fbpx J Bennett Builds a World…Or Might Die Trying

J Bennett Builds a World…Or Might Die Trying

[Sad author update: Sleeping Beauty, the manuscript alluded to in this blog is still slumbering on. In spite of lots of work, the story never came together, at least not to my liking. I’m committed to only giving you, the reader, the best stories I can write, so Sleeping Beauty won’t be waking up anytime soon. The silver lining, however, is that a lot of what I learned about world building for that project, I applied to the world of THE HENCHMAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE, so as you read this post, know that it all (mostly) worked out in the end.]

So, I’m writing this new novel. No, it’s not ready yet. Sorry ‘bout that. Thing is, it’s some pretty slow going. I really wanted to challenge myself with this WIP (Work In Progress). The book doesn’t have a name yet, so let’s call her Sleeping Beauty.

The challenge is that Sleeping Beauty has a bit of science fiction going on and a bit of fantasy as well. (Yeah, I’m a whole lot of excited about this, too.) It takes place on a totally different planet, and the people on the planet have been doing their own thing, evolving, creating traditions, making up their own looney sports for over a hundred years. Basically, I’ve also got to create an entire planet and all the people on it!

Enter The Planet Construction Kit

It’d be so awesome if there were some kind of manual to create your own planet. Fortunately, my fairy godmother was good to me. She built a time machine (she’s handy like that), went back in time, and convinced a guy named Mark Rosenfelder to just such a manual. And just to make sure I wouldn’t miss it, she somehow convinced him to name his book, The Planet Construction Kit(Let’s not ask what my fairy godmother had to do to get that favor.)

Planet Construction Kit by Mark Rosenfelder

This book is awesome!

To put it simply, this book is awesome. Rosenfelder is basically the smartest person in the universe. Need to know how two suns would affect a planet? He’s on it. Want to know everything there is to know about making fabrics? He’s got your back. Need to create a whole new language? Well, he actually wrote a whole separate book about that!

In some regards, The Planet Construction Kit is a little overwhelming. There’s just so much here, but Mark’s true genius, I think, is that he forces writers (along with video game developers, conworlders, and D&D Dungeon Masters) to recognize that everything on a planet is interlinked. A planet’s environment is going to affect what foods the people eat, what clothes they wear, and even their attitudes. A society will likely develop a completely different hierarchy and belief system based on if resources are rare versus abundant.

In turn, a society’s social mores will affect what people do, how they act towards one another, and how they evolve as a society. We are all products of our society one way or another (whether we reject normal social mores, embrace them, or seek to change them). Every person is also a product of their own history and so is a society. American culture is still affected by our Protestant roots and by our fight for Independence from Britain. We still also struggle with the implications of how we treated African Americans and Native Americans in the past. Our past illuminates our present.

A fantasy planet is no different. Its people will have a history. That history will affect their current condition. That current condition will play a role in the perspectives and motivations of every character.

Trying to Make Sense of It All

It’s a lot to think about, and it’s one of the reasons I’m plodding so slowly on writing Sleeping Beauty. I want to build my planet the right way, with lots of rich history. I need to take time to learn about the agriculture for the different kingdoms, the leadership structure of their societies, their wealth, their morality. Then I need to figure out how it affects all the characters.

I’ve never done anything remotely like this before. Both of my previous series, Girl With Broken Wings and The Vampire’s Housekeeper Chronicles, layered a slightly altered reality on top of our own. I didn’t have to stretch my imagination very far; certainly not to the extent that Sleeping Beauty is asking for.

It’s a big challenge, and truthfully, I’m intimidated by it. That’s a good thing. I’m of the mind that if you aren’t at least a little scared of your next big project, then it’s probably not big enough. Sure, this book might go down in flames, but I’m willing to risk it to try and be a better writer and to give you an awesome, unique story that will be worth the wait.

Thanks for your (forced) patience!

Comments are closed.

Deidre


Age: 24
Occupation: Housekeeper to Nathaniel Hayward
Hobbies: Playing the cello

About: Deidre may not be a particularly good housekeeper, have a lot of natural talents or ever be able to tame her frizzy red hair, but what she lacks in life skills she makes up for in perseverance.  She needs a lot of it as she dodges the practical jokes of the haunted mansion's two resident poltergeists, makes sure The Thing In The Basement has fresh cow heads to munch on, and puts up with her cranky boss Nathaniel who is libel to drain whoever knocks on his door (usually Mormons) if she doesn't watch him.

