I thought I’d just continue talking about it.
Moreso, though, I wanted to start this off by how an idea can form. Now, for anyone out there who doesn’t know me, I’m not a tech-guru (although Savannah Jordan might disagree with me,) but I do love the idea of building your own world, being master of your own universe, and all that jazz.
For me, here’s how I do it, plain and simple, easy as pie. Well, maybe not easy as pie, simply because I can’t cook, but let’s not dwell on that. 🙂
I just ask a LOT of questions.
I start with the character. I break him or her down by physical appearance, mentality, and strengths. Let’s take Jasmine Storm, since, after all, Unified Souls just came out. She came to me in a flash — a badassed cyborg with white eyes. I knew from day one she had these white eyes, that she had implants running through her body, she worked as a bounty hunter, and that she was pretty deadly with a blaster.
Now, the next part of this character building was the following:
Why were her eyes white?
Why was she a cyborg, but not attached to any kind of collective of cyborgs?
Why was she deadly with a blaster?
How did she become a bounty hunter?
Then, I started answering the questions, and crafting a world around those answers. Now, if I answer all the questions up there, I’ll be giving away some of Unfied Souls’s plot, I won’t go there right now.
However, I can give you the answers that I worked out for one question.
Why was Jasmine Storm a cyborg, but not attached to any kind of collective of cyborgs?
Because the cyborgs destroyed each other when a virus entered their programming and turned them against one another. All the cyborgs were dead, and Jasmine Storm, like all cyborgs, had been programmed with a “self-preservation” mode that clicked “on” when the cyborgs were in danger, or cut off from the rest. Storm, having been flying a prototype starship at the time the viral annomoly was released, was not infected, and was able to flee the circumstances.
Now, from this point, I was able to build up the Cyborg Worlds, create a kind of “way of life,” and a point of origin of the viral attack. Which, of course, meant that the cyborgs had to have some kind of enemy.
So Who would that be? And Why? And I keep going and going and going in this manner, asking questions, wanting to know this detail or that, all of which made this character who she was.
I build my words out, depending on what the characters needed or had in the way of physical and mental attributes. Some worlds in my little galaxy that I constructed have greater detailing than others, and that’s okay. Because I haven’t been to those worlds yet, and I don’t know yet what’s on them. But when I get there, I’ll certainly detail that out as well.
Some people believe you have to build the world up first, then put the people on it. I say that it can work that way as well. In fact, one of the worlds that will be in the sequel to Unified Souls, I’m doing that very thing — building up the planet’s characteristics, and figuring out how the people learned to deal with such an environment.
The planet Varrium is a different kind of world, with a constantly shifting plates because of earthquakes. Why would people even try to live here? That was the first question I had, if the planet was that unstable, why would they bother living on it? So, I decided that the humans that initially inhabited Varrium were stranded, their generation space ship unable to fly anymore because it had just plum wore out.
Nevertheless, the colonists liked Varrium, simply because, even though the earthquakes were quite common, on the central parts of the continents, the ground was incredibly fertile, and they were able to grow a vast amount of food there. (Volcanic soil is some of the most fertile in the world, you know. 🙂 — I watch the Discovery Channel a lot.)
So, to deal with the earthquakes, over time, many different technologies were developed, including the most common on Varrium — floating cities. The cities there hover over the ground, so when the earthquakes come, the cities themselves are not damaged.
Also, such technology is widely used in the galaxy, and Varrium became the major distributor of such technology.
Boom, I have a planet, using roughly the same technique I did for developing Jasmine Storm.
I asked questions, every possible question I could think of. Then I pestered my husband. I would tell him what I’d developed, and he would ask me questions. The questions we didn’t have answers to, we would figure out.
That’s it, though. Questions. You gotta ask questions, and even if they seem stupid, or assinine to you, that doesn’t mean the answer will be. You can develope anything this way, really, whether you’re writing scifi, romance, westerns, horror, or mysteries.
It’s all about the questions!