm, barren land sounds good… I think I had something like that in the original, maybe I should go stick it back in… :\ The problem is I wrote a bunch of vignettes from several other character’s POVs, and Bellatris’s, and they’re all so closely intertwined, sometimes I forget they aren’t included in the story. But at the same time, they would give away the plot, so I can’t put them in the story for real… okay, that was confusing… do you get what I’m saying? I do get annoyed when novels start in the middle of the action, that much is true… what I don’t like is when the novels start en media res, because it’s just so confusing, and you’re just like, “wait that didn’t happen yet, what?”. I’m talking about action more like Bob and Joe are sitting in their house one day when their kitchen suddenly lights on fire. Or like in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where it starts off with the Earth getting demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. Truth be told, though, there isn’t a lot of action in the book–it’s a lot of diplomatics and stuff and pacing and mysteries and questions about characters’ pasts. The only bit of action is at the end, when… oops. You say I’m not supposed to tell? Okay then.
      Spoilers. :P
      I generally don’t like dos-and-donts lists, just because writing is supposed to be creative. My dos-and-donts list is very short, but info-dumping and action-packing definitely make it! You don’t want it to be too confusing.
      Lol a bear with a machine gun surfing on a shark. I’m crying 😀 😛 I’ve never though of it that way… regressing action. And I guess that is true, but generally, if one guy is trying to kill another one, you’re generally like, “wait, no, don’t kill him!” 😛
      I think there are times for it and times not for it, and your story is one of those times for it… We can be info-dump notice buddies *high fives* 😀

      Thanks for all the constructive words (I won’t call it criticism because it’s most definitely not)! I will be thinking about my novel and its world a lot more now… 😀

      • Ah, okay that makes sense if they live in catacombs. Maybe you mentioned that last week :$ Yeah, I agree with you about lists. I mean writing is kind of fluid and there are always exceptions. I discussed with Friend A about my suicide story, and whether that was a good idea or not to start with the suicide. She said it worked for a short story, but she could see it being an issue in a novel. I think it’s good to keep some of those things in mind, but more so the purpose behind it. Yeah, the picture of the bear with a machine gun surfing on a shark was pretty funny XD

        And making an example to scare the people would be good, or perhaps making that more clear about what they are doing. I know in ancient times they used to behead the victims, and then put them on the stakes of their fortress. But that is pretty dark D: True though. McCarthy makes frequent use of infanticide, and it’s really creepy. Like in The Road there was a barbecued baby, and that wasn’t shown in the movie for obvious reasons XD I don’t even know. It’s really disturbing, and I think I could have done without it.

        I mean it’s hard to know when you are doing enough “showing” or “telling.” I was over in a writing critique group and someone told me all I did was tell with my suicide story. This person didn’t provide specific examples, which I should have asked for. I kind of get what he meant, but I kind of disagree :$ I didn’t say that, I thanked him for taking the time to comment. But only one person has said that so, it’s hard to say. I think it’s subjective to a certain extent. I can try adding more emotion to my story, but I’m not going to force it.

        I think it’s good that you know so much about the world, and are only sharing pieces of it. Your reader only has to know as much about your world that it makes sense. You may have mentioned the catacombs last week. I don’t remember :$ Sure, we can be info-dump buddies. *high-fives back* XD

        • I don’t think I did…. did I even mention that in the story at all? *runs to check* :\

          Um. That is very disturbing. I will not be reading that book. Or watching that movie. Although several people have said it was amazing.

          I think telling is required in certain situations, but not in others. For your suicide story, I liked how it was written, and I thought it was a mix of show-vs.-tell. I think suicide is a really serious, harsh concept to talk about, so you have to be careful about that subject especially.

          Exactly! 😀 I’m planning to reveal as much as is needed. I know what each person wears, down to the colors and the stripes and the polka dots or whatever–but really, it’s boring information! 😛

  2. Hi, this is my first time with weekend warriors. I enjoyed your snippet. It reads to me like a very intriguing blurb. It leads me to believe that the inhabitants of this world may have gone from bad to worse with the new leader.

    The part on about the kids really gets me. I can understand why they wouldn’t want to sleep.

    • Welcome to WWW, Meka! (Cool name, by the way 😀 ). In case you haven’t noticed, we’re all very friendly folk here.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my snippet! Now I’m off to check out yours. 😀

  3. I like it. It certainly paints a world I’d never want to live in. Bellatris Dee is a good name choice. It’s intriguing. Could go either way as far as association goes. Good 8 🙂

    • Thanks 😀 I’m glad you like her name… It was originally going to be Beatrice, but then Divergent came out, and the protagonist’s name is Beatrice, so I thought people might be averse to it. I wanted to change it to Bella, but then there’s Bella from Twilight. So I kind of combined them (Bellatrice), but I wanted it to read with more of an “s” sound at the end, so there we have it… Bellatris. 😀

  4. The movie of The Road omits the more disturbing elements of the book. There is another scene in the book that was so horrible it still haunts me. Again it was omitted from the movie XD McCarthy doesn’t shy away from gore, but I don’t like it D: But the prose is so beautiful, I read it anyway XD I skip over those parts on the reread because I know they are coming.

  5. Most of the comments I had were already addressed by The Paper Butterfly. hmm… I love your last line. “She lied.” Powerful. And to have it stand on on its own instead of in a paragraph – perfect! For something like this, telling in this style is better than showing in my opinion. It’s unnerving, chilling. It serves as a way to launch the reader into the story where you then show everything and more. Of course, I’m assuming that this snippet comes relatively close to the beginning of the story. In fact, it feels to me that this would be a perfect way to start the story. And then BAM go in for a close-up of this dystopian world.

    By the way, I was so impressed with your last snippet (especially since you’re so young) that I read it to my dad when I was visiting my parents last week. Don’t worry, he has the brain of a teenage girl so he wouldn’t be all fuddy dud about it. He liked it but said Bellatris’ name sounded too much like Bellatrix LeStrange from Harry Potter and sends a heads-up about using names that sound similar to already famous characters/books.

    • Oh, huh, I never thought that this could be the story’s beginning… I’ll have to look into it 😀

      Oh, wow! Thank you 😀 That means a lot 🙂 I have been told before that Bellatris’s name is too similar to Bellatrix’s, but that wasn’t on purpose. While I don’t want readers to think of Bellatrix while reading this, I also can’t think what to change her name to. Like I think I have mentioned in other comments, the other two ideas I had were to name her, “Beatrice,” or “Bella.” (Bella was actually her nickname as a child). But then again, there’s Tris and Bella Swan, so I’m kind of stuck. If you have any suggestions, I’d gladly take them!

  6. You’ve painted a world that looks grim and undesirable, but also realistic. The passage you have about the promises read more like a poem, so at first I couldn’t tell whether this was a novel or a poem. It made more sense after I re-read it. Good snippet.

    • Yeah, that part is just supposed to be the narration style for this. It’s the first chapter, but I wanted to use it to enhance the prose. It’s a novel, though 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed 🙂

  7. Dynamite world building. In such a small snippt you have built a world where you can feel the dismay and oppression. I like the way you listed all of the promises in short staccato style. And your last line, wow.

  8. Pingback: WeWriWa | CyberWorld: The Guards | Books and Bark·

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