×

Nathaniel


Age: 266
Occupation: Vampire of leisure
Hobbies: Cleaning musket, reading biographies, watching I Dream of Jeannie, campaigning for Dwight D. Eisenhower

About: Nathaniel doesn't understand why everyone gets so uppity about newfangled fads like the telephone and horseless carriage. He also doesn't approve of the loose today's loose social morals, what with women walking around wearing pants and making it to age 20 without at least one child on their hip. This isn't what Nathaniel fought in the Revolutionary War for (only at night). The worst of the lot is his housekeeper, Deidre, a bitter old maid who insists he stop sucking the life blood from the Mormons who knock on his door and can't even get prune juice stains out of his kerchiefs.

×

Dex


Age: Unknown
Occupation: Conveyor of Extreme Emotions
Hobbies: Guiding unwilling individuals to the conclusion that true fear resides in the devastation we bring to our planet and to our society.

About: Dex is dedicated to transcending the poltergeist stereotype by delving deeper into the nature of fear and showing his unwilling victims that our own reality is what truly deserves our fear and notice. He accomplishes this by through artistic haunting - murals, dioramas and even living projects (which tend to scurry away and end up jumping out at Deidre from the kitchen cabinets). Dex is a ghost with a cause, and he won't rest in peace until you've heard it.

×

Sloppy Joe


Age: Unknown
Occupation: Scary-ass Poltergeist
Hobbies: Making Girl Scouts piss their skirts

About: Sloppy Joe grew up on the mean streets of Zanesville, Ohio  where he was pursuing a career as the world's latest and greatest skinny white rapper when he met his untimely death. Nathaniel's mansion is his first official haunted residence. He's still getting used to his powers, but that doesn't stop him from trying to make Deidre's life hell and demonstrate that death doesn't keep down a brother from Zanesville.

×

Silas


Age: 79
Occupation: Retire factory worker/part-time vampire hunter
Hobbies: Collecting lawn gnomes, killing vampires

About: Silas was all set to marry his high-school sweetheart in the 1950s until she came home one day a couple of shades paler and with some dental enhancements. After staking his fiancé, Silas vowed to  kill the vampire who had turned her. This led to a 50-year stint as a part-time vampire hunter  and eventually brought Silas to Nathaniel's door. With his fanny pack filled with stakes, Silas is ready to avenge his long lost love.

×

Silvia


Age: Claims to be 45
Occupation: Between jobs
Hobbies: Bingo, shopping on QVC, flirting

About: Silvia is proof that some gold diggers never stop digging. When she sets her sights on Nathaniel, she's not worried about his fangs as long as his bank account is just as sharp. Not one to put all her eggs in one basket, Silvia also treats Henrick the werefrog to a little of her wrinkly good stuff. Sure, the extra long tongue is a bit of a turnoff, but she just saw the cutest pair of heels on QVC. No time for scruples when there's sexy footwear on the line.

×

Henrick


Age: Unknown
Occupation: Insect control
Hobbies: Taking a snack break at the dumpsters behind the nearest buffet (he only comes for the flies)

About: Henrick is an obese werefrog who was quite the monster back in his day. Now, confined to an electronic scooter, his terrorizing the human populace days are well behind him...unless something really gets him riled up.

×

Drew


Age: 25
Occupation: Assistant shift manager at Arbys
Hobbies: Rooting for the Browns, playing Xbox

About: Drew just wants to be your everyday slacker jock. He's got the good looks, nowhere job and deep thought avoidance radar that would make him the perfect addition to any state college frat keggar. Unfortunately, a small genetic inheritance keeps getting in his way, as Deidre learns first hand. Even the knowledge of Drew's dark secret can't douse the flames of Deidre's crush though she knows that the handsome jock never falls for the chubby nerd...or does he?

×

The Thing in the Basement


Age: Unknown
Occupation: Vortex of destruction
Hobbies: Anything that involves mayhem

About: The Thing In The Basement shall not be spoken of.

×