How refreshing to get back to interesting writing information!
Module 10 of my course was all about science fiction and fantasy writing, and focused a lot on world building and making it believable. This module was interesting to me because several of my stories have fallen into this genre, and I’ve always been concerned that my worlds, names, and alien characters are not quite up to snuff.
One of the first things to think about when writing in these genres is names–for worlds, for species, plants. The course authors suggest blending words together or using a misspelling that makes an easily-pronounceable name. Myself, I have used either words from other languages that mean something significant, or slap together some letters that make something that, I think, people can pronounce without needing a glossary for the words and names. For science fiction stories, its a little easier, I think. Stars are often named after mythical characters or creatures with a few numbers tacked on, so that is an easy pattern to follow.
I liked that the course authors pointed out that certain geographical features, such as mountains, swamps and caves, occur only by specific processes, or need specific conditions to endure, so there needs to be thought put into that before scattering such features across your map.
Also necessary to consider is the habitat required for non-human predators. The example they use is carnivorous predators that would require plenty of herbivore prey, which in turn would require plenty of vegetation to live off of. It’s these little things that make it believable. I think it’s an unconscious thing, because I never really think about it, unless something is missing.
Creating a world needs perhaps as much time and effort as plotting in order to make it realistic and believable. I think this is one area where I could put a little more effort in. I’ve never really planned out my worlds or species before, mostly I just make them up as I go along. I’m interested to review some of my past work, with this in mind, and pinpoint specific areas where I can improve and grow my skills, because this really is one of my favorite genres, both to read and to write.