Permanent Website Launch

Hello, faithful readers and visitors. I haven’t posted here since October 2017. Why? Because blogging just isn’t for me. I had a good run here, but I don’t want the pressure of creating new content every week/month. So this will be the final post on this blog–but it’s good news!

My new, permanent, and static website has been recently launched. You may now find me at www.natephilbrick.com, and I won’t be going anywhere, believe me. The website is bigger and better than anything WordPress ever afforded me.

The website will be my author platform and product hub from here on out. You’ll find all my books, artwork, and services there. I must say I’m surprised at how many hits this blog gets every single day despite being inactive for so long, and I’m sure even better times await us all in the new place!

I’ll see you all there!

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Q&A – Questions Wanted!

Hi, all!

This post is just a quick announcement/request:

In anticipation of reaching four thousand followers on Twitter (getting close!), I’m planning a Q&A video to celebrate! If you’re curious about my writing process, The Broken City of Crows, other work, my personal life, or anything else, comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter @NatePhilbrick!

I want the video to be ready to post when we hit 4k, so I’m getting a head start. Help me make this a fun project!

Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick

How could I not share this?

The Page Dreamer

Title: Where the Woods Grow Wild
Author: Nate Philbrick

  • Date read: June 1, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2016
  • Pages: 375 (Kindle)
  • Series: I’ve heard rumors of a sequel…! *excited bounce* *NEED*
  • Fave character: Martin… and all of them! ❤
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author for review purposes (many thanks! :)). I was not required to write a positive review; these opinions are my own.
  • Links:AmazonGoodreads • Author’s Blog

First thing’s first: I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! *hugs it* (Warning: Fangirling zone ahead.)

Where the Woods Grow Wild (don’t you love that title?) is SO much fun, as well as extremely well-written and completely gripping. It’s original fantasy, yet at the same time has this classic feel, so that I almost feel like I’ve known it forever, even though I just…

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May 2017 In Review

Ever since I graduated from college in 2015 (you know, way back when), it seems that time has accelerated. Months fly by. I’m pretty sure it’s still February.

But it’s not, so let’s take a look at some highlights and decisions from the past thirty days.


Wattpad beginnings

My foray into Wattpad territory was probably May’s most significant turn of events. On the 11th, I launched the first chapters of a new fantasy novel, The Broken City of Crows. I didn’t have many high expectations. I just wanted to post for fun and see what happened.

wattpad cover II

Two and a half weeks later, I’m loving the experience. tBCoC is getting close to 800 reads and has climbed as high as #444 in the fantasy genre. Not bad for a two-week-old novel, eh?

Avora.png
Avora, captain of the Red Vanguard (The Broken City of Crows)

My favorite aspect about Wattpad so far, besides the interaction with readers, is the tangible lack of pressure to make sales or pull off marketing stunts.


Monthly reading

I don’t devote as much time to reading as I should. I am ashamed. I have, however, made progress on some books.

In progress: The Beast of Talesend (Shultz) and Aftermath: Life Debt (Wendig)

Finished: Kanan: The Last Padawan and Kanan: First Blood (Marvel Comics)

AftermathLifeDebt-Hardcover The Beast of Talesend kananlp kananfb


A sequel dilemma

I honestly don’t know what to do about Where the Woods Grow in Flames, my NaNoWriMo 2016 project and the sequel to Where the Woods Grow Wild. The first draft is about 70% complete, but I don’t know if it’s worth finishing.

There are people who I know would want to read it, but not that many. Is it worth spending an entire summer finishing a book that even fewer people will read than the original? I don’t know, especially since I’ve got a lot of other activities on my plate.

I’m considering different options: finish and self-publish, turn it into another Wattpad project, or leave it for the time being. Feel free to offer any advice or suggestions!


What sort of adventures did you have this month? What are you planning for June? Let me know! In the meantime, have a great day.

5 Reasons To Draw Your Story World Map

I love drawing maps. In fact, I got into map-drawing before I ever started writing stories. I remember sitting in my room as a kid, taping together sheets of paper to form fantasy lands big enough to cover my floor. My love for squiggly coastlines and pizza-slice mountains translated nicely into world-creating for my fantasy stories.

 

Map
Map of Akor, the fantasy continent for my Wattpad novel, The Broken City of Crows. (Drawn by hand, then colored and detailed with Photoshop.)

 

 

I’m a firm advocate of having a complete map for your fantasy setting, and even if your map-drawing skills aren’t exactly Ptolomeic, I think creating your own map is a valuable resource for fantasy writers. Here are some reasons why:

#1 Map-drawing forces you to develop a complete story world

To fill your map, you’ll need landmarks, cities, political boundaries, etc., and it’s way easier to keep track of all that information if you’ve got a map on the desk beside you. Gone are the days of having to make up awkward city names on the spur of the moment. Even if your story takes place in a reduced area, having that complete map gives your book that behind-the-scenes development it needs.

