As a writer, I get the awesome job of creating brand new worlds. Creatures of any type, characters with whatever personality I choose to give them, vast universes full of teeming life. Today I’m VERY excited to host Raphyel Jordan in a piece about world building.
Raphyel Montez Jordan grew up in a household sensitive to the creative arts. As a child, his hobbies were drawing favourite cartoon and video game characters while making illustrated stories. This passion for art never left and followed him all the way up to his high school and college years. When he was 19, he started writing a novel for fun, taking inspiration from the constant exposure of different ideas and cultures that college showed him. He eventually made it a goal to have the story published after he graduated, and dubbed the goal “Operation Prosia,” the very same project that would develop into his first published book, “Prossia.”
You know what? The real world’s boring. I mean, seriously. Look outside. Did you just see a dragon or UFO fly by? No? Then I rest my case. And if you said yes. . . maybe it’s time to talk to a professional.
One of the reasons why we’re seeing sci-fi and fantasy films strike it big in the box office is because people love being able to get lost in a world beyond imagination. It’s our natural human nature. Classical stories like Homer’s epic poem, “Iliad,” centuries beyond centuries old, is a strong evident to that statement.
Human beings love to imagine the what-if scenario. What if there was magic? What if I had superpowers? What if aliens actually did exist? With those small sentences, with those few words, galactic governments have been put on the brink of peril, wars between elves and goblins have been raged, adventures that have challenged the test of time have been born, and that was exactly how “Prossia” was created.
After having a basis for the story in mind, I asked myself, “What if I wrote a story about aliens?” Sure, that’s simple enough, but that thought would branch off into more avenues and streams.
* What if they lived on a single planet?
* What if it was an entire solar system?
* What if the aliens were spread across an entire galaxy?
* What if there weren’t any even humans around, like so many other stories?
Did you see what happened? Did you see that snowball-turned-avalanche coming down the mountain? When I asked myself if my story was going to be about aliens, I was already challenging myself to explain why these people’s world was the way it was, without even realizing it.
And granted, universes aren’t made over night, so creating the Prossia Universe has been a very long process. The other challenge of the universe comes from the fact that this is indeed a science fiction story. Meaning, I can’t just say something is the way it is by magic. This genre requires a little fact, as much as feasible. So, when I made my main character, Aly, come from people who had infrared vision, had super reflexes and agility, and could form energy out of their hands, I actually had to explain that Aly has infrared vision because it helps her see approaching threats. I have a separate file listing the anatomy of my aliens, from what type of cartilage and muscle tissue would be possible for Goolians to move the way they do, to the extrasensory perceptions they have when it comes to their ability of using fusion to create a ball of plasma.
And that only covers one of the current nine races! What about the other aliens and their designs? I wanted them to look a certain way, but there had to be a reason why. Humans and other animals look the way they look due to Earth’s size, its closeness to the sun, the ecosystems it has, and tons, I MEAN TONS, of other factors. So, it’s only natural other life-forms would evolve to fit their environments as well. That is, after all, one of the key functions of life. Seriously, look at how diverse the biology on our very own little rock is.
So, more questions:
If we must adapt to our surroundings, what if I make aliens that can adapt to their surroundings through an advanced acclimation process? If that were the case, wouldn’t that mean what took us millions of years to do capable of being done much sooner? And how much sooner am I talking? Am I still talking millions of years, or just a few thousand?
And still, the questions continue, and guess what else, so does the world I find myself lost in. Maybe some people would think such world building is just wayyyy too much trouble. I, on the other hand, think it’s totally awesome. Being an artist and a writer, I like being able to create, so what’s cooler than creating an entire galaxy!?
To think that I studied Civilization, Psychology, Ethics and Values, Biology and Ecology just so I could have some ideas for Prossia’s Universe. Now, I’m not saying that’s what all writers should do in order to build their worlds. I was just fortunate enough to be in my college years while I was writing “Prossia,” and I needed to fill in some class electives. :P To me, researching is good, and the deeper I go into a universe, the better. Still, in the end, none of this could’ve happened if I asked the one thing that humans love to ask. “What if–” . Why don’t you ask the same question? Who knows what wonders you’ll bring.
I have to say a massive thank you to Raphyel for sharing his post and fantastic artwork us. If you want to find out more, then here’s a few links:
FINALLY, if that wasn’t enough there are also some goodies to win with a Rafflecopter giveaway. There’s FORTY (yes, 4 – 0) paperbacks up for grabs, as well as some Prossia merchandise AND a $25 Amazon gift card so it’s WELL worth entering.