Blogger Tips and TricksLatest Tips And TricksBlogger Tricks

Friday, June 19, 2009

Detailed Cartography: Badon Heights

Badon Heights
     Badon Heights became an extension of Fairhaven as Belport became an attraction to the wealthy, who would come with their yachts and enjoy the weather and access to the ocean. Badon Heights is often seen as very exclusive, and non-luxury cars are rarely seen driving through there. Badon Heights got its name from Nicholas Badon, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who donated heavily to the city. Originally the area was just his estate, north of Fairhaven. However, more people began to follow his example and build their houses in the "Heights" outside of town. Things continued to escalate with wealthier and larger estates for quite some time, and then the citizens there fell victim to some crime as enterprising thieves moved up and began to prey on the wealthy. The response was to form a town, but Badon would not consider a town separate from Belport, and used his connections to have the city annex the area, and extend the city's resources north, though supplemented with a large trust fund for "the establishment and security of the area known as the Heights."
     While not a separate town, residents within the area of Badon Heights pay significantly higher taxes for public works, which helps keep the area pristine and secure. Badon Heights has many docks and ports for private ships, many of them yachts. Badon Heights also has a private ferry service—both a fast catamaran style ferry and a hydrofoil—out to the Bel Vista Islands, which are considered part of the Heights.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Detailed Cartography: Sibley Park

Sibley Park
     Not long after the completion of City Center, Harlin Sibley, the grandson of Harold Sibley, willed his property to Belport on the condition it be made into a park for the people of Belport to enjoy. The land remained untouched, though, until after World War II when plans for the park could be made and realized. The park is open t the public, though its location is easier for those in Fairhaven, City Center, and Badon Heights to enjoy. The park is marked by a twenty foot tall statue of Harold Sibley not far from the park's entrance.

Detailed Cartography: Midtown

City Center or Midtown
     City Center sprang up between Fairhaven and Meriville, the two towns that first consolidated into the city of Belport. Neither town could agree on a name, and so the new name of Belport was chosen to placate the citizens of both towns. The new downtown became the financial center of the city, laying claim to the first high rises. Though it had nothing as fancy as the Empire State Building, the Horiwitz Tower first defined the Belport skyline. Other, less impressive buildings rose up, creating a dense downtown financial district on par with any modern city. Unlike the other parts of the city, City Center is laid out in an exact grid. City Center stretches from Meriville to Fairhaven, now, and ends at University Square.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Detailed Cartography: The Grind

The Grind
     The Grind sprang up in the vacant area between Meridian and Sherwood and Dante during the Great Depression. The displaced people set up shanties in the area, and tried, many times futilely, to find day work in the towns. The name Grind came into being because the people felt that they were being ground down. When Fairhaven and Meridian formed Belport, the new construction of the City Center created enough jobs for the displaced people to work. The shanties soon became more permanent structures, and the Grind started building itself at a pace that matched City Center, even if on a less grandiose scale. The Grind became the main source of workforce to both Dante and Shoreward, and became a semi-industrialized area, though the area had no kind of government, and fell outside of all the jurisdiction of the existing towns. The Grind quickly became the worst area to be associated with for its rampant crime. Since no one would go inside of it, it became a haven for drug dealers, mafia, prostitutes, gangs, and all other manner of disreputable figures.
     After World War II came the incorporation of Shoreward, Dante, and the Grind into Belport. For years afterward, the Grind continued to be a neighborhood that people would go out of their way to avoid. Attempts at regulating the area mostly failed so that police in the Grind either turned a blind eye or were a part of the problem. It wasn't until Mitch Harrison, a city councilman and former DA, led a strong push to reform the Grind after it began to encroach on Meriville. The encroachment itself wasn't necessarily the problem, but Merivillers, seeing how close the Grind was and how bad their neighborhoods were becoming, would relocate to other, safer areas. The turning point for the Grind was when eight people were massacred at a local restaurant. This polarized the city and Harrison won the bid for mayor and began massive reform initiatives, tripling the police presence in the Grind and reversing much of the damage done. Efforts were made to revitalize the area to restore it to Meriville, but Meridian Street, which had once served as the center of town, had become Meriville's southern border, and no amount of revitalization changed that. The revitalization was successful in curbing the criminal activity in the Grind. It is still not the safest place to be at night, and known for its roughness, but the most hardened activity belongs to Dante and Shoreward, now.
     The Grind is considered the heart of Belport's night life. It has more nightclubs and bars per block than the rest of Belport combined. The semi-industrial nature of the Grind appeals to younger people, and so many college students, both from Belport College and DeGradi University, frequent its nightclubs and parties, and even raves in its infrequent warehouses. The Meriville side of the Grind—AKA the Upper Grind—being the entire area of what was formerly Meriville, from Meridian Street down to Townsend Avenue—the old border of Meridian—the Grind is more trendy than dangerous. The roots of Meriville's quirky artistic side reside there and there are art studios, coffee shops, and even the occasional gallery, though more than a few of these have been repurposed into night clubs and bars.
     The Lower Grind, at the borders of Shoreward and Dante's Forge, is the last remnant of the original Grind. In these places it is nearly unchanged from its original, criminal roots, but the surrounding areas of Shoreward and Dante have become so bad as to match it, making it indistinct, now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Detailed Cartography: Shadow Valley