#2 Map-drawing gives you ideas for in-story locations

If you draw your map before or during an early draft, odds are you’ll get inspired for a cool setting for that scene you’ve been trying to nail down. Penciling in a lake in that one trout-shaped valley? That might be a fun setting for a battle…well, “fun”. You know what I mean.

#3 Map-drawing provides a reference for important information

Wait, how long should it take my protagonist to get from this river to that town? Oh, I’ll check my map measurements! Could an army actually make it through that forest? Check the map. Where does the city import its goods from? The port-towns? Good! How far away are they? Check the map.

You’ll be surprised how often you reference your map for questions you never thought you’d have to answer. Laying it all out on paper helps you avoid inconsistencies or fallacies of time and distance as you write.

#4 Map-drawing results in a valuable resource for readers

Most readers appreciate having a visual reference to help keep track of your story’s locations, especially in the fantasy genre. Once you get your map drawn out, you can share it on social media, on your website, or even in the very pages of your book, if you think it’s good enough.

I don’t know about you, but anytime I find a map at the start of a fantasy novel, I take a few minutes to study it so I remember where the major points of interest are as I read.

#5 Map-drawing is just plain fun

Drawing maps is, at least to me, another extension of the creative engine all writers have. It’s an artistic expression that complements and develops our story ideas, and sometimes it just feels good to take a break from writing and scratch out some of those squiggly coastlines and pizza-slice mountains.


Do you enjoy drawing maps as much as I do? Tell me about it! If you’ve never made a map, I highly recommend giving it a shot. In the meantime, have a great day!

5 Takeaways From My First Week On Wattpad

Eight days ago I created my first Wattpad account. Seven days ago I posted the first chapter of The Broken City of Crows. Now, a week later, I’ve taken a look back at the first taste of what will hopefully become a long and enjoyable experience (I suspect it will!).

wattpad cover II.png

Obviously, these won’t be experience-based tips, advice, or anything like that. I’m still a newbie. These are mere observations or highlights of my first few steps. Maybe they’ll be enough to convince you to join and share a story!

I’ve felt a lot less pressure

As an indie author looking to build a career on self-publishing novels, I often feel pressured to ‘perform’ well in fear of not succeeding economically. I’ve found that, on Wattpad, that pressure is non-existent. Yes, I want my story to be as good as it can be, but not having to worry about sales makes the experience of sharing a novel one chapter at a time way more relaxing and fun.

The feedback is great

A few blog followers and Twitter friends warned me that they received, occasionally, feedback that was either spam or harshly critical. While I’m sure someone like that is bound to show up, my experience so far with other Wattpad users has been nothing but positive. I’ve received general enthusiasm comments as well as constructive criticism. Both keep me going, and the fact that I can go back and make changes based on that feedback (if necessary) is such a big help.

I’ve gotten more reads than I expected

When I posted the first chapter of The Broken City of Crows, I didn’t set any goals or expectations. I was curious to see if anyone would read it, just for fun. Now, seven days and three more chapters later, The Broken City of Crows has received well over 300 reads. I know that’s not a huge number, and I’m sure a lot of writers would have easily topped that in their first week, but for little old me, that’s not half bad. In fact, I’m pretty excited!

Compared to the slow trickle of sales my other books get on Amazon, seeing so many people read (and enjoy) my work makes me a very happy writer. Again, there’s no pressure to reach certain numbers or amounts, a fact I’m quickly learning to value.

An established schedule keeps me productive

I upload new chapters each Tuesday and Friday, and knowing that readers will be waiting for that chapter to go up is a healthy motivation to stay on top of things. The chapters in The Broken City of Crows are on the long side (3000-4000 words), so editing them before posting takes some time, but I love the feeling of consistent productivity.

Working without a detailed outline broadens my horizons

You all know how much I love outlines. But for this project, I’ve decided to not rely on them so much. When I posted the first chapter, I had about 30K words written and a fairly solid plotline in mind. I’m not worried about hitting a dead end anytime soon. However, knowing that sooner or later I’ll have to start writing new chapters with fewer guidelines than I’m used to is a welcome challenge. Writers gotta grow and try new things, right?


If you’re looking for a way to share your work, interact with readers, and motivate yourself to keep writing, I think Wattpad is a fantastic place to do that. Once again, this has only been my first week. I have no doubt I’ll hit roadblocks, encounter nasty people, and get discouraged.

But for now, things are looking pretty great.  You should give it a try! In the meantime, have a great day.

How To Be A Fantasy Character 101

Today we’ll be studying the basics of what it takes to be a full-fledged fantasy fiction character. Note-taking is encouraged.

