By Valerie Routhieaux
Day 16: Environments
Welcome to today’s writing tips. Today’s tips come from the recent UntitledTown event held in Green Bay April 25th to 28th. I attended ten sessions and have a wealth of notes and information handouts. One such is on World-Building.
If you’ve ever read anything in the science fiction or fantasy genre or watched such movies as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, you were immediately immersed in a world unlike and like our own. One thing I keep running into as I research one of my favorite genres is that your world must look real to the characters and it will be real to you the reader. Orcs were known to every character in Middle Earth. Hobbits were three foot plus tall but not four feet. And Harry Potter was a wizard. Everybody knew it but him, but only wizards knew cars could fly.
So, how do you create a world you can take for granted? It depends on how involved your story is. My interest in science fiction began when Star Trek came on the scene, but I didn’t know it was science fiction back then. I only knew it was a good show with aliens who had a different skin color, and some of them had green blood and pointed ears.
I began writing science fiction approximately ten years ago. I have a few starts, one finished, and one almost finished novel I’m hoping to finish soon.
When world building you need to consider six different areas: Environment, Inhabitants, History, Religion, Magic, and Culture. Let’s look at Environment and in the coming days, I’ll look at the other elements of world-building or this would be a very long post.
When considering the environment of your planet you need to know if you’re on a different planet in a different galaxy or are on earth. If you’re on a different planet are you dealing with only that planet or is there a whole galaxy of planets, what are their names? How big is the planet in relationship to the earth? Size matters. What about gravity or the lack thereof? Are there other inhabitants? Are they indigenous to the planet or transplanted there from earth or elsewhere in the universe?
When I started naming planets and people in my New Horizons series, I found a wonderful site called fantasynamegenerators.com. With it, I was able to give names to aliens, planets, and cities. I created a whole universe separate from Earth. I was able to let my imagination run freely, but not so freely there weren’t any rules and laws the inhabitants needed to abide by.
If you are creating another planet or universe, don’t forget to create a map of your planet and universe. It will give your reader a point of reference as he or she begins to read and immerse into the world of your imagination. The environment is the life of the planet. Creating life in science fiction and making it real to your reader is exhilarating. As a writer, don’t forget to research. You can’t forget the simple laws of physics that govern everything. Even in science fiction, you need to present the facts. Do you read or write science fiction or fantasy? Thanks for reading.
Tomorrow’s Perspective: Inhabitants