Shadow Valley
     Shadow Valley, as it is now called, stretches from the hills to Mt. Kelly's western slopes and Shadow Lake. It wasn't until the discovery of iron ore in Mt. Kelly that the place came into existence as a mining community. Most of the miners turned out to be Chinese, Japanese, and Russian immigrants, who, after working on the rails, settled into the area to work the mine. During the Depression, more immigrants, mostly European from the East Coast, filed in to find work and a life. The immigrants had no fear of hard work and plunged into the hazardous mine. Unfortunately, the vein of ore slowed and dwindled to nothing, but the people stayed in the area as their own little community. Many of the immigrants went to help with the construction of Belport's City Center, while still others found some work in the factories and foundries of Dante's Forge.
     Even though they worked in other areas of the city, they always returned to Shadow Valley since they had adapted the area to look like their homelands, each nationality shaping their neighborhoods after their homes, complete with architecture, dress, and food. Shadow Valley holds to very old ways of doing things. Some of them even hold to the old superstitions, and say that the reason they settled in Shadow Valley was because of Mt. Kelly, and some power it has. For the most part the people of Shadow Valley keep to themselves and prefer it that way.
     Recently, with the fall of communism, there has been an influx of organized crime into the area, and so many people find that just one more reason to stay out of Shadow Valley, though it's said that the valley's shadow stretches well into the city.

Detailed Cartography: University Square

University Square
     It didn't take long for DeGradi University to generate its own neighborhood. At first it was built outside of Fairhaven, but an influx of students created a need for goods and services close at hand, and so it grew. The name came into being when Meridian and Fairhaven officially formed the city of Belport, including DeGradi University into its city limits, and the square, which it wasn't, around it.
     DeGradi University is a private school, and considered to be one of the nation's better schools. While not Ivy League, it boasts an impressive curriculum, and commands prestige.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Detailed Cartography: Dante's Forge

