Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Big Bang

I had the extreme pleasure of presenting a workshop with some of the other outstanding authors on this blog and my part of it was on world building which I thought I share here today.

How to build a Universe.
Keep is simple. You do not want to spend the entire book explaining things.

Stargazer: page 181\
He slid the canvas away and ducked as a squeal and the slapping of skin came toward his head.
“Worrats,” he spat out in disgust. “They always stay away from the lighted areas.”

Without describing the “Worrats” you know what they are. Just add a few words here and there, enough to make it “sound” futuristic.

Shooting Star: page 132

Everything was so primitive. There wasn’t a piece of pexi or tunstun in sight.

Where does your story take place? On a planet? On a ship? Set the scene
Stargazer: the planet Oasis: page 56
They soon came out of the darkness of space and into the clear blue skies of Oaisis. Shaun found a set of eye shields; the air was so clean that it made the color more intense, and his eyes were still not accustomed to the brightness. They were soon flying over fields that were abundant with crops. The landscape was a myriad of bright color as the greens and golds of grains contrasted sharply with the pinks, purples, and reds of fields of flowers. In the distance glittered what looked like a huge diamond. It turned out to be a city of pure white granite that rose up from the landscape as if it had been carved from a mountain. It was surrounded by lush gardens full of flowers of every possible color, which stood out in sharp contrast against the pure whiteness of the walls of the city.
“We use every part of our planet; nothing goes to waste,” Lilly said, proud of her homeland.

Shooting Star: the planet Lavign: page 120
His door was one of three that led off the big room. There was a door in the middle of one wall that led outside. All he saw beyond it was green.
“This way,” Boone said and turned Ruben toward the back of the house. They made their way into another room where Tess was standing over a stove that had to be older than time. He saw flames shimmering beneath a pot that she stirred.
“Where am I?” he said again as he hobbled through with Boone and Ky’s help towards another door. “What is this place?”
They walked out onto a covered porch and he saw a garden, a large tower with metal blades slapping around in the breeze and some other buildings that he did not have the time or inclination to figure out at the moment.
Boone pointed to a narrow shack at the end of a trail of smooth stones.
“The necessary,” he announced.
Ruben quirked an eyebrow as they hobbled down the path. As he opened the door his nostrils were assaulted with a horrible smell and he realized that there was nothing there beyond a hole in the ground and a wooden seat. The bright sunlight that streamed though two cuts in the exterior wall did nothing to cheer up the interior.
“When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go,” he told himself as he stood before the hole.
It wasn’t until he saw that the fluid coming out of him was bright blue that he realized he was in trouble.

What do your cars look like? Your ships? Firefly used space ships and horses. Once again there is no need for indepth description unless you character is just arriving to your invented world

Food Sources
Grown normally? In space on giant asteroids? Manufactured in a factory?

Social Status
Royalty? Slavery? Just a regular guy? Outlaw? What are the crimes and the penalties?

I created The Murlacca…A gladiator type battle fought with hooked blades. The champions are treated like the athletes of today but it also used as execution for political prisoners. If you feel the need to explain the rules of the game have one of your viewers be witnessing it for the first time while the companion explains it.

That’s where you can really have fun. My teenagers in Star Shadows use Gank for Nerd, Geek, Jerk. Just make something up and slip it into the conversation as you would a current word. The readers will figure it out.

This is where it can get complicated. All worlds have some sort of political structure. This is where notes come in handy. If you’re writing a series then maintain continuity. My Star series has three political factions struggling for control.

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