As a romantic suspense author, inventing a world comes naturally for me. A sinister house. A potential storm. Let nature and the environment portray an element of suspense. Maybe your last trip to Maine can guide you, or your last walk along a shell-encrusted shore. But, I have a confession. I have never traveled deep into space (although some will strongly argue that I act awfully spacey at times!) So when it came to writing BEYOND and BEYOND: TWO SUNS, how did I invent a world? Well, there is a lot of coffee involved. Caffeine is an excellent source of world-building. Let's start out with the woods on the back of Aimee Patterson's property. I envisioned the forests portrayed so hauntingly by the Brothers Grimm--the lairs of Red Riding Hood, and Hanzel and Gretel. Aimee had to breech a barricade that severed all sunlight to enter a realm she had always sought to avoid. Have you ever traveled past your comfort zone into that thicket of trees that scared you as a child?
Then, once in space, I had to tackle the Guardian ship, Horus. I could probably post a thousand fictional spaceship pictures here from Star Trek, Star Wars, etc., but none connected with what was in my head. I pictured BIG. The Horus, to me looked like a floating city with little suburbs attached to it as feet. LOL
In BEYOND, Aimee gets to visit another planet. Bordran is a lush world, filled with the dense foliage of a rain forest, where clouds cling to the ground like a blanket of cotton. Ahhh, the liberties of a fictional writer. I needed to create Bordran's indigenous creatures.
As Aimee herself described, she was waiting for the purple cyclops to emerge from the trees. But no, instead, imagine a sinister Jolly Green Giant. I know that's hard to do considering he's so jolly. The creatures of Bordran were much more hard-core than the happy guy you see here. They had tree roots winding up their body, and black, lifeless eyes--definitely not an image you'd want stamped on your frozen vegetables.
And then there is JOH. Many science fiction plots contain a computer that has a life of its own. Some go rogue, some are female companions to lonely space fighters...but JOH, JOH is like the most intelligent, attentive talking puppy you will ever meet. And what does he look like? Well, I'll be honest, I envisioned a crystallized Cookie Monster face. Hey, it's my world and I wanted a crystal cookie monster who could spout out every useless fact about the galaxies. :)
Just when you're thinking that BEYOND is set in a near-droll environment, I introduce the Jay-nine satellite. If you have not read BEYOND, I don't want to divulge much about the Jay-nine, but suffice to say, it's NOT a place you want to visit. Picture a tall hotel lobby, but unlike the one you see here, imagine black marble walls and sinister, spiked balconies...and haunted faces. Definitely haunted faces.
Anyway, building a world isn't always easy, but with fiction you have the power and tools to construct many wonders.
If you could build a world, what one thing would you want to include?