Dante's Forge
     The town of Dante was established by Adrian Dante after the logging around Sherwood began to diminish. Its location around Swift Creek and the Rush made for strategic locations to send the logs to the sawmills, most of which belonged to Dante—the logging company was also named after him. From there the logs could be sent down the Rush or "Shoreward." Logging was more controlled in Dante than Sherwood had been, mostly due to smaller demand since other great logging cities had saturated the need. Still, Dante grew for quite some time in all directions until it could no longer grow west for having run into Sherwood. For a long time the two towns were equitable neighbors, and the border between them somewhat fluid and they decided to form a cooperative that linked them together, but less formally than the one that would join Faihaven and Meridian in a few years. Dante was nearly wiped out during the Depression, and many of its citizens became homeless, scratching out survival on the outskirts of the town, which eventually became known as the Grind.
     The discovery of iron ore in Mt. Kelly helped the town stay alive, and they quickly converted many of the unused sawmills into steel mills and refineries to process the raw ore that was brought down the Rush. The demand for steel was so great for the new skyscrapers in Belport's City Center that the mills and refineries ran all night long, casting a glow into the sky and making people think it was a different Dante who had founded the town. The new plants caused so much noise that some people began to refer to it as a forge for the constant ringing of metal on metal, and the name stuck. Dante's Forge quickly became the heart of industry in the region.
     During World War II, much of Dante's factories shifted to wartime production. During this time, the banks of Belport's City Center made sure everything was in order so the wartime effort continued unabated, and all decided that oversight would go more smoothly if Dante were made part of Belport. Since Dante and Shoreward were already, informally, knit together, and Shoreward had all the warehouses for the wartime production, it was agreed that both places, and the space between them, known as the Grind, should be formally made part of Belport. The area is called Dante, Dante's Forge, or even just the Forge interchangeably. Some have suggested that the neighborhoods along the border of the Grind and Dante's Forge be called the Vestibule. Others extend this to where Dante borders with any other area. With the decline of the factories, many neighborhoods were simply left to fend for themselves. Homelessness has risen back up—though nowhere near what Depression-era rates were—and crime has increased so that Dante—and Shoreward—match the old Grind for criminal activity. Over time, the border between Dante and Shoreward has shifted back and forth. With the decline of factories and improved shipping methods, Shoreward has started to encroach into the Forge, where previously Dante had invaded into Shoreward.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Detailed Cartography: Meriville


     Despite being founded many years after Fairhaven, the two towns were often thought of as being twins. Meridian was established because many of the loggers in Sherwood thought Fairhaven was too far away, especially since they would have to be up early and back to work. Meridian initially was nothing more than a few inns and taverns that were more respectable than those in Sherwood, but more convenient and cheaper than those in Fairhaven. Gradually, much of what Fairhaven had to offer became available in Meridian. Fairhaven's decline was Meridian's gain as the town became the focus for those living in Sherwood and Dante. It began to handle the banking and other needs of those people, at least until the Depression.
     The Great Depression virtually destroyed Meridian. With the collapse of banks and the joblessness, the very livelihood of Meridian dropped out, rendering many homeless. Many of the homeless and jobless ended up living outside the city, forming a shanty town with those from Sherwood and Dante. So many of the people were affected by the Depression that many began to refer to Meridian as a hooverville, or Meriville.
     To save the town, Meridian's mayor and council spoke with Fairhaven. They decided to incorporate into one city, which would help create new jobs and spur on growth. Soon Meridian became part of Belport, but its Depression era name stuck, turning it into the neighborhood of Meriville.
     Meriville is often thought of in the same way as New York's Greenwich Village with its quirky artists and odd way of doing things. The Grind became a permanent structure south of Meriville, but as time went on, Meridian Street, which used to mark the center of town, became its southern border as the Grind encroached.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Detailed Cartography: Shoreward


     Sherwood was the original logging port town near the forest and handled most of the original logging that took place until all the coastal wood had been harvested. Adrian Dante saw the end of the logging in Sherwood, and moved on east to the junction of Swift Creek and the Rush, where he set up new mills and a new town. The loggers found it easier to use Swift Creek and the Rush to get their wood to the sawmills and transport them, especially after the rails came to the city. Sherwood, having lost most of its woods to logging, gradually became slanged into "shoreward" as the direction where the shore lay.
     Sherwood''s economy shifted to fishing, and it would have completely collapsed with the establishment of Dante and the onset of the Depression if not for the success of the fishermen. Early on, a processing plant established on Carlyle Island saw to it that there would be a steady supply of fish, crab, and shellfish to the town, and local fisherman frequently would come back with their catches of the day to sell to citizens. The town's name of Sherwood gradually became corrupted by both the fishing industry as well as the logging, referring to it as "Shoreward" for the direction it lay instead of its proper name. The new name eventually stuck, since the wood around the town had completely been cleared. Shoreward later became the location of all of the dock warehouses, a natural fit because of its location, so old mills leftover from the logging days would be converted or demolished and rebuilt into warehouses to serve the docks and to store the logs and wood products that came from Dante.
     World War II saw Shoreward's warehouses full with military equipment, and this would be the last time that all of the warehouses were used. Rapid industrialization and faster shipping methods led to many of the warehouses becoming vacant. Today, many of these old, abandoned warehouses become the location of raves, or attract criminals who use them as storehouses for their goods, creating a lawlessness unseen since the Grind, pre-massacre.

