So recently I uploaded a podcast talking about how I worldbuild and the differences between my methods for my first book – Hybrid, vs the book idea that came after – Wings.
Which can be summarised by saying that I did almost no building ahead of time for Hybrid and discovered everything as I wrote. I did, however, draw a map – which will be featured in the book when I publish. It is by no means professional, but it does show the idea of my world that I have. Beyond that, I knew next to nothing for almost the entire book. The description in the book is all that I had in real life, it’s all in there… This is not a good place to start.
Contrastingly for Wings, I did a whole helluva lot of building before continuing past the 6k mark in the book. (When my ideas come I have to write, write, write before anything else so the idea sticks.) What I did was look at the world I wanted -post-apocalyptic and ask why? Because of a war. Why? Because Humans suck. Why? Because they couldn’t control their own creation. Why? Because they tried to subjugate a new species/race all because it was different. Why? Because Humans hate difference. It is what helped them survive for so long – unfortunately. I kept asking why to each answer and came out with a fairly solid idea of my world.
So that is my trick; asking why. I already knew what that new race/species was gonna be: people with wings. Why? Because they were f*cking with the genetics of people to create super soldiers and they decided flight is the one thing that has been denied to us without the aid of a machine. So they created people with wings by using introgression and hybridising the species. (Yeah I like hybrids… I wonder why…) This is where the why ended for this train of thought and the true building began. I had to look at the details surrounding the species and figure out how. I go into more detail in the book, explaining the war, the growth cycles, how they fly. I worked out how they could breathe and communicate in the sky, where the air is thinner. After the book is released I will likely go into more detail and post about the lore and the specifics, but I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone so I’ll shut up now =)
Instead, I thought I would do a little bit of worldbuilding here in the post. I have a vague idea of a place in Hybrid that I want to develop. I have a group of underground dwellers (let’s call them M collectively), who rely on magically lighting the caverns. I want to figure out why they live there, how they get their food, fresh air etc. So here goes… this is all new to my mind, with nothing thought out before hand. *crosses heart and holds out pinky* Pinky promise.
Okay so why live underground? Because they’re being persecuted by the Elves and Humans. They are too different, they don’t blend. Why? spoilers =P But why underground? Living there offers them protection and a controlled, safe environment. They can monitor all entrances to their dwelling, glamorising them to confuse intruders. How do they get food, water and fresh air? Food they gain from fishing and small gardening sections. They use the natural water system running under the earth to keep their crops happy and their own brand of magic to provide the sunlight and warmth for the food to grow. Think like a greenhouse with no windows. There would be dedicated M looking after each of the sections. Air is fairly easy. Their caverns all have natural vents to the outside world, allowing for air exchange, they also require less oxygen than the average being I think. M have special requirements… spoilers 😛 Water.. well I already answered that: it naturally runs underground doesn’t it. They built their homes around it.
What to their homes look like? Does the water run through them all? or are they separate? Definitely, runs through them. Like having a bath in your living room. Those special requirements. The main communal area also has massive pools of water that is that perfect temperature thanks to the controlled environment. People congregate in them, its a great hangout zone to relax with your friends. Each M will have their own role, normally passed through families as that is the easiest way to manage it. Some M can transfer through to different areas if they choose, but most don’t.
I might end the build there, I think that gives you a nice little glimpse into my methods =) Remember worldbuilding isn’t just about the physical, it’s about culture and life. There is a reason for every little thing that happens in your world, and your job is to figure it out as best you can and make up the rest.