Step 1: Wear the appropriate attire

In this class, we provide you with a starter kit which includes pre-muddied boots and a cloak carefully hand-torn by our specialists. We also recommend you complete your outfit with your own choice of shirts, pants, and hoods. Our wardrobe selections include Colors Of the Forest, A Hunter’s Garb, and Dusty Road Wanderer.

Step 2: Grow out your hair

Most of our past graduates adapt to the standard shoulder-length hair, which we recommend for its versatility. It’s long enough to catch the breeze while you sit majestically on your wilderness rock of choice, and it’s short enough to whip around just right in situations where dancing, spinning around in surprise, or hand-to-hand combat are required.

Step 3: Make sure you have adequate eye color

You’ll have to purchase your own contact lenses, but our prices are economical so you won’t have to use the last non-specified-currency coins from the pouch on your belt. As with our clothes department, our contact lens counter features an array of color choices. These include, but aren’t limited to, Emerald Green, Pools-of-Water Blue, Rich Mahogany Brown, and As-Black-as-Ebony Black. Each base color also comes with palette variations ranging from Deep to Sparkling.

Step 4: Invest in some recommended accessories

Now that you’ve completed your basic outfit and your rugged-yet-charming and/or graceful-yet-fierce appearances, we can move on to completing your look with some accessories. Should you plan on spending time adventuring outdoors, please consider our selection of flasks, weightless cooking supplies, hand-carved staffs, and lethal daggers. If you prefer to stay in town, however, you may be interested in our stealth-friendly tool belts, lock picks, just-quiet-enough grappling hooks, and lethal daggers. Not into adventuring? No problem! In the next aisle, you’ll find our embroidered handkerchiefs, leather-bound books, this-belonged-to-my-mother necklaces, and lethal daggers.

Step 5: Formulate a dietary plan

Now you look the part! Let’s get to work on your lifestyle changes. I see you’ve brought water and vegetables, but don’t worry, we won’t be needing those. There’s a Local Healer booth set up in the back; talk to any of our soothing female staff members and she’ll set you up with a new nutrition plan based on bread, cheese, mysterious chunky tavern-stew, and plenty of ale and mead. With our dietary plan, dehydration is a thing of the past!

Step 6: Learn the necessary survival skills

We know you want to start questing as soon as possible, so we’ve condensed our survival skill syllabus into a two-day crash course where you’ll learn to wield a sword, shoot a bow, ride a horse, and set rabbit traps from our team of bearded experts. However, if you present us with your certified Chosen One and/or Hero of Destiny I.D., you can take a brief placement test and skip the course altogether.

Step 7: Purchase an animal companion

Of course, all our students want horses, and we’re glad to provide you with a fine spirited stallion, or, alternatively, a stubborn-yet-loveable mare that’s too old to travel fast but fits your budget just right. However, please remember that most horse names have already been registered, and our last graduating student had to settle for Thunder_Stripes20387. We advise you consider our other available companion animals before making a hasty horse decision. We offer battle tigers and tamed wolves for our real gutsy adventurers, or, should you prefer the more cute-and-comical variant, we have injured birds of prey and a randomized forest rodent. Now, what color would you like your horse?

Step 8: Select a surviving family member

Unfortunately, our program doesn’t allow students to graduate so long as all their relatives are alive and well, so we’ll have to ask you to choose up to a maximum of three extended family members to move ahead with. For the sake of convenience, we recommend limiting yourself to siblings, wise and loving grandmothers, and/or shady aunts and uncles. When you’ve made your selection, please sign the Emotional Consequences Waiver form, which you collected at the start of the class.

Step 9: Reserve a room at the tavern/inn of your convenience

When you pass this class you’ll be enrolled in our extended learning abroad program, so make sure you choose a tavern that matches your preferences. This is the second form we gave you, the one on the faded parchment nailed to the door. Slots fill up quickly, so make sure you get your name on there right away so you don’t miss out on the isolated table in the corner, the one with the dim candle. You can still brood and ignore the noisy patrons from other tables, but it’s just not as fulfilling! We want you to have the most mysterious experience possible.

Step 10: Wait for your first quest

To complete the learning abroad program and receive your traditional written-in-the-ancient-language diploma, you’ll need to complete a quest. You’ll find a list of available quests towards the end of your syllabus, but you’ll need to wait for us to send our certified suspicious stranger to your designated location before embarking on the quest. If you head out on your own beforehand, the chances of encountering your assigned quest companions will be slim, and you will likely fail the final exam: our carefully curated sequence of incrementally-dangerous challenges which you cannot complete without courage, friendship, and at least one potential love interest.


We hope you’ve found our class instructional and inspiring. We look forward to seeing each of our students fulfill their destiny.