In any genre, the world our characters inhabit add a richness to our stories. In contemporary stories, we can visit the world, or perhaps we live in a similar village, town, or city. In science fiction, we have all kinds of possibilities. We can decide everything about our world. The type of government that rules, religion, vehicles, food, creatures, climate, employment, day-to-day activities. The galaxy is our playground.
Our methods of determining our worlds are as diverse as our writing methods. Those writers who are plotters will set up their world first. Just as they outline their plot and do detailed analyses of their characters, they will write out all aspects of their world before ever writing a word of their story.
Pantsers have a different way of setting up their worlds. Since I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, I determine my world as I go. As with any details, I must keep track, especially if I’m writing a series. As the series progresses, my imaginary world expands. I may start out with a vague idea of the culture, but I’ll keep adding details as the story demands. I’m sure to a dyed-in-the-wool plotter my methods seem haphazard or random. But it works for me.
Whether your world evolves along with your characters or is fully fleshed out before you write “Chapter One,” make sure you are consistent. Decide the rules. Make sure your characters abide by those rules or have a darn good reason for breaking them.
In my upcoming science fiction romance, The Protector, I already established the culture in two previous books—a central government with representatives from several planets and that area beyond the reach of that government, the Outer Rim. I modeled my world after the frontier in 19th century America. The colonies are still pretty wild with people who want to get away from the “civilized” world and want to be left alone. Then I threw in a gangster who capitalizes on the lack of law enforcement. The conflict possibilities are endless. In each of my Outer Rim novels, a strong woman foils the gangster’s plot to rule the galaxy.
Here’s the blurb for The Protector:
After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from raiding the frontier colony. She’s met with apathy and disbelief. Because she lost her own baby to traffickers, she’s determined that no other mother will suffer the same heartache. Industrialist heir Dillan Rusteran aids her in rescuing more children. Little do they know they’re about to tangle with a trafficking ring that puts Rissa in danger. Dillan’s loved her for ten years despite her claim she’s too old for him. As they fight the traffickers, will she finally see him in a new light?
The Protector will be released this summer.
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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Note: The views expressed are solely those of the author, Diane Burton, and not the SFR Brigade.