Monday, June 1, 2009

May Wrap-up 2009

     Well, another month down, and my walkabout '09 finished. I always intended to make a post about how I was skipping town, but never had time or net access for long enough to even do it. The month ended like it started despite the traveling difficulties, and I managed a healthy mix of writing with editing Vampire Shadows. I actually managed to finish going through the entire book, too, so there is accomplishment there. Halloween Scourge is still progressing, but at a somewhat more methodical pace. There are heavy police elements in this one, so I need to go through procedures, detail crime scenes, and, well, sometimes it flows well, and other times it is tedium.
     On Walkabout I managed quite a few interesting ideas to aid my stories, including things to flesh out Belport, and elements to include plot-wise, as well. I even purchased a painting from a street vendor in NYC that inspired an entire chapter that will appear in Halloween Scourge, which helps exemplify an interesting twist in the relationship of Matt and Nikki. This just goes to show that the five words are still in effect, no matter the source of inspiration. I ended up purchasing the art, and will hopefully frame it soon.
     With the semester ended, I'm going to make a push to get a query letter done and attempt to solicit some agents. I'm also going to go through Blood and Stones one more time to see if there's anything else that needs to be done. If I plan this right, perhaps I can get myself an agent and Matt Allen will make an appearance on the shelves in the relatively near future. Until then, here are my charts for May.

1001 Nights (4) Abraham (11) Adonis (4) Aphrodite (18) Apocalypse (6) Apollo (5) Arabian (4) Ares (2) Artemis (5) Arthur (12) Athena (7) Bard (1) Ben Slater (13) Bible (88) Boxing Day (6) Celtic (2) Character File (2) Chinese (1) Christian (6) Christmas (1) Conferences (30) creation myths (15) Criminalelement (11) Dark Business (61) Dark Winds (22) Demeter (10) Diomedes (6) Don Iverson (4) Eden (5) Enchanter (16) essay (9) Exploding Storm Rider Mystery (1) F3 (632) (2) Fairhaven Club (6) Fairy Tales (20) Family (2) Flood Myth (8) Flynn (84) Greek (96) Greeks (1) Guest (1) Hades (10) Halloween Fall Formal (6) Hercules (9) Hestia (2) Hindu (2) History Prof (22) Holiday (12) Holiday Myths (6) Incan (1) Iranian (2) Jacob (13) Japanese (1) Job (21) Joseph (18) Judges (12) Knowledge Myths (3) Levite (12) Library (8) Life (123) Love Gods (4) M3 (253) (1) map (13) Matt Allen (268) Medieval (7) Metamyth (5) Misc Flash (36) Mom (1) monthly chart (21) Movies (6) Myth Law (2) Myth Media (4) NaNoWriMo (22) Noah (5) noir (9) Noir Tales (1) Norse (10) Odyssey (8) Persephone (15) Perseus (14) Persian (1) Poseidon (1) Prometheus (8) publishing (24) ramble (113) Red Riding Hood (6) Review (1) Sam Faraday (53) Samson (14) Santa's Helper (3) Scavenger Hunt (20) Sci Fi (15) science (1) Serial (84) short story (14) Spotlight (8) Storm Riders (139) Teaching (136) Tech (18) Transformation (5) Travel (27) TV (10) TV Myth (1) Underworld (6) Unhappily (2) Vacation (15) vampires (18) W3 (11) WIP (20) Writing (166) Writing Tools (16) Zeus (21)