Let’s Build a World

If you have been to a Build-A-Bear workshop, you know about the details that go in to creating something using available materials. You bring a basic plan then you add options that work for you. World Building is much like that.

My basic world is a dried-out husk, mostly desert and oceans, that used to be very lush and green. My story requires that a maverick scientist has created a domed farm and can grow just about anything hydroponically. He has cute, intelligent, furry critters that help him with the tasks. They look like someone combined a tiny monkey, a kitten, and a raccoon.

080617 desert

The desert lands have evolved a creature that is immense compared to humans and the machines they use to harvest the last shreds of minerals from the sand. The huge creatures are called Dust Devils because they move in circles while sucking up grubs from the sand. If you ever played with a Spirograph, you will understand what I mean when I say the circle they walk in travels slightly with each round.

080617 spiro circles

My heroine on this planet started out as one of the drivers of the harvesting machines, but it seemed unrealistic to a few readers that she would become so attached to the devils. Instead, she now is a scientist specializing in the fauna left on this planet.

I’m a combination of pantser and plotter. I can often get a running start on a story without know where it’s going. I found that really didn’t work with this planet. I needed to know, not only where we were going, but what had happened on the planet, why it was a husk, why the corporation harvesting on it still had major issues if anyone tried to find out what happened, and why no one really knew about the dome farm.

080617 dome farm

I love the information on Fandelyon on this subject. But one quote says that you don’t need to do as much research as you think you do to start. Well, I got a third of the way through the story, even submitted it to FF&P’s annual contest, and most of the comments on it have been that the world is not as real as it should be. It is to me, for sure. But of course, I need to go back and figure out how the planet changed from normal to a desert. I blame the big corporation that owns the planet.

080617 harvesting

The Invisible Author suggests that climate would impact evolution and has 15 points to consider while building a culture. My furry helpers at the dome farm are natives that left the planet but now want it back. The rebel farmer smuggled them in to help him and them.


080617 needs an eye patch
Not exactly the Rebel I’m looking for.


As you see, my story is science fiction, not fantasy. Thus I need space ships and space stations and lots of that type of technology. Kingdom Pen points out that just as all magic has a price, all technology has limits. Very interesting input, but as the site’s name suggestions, there’s a religious overtone here. Take what you need and ignore what you don’t. Be nice if you leave a comment.

080617 spacestation

My rebel farmer might actually turn out to be the leader of a whole resistance movement, but I need to think about that. The Quite Writer’s Desk has excellent information in three parts on the subject.

080617 atat oilrigs

(The Dust Devils look kind of like oil rigs, kind of like AT-ATs from Star Wars, but with long necks, so they can suck up the dust and consume grubs.)

I think I have all the tools I need now to improve this story and build this world. Hannah Heath has more insight on writing sci-fi, and Now Novel lists 43 must visit web sites for writers of sci-fi. To warm up for your Great American Sci-Fi Novel, pick a prompt from Justin McLachlan and have fun.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.


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