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…