“Did that skull plate just cough?” A Silly Explanation Behind My Silly World Building

The construction of a new universe goes as far as the creator’s imagination. That will be the only genuine thing I say throughout this entire post. Okay, maybe not since world building requires some actual thought and rule setting. When Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings he obviously took some liberties with Norse mythology and made his own unique world. Does that mean that all worlds that are constructed from the inner thoughts of a writer not original?

The answer to that is not as clean cut as one would imagine. However for simplicity sake, I’d like to say that is false. What a writer does with their own material and how they leave their mark on it is how influence turns into originality.

The Necropolis Corporation was always intended to be this multi-layered business conglomerate with different tiers of corporate management. There are the Gate Inspectors who keep track of who gets sent to certain standard housing or prison domains. The Radiant Consultants decide what people are allowed passage into the the angelic yet mysterious place called the Uppercore. Lastly there are the Chasm Brokers, who deal with gritty and serious matters in the Undercore.

The Trolley-Coaster started out as a simple trolley that operated similarly to the cable car system in San Francisco. However I wanted to showcase the chaotic engineering behind the city and its massive structures. So I thought; what better way to show this than to attach a giant trolley to a rail system. All of the flair comes from the antiques, the skull plate, and the conductor of that silly contraption. And that to me is where the charm comes in, because otherwise it would just be a ridiculous trolley that swings around the city like a roller coaster.

The infrastructure behind the central Necropolis Corp. building and the way domains are constructed are tonally opposite in terms of contrast. Necropolis Corporation was practically polished to perfection with how much each section is dedicated to their respected job fields. While Domain 224 was about the incompetence behind someone who had similar power, but was too inept to use it.

A lot of my inspiration for how I introduce a world comes from not just societies uprising, but their follies and how they recuperate. It would be fun to see a fantastical city brimming with crystal-like skyscrapers, rolling street tunnels, and flying bikes everywhere. But how did it get there, what is the cost of such an advanced society, and was there an economic downfall in the past, present, or future? Admittedly this took a rather straightforward turn here, but it’s also a necessary for making a living and breathing world.

The fun comes in when you have such a detailed world that seems familiar, and yet hijinks ensue due to the naivety of characters that matter to the plot. Or maybe it’s background world building to distract the reader from the cold harsh reality that our main characters are living in. Not that every post-apocalypse story should constantly have moments of someone mentioning a mutant octopus juggling car parts in front of a pair starving wanderers. However if you find that a scene seems too weary with its tone, add a couple of subtle human moments with background characters who are just being themselves.

I lean a lot into humor with my writing when I can, but there are times where I delve into the imperfections of the human mind. World building isn’t just about creating something from scratch, it’s also about the levity of human nature that we bring to this world. There is obviously more than what I talked about, but I’ll save that for another time. Also the clownfish in the spa tub? That’s a secret…

‘The Quietus Breaker: Brother Death’ is now on sale over at Amazon + More!

If you’re looking for a book that can deliver a humorous yet surreal journey through the eyes of a quick-witted young woman who loves raspberry filled graham crackers, then check out ‘The Quietus Breaker: Brother Death.’ The first volume is currently available on Amazon through Kindle/e-book format. Other plans to expand to other services will be announced when ready. The book can also be lent out to a friend or family member for 14 days free of charge on Kindle.

Here’s the description:

Joanna Collins is ready to clock out of her abysmal night shift at a rundown retail store in Colorado, however she instead checks her life out by the hands of a cloaked stranger. After a vivid reawakening, Joanna finds herself in a dark grove and learns about a business conglomerate referred to as the Necropolis Corporation. A crisis has occurred at the front doorsteps of the company and Joanna gets sent to a place called Domain 224, receiving a bizarre watch with untapped potential in the process. Trapped in a city with almost zero population and a mystical watch at her disposal, Joanna must figure out what morbid secrets lie in this abandoned concrete carnival. As well as discovering her true self in this first installment of a three part trilogy.

I will also be updating this blog with updates pertaining to the series, future installments, and explaining just how much I prefer crustless bread over crusted bread. Oh, and all the details along with background work that went into ‘Brother Death.’ It’s mostly going to be about sandwiches though, don’t worry.

The Deathly First Phase of Crafting ‘Brother Death’

There’s no easy way for me to explain the process for constructing the entire universe of my first book. I had the foolish aspirations of thinking, “Well, the Statue of Liberty was no easy feat to make. So why not go back to basics and make a smaller one, but this time out of blueberry muffins and creamers!” It’s silly, foolish, and in no way was going to require much work. Boy was I wrong about that last part.

This story initially had the intent to be more in line of a Douglas Adams book. Early stages of the draft were mostly set up for gags and ridiculous set pieces. Although I became aware early on that the story had no sense of progression and just seemed more like a roller-coaster of action sequences (totally the opposite of what I had wanted). Once I realized what I was doing I then trashed what I had worked on. Having a basis is important, however if that basis is what’s preventing you from evolving as a writer then it’s time to destroy that blueberry muffin made Statue of Liberty!
Don’t do that, because you never want to waste a good blueberry muffin.

My ideas became less aligned to what I adored as a fan, and more in line with my own vision. I let my imagination run wild as I spent time jotting down what I personally wanted to see. That is why one of the first characters that Joanna runs into is a talking Catfish living inside a glass man’s body. A good portion of my characters and world building were a result of my desire to see something ‘weird’ or ‘different’ than what you normally read in a traditional fantasy book. Not just their design, behavior and mannerisms had to be on point as well.

I only necessarily held back when it came to the plot and character motivations. Balancing a character like Joanna was tricky since she could easily be more of an exaggerated caricature than an actual fleshed out character. My rule was that if the reader cannot relate to Joanna to a certain extent then she falls apart completely. The events of ‘Brother Death’ transpire through Joanna’s thoughts as she is recounting this story. So I had to build this fine line between Joanna’s lively personality and her sarcastic quippy side.

The length of the book was a big determining factor to how comedic it should be versus how much it should emphasize on character drama. I still made a focus on trying to inject humor and lighthearted antics into the story because…well, death. The dark undertones were still there, but with a good dose of humor it was at least something easier to swallow than just making the characters wallow every page.

There was obviously more to the process than what was listed. However the important steps were that the characters were expressive in both design/character, the main character was captivating but not too annoying, and that there wasn’t a stark divide between the humor and character development. Ultimately this culminated into me internally saying, “Just make the characters good.” That astoundingly simple point became an important aspect of my overall plan for rebuilding the book from the ground up. I’d say that beats my original blueberry muffin disaster, but it would never sadly be just as delectably edible.