Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Photo from the Jackson Gallery, shared on Facebook by Alice Orr

The above bit of art amply illustrates how I feel when I see a manuscript full of easily fixed mistakes, which any second reading would have caught, but the author just didn't give a @#$%.

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Welcome to the final segment of my series on World Building. 

So far we've created climate, cultures, governments, religions & traditions, and begun to build the many smaller details needed to let your readers share a world that is only in your imagination. Today, the many more details needed to paint the right picture.

Planets, Cities & Palaces. You may, or may not, need more than one planet in your story. In Blue Moon Rising I needed a whole slew of different places. Regulon-held planets, neutral planets, lawless planets. And each planet needed a major city or focal point. They ranged from the vast capital city of Titan on the planet Regula to a tavern on fun-loving Tatarus. I also ended up with three palaces, one each on Regula, Psyclid, and Blue Moon. Whatever you write, you need anchors, places your characters can call their own. Or places that represent goals they have yet to meet.  Never fail to establish a base for your important characters. 

Places & Other Peoples. In Rebel Princess, my heroine lives four years in the intensely solitary confinement of something called the Regulon Interplanetary Archives, a place that almost becomes a character in its own right. Many other places needed names as well: Nebulon Sector, Sebi Desert, Azulian Sea. And then there were those pesky aliens, foreign to both Regulons and Psyclids: the Nyx, Pybbites, Herculons, and Zylons. And never forget: when you invent a new word or phrase, write it down!

Transportation. Some things don't have to be different. (Most readers don't really want to learn to speak Klingon, just a few words here and there!) In addition to making something up out of thin air, you can stick to words most people will recognize, such as: hovercar, hovercycle, groundcar, tran (transport van). But if you don't make up at least a few names that are a bit exotic, readers are likely to go, "Ho-hum."  

Food & Drink. A few special names, particularly for various liquors, seemed essential for Blue Moon Rising. Well, perhaps not essential, but they felt right. For example, I enjoyed creating a blue liqueur called Lunelle, made only on Blue Moon.

Plants & Animals. From the Moonflower on Blue Moon (source of Lunelle) to a snake called the krall, to something called a fireflicker, I created a touch of the exotic for the non-two-legged creatures in Rebel Princess and Sorcerer's Bride. As long as you don't overdo it, these are just more of the many colorful details that turn your book from ordinary to special.

Epithets, Profanity & Expressions. This category was, perhaps, the most fun. Not wanting to offend with "Earth" profanity, I had a whale of a time creating words unique to the cultures of Regula and Pysclid. (With Psyclids occasionally stealing Reg profanity, as their own is so mild in comparison.) So far, both books are liberally sprinkled with words like: Pok, Dimi, Fyd, Fizzet & Fizzeting, as well as expressions such as "Altairian bottomfeeder," "Sirian slime snake," and the "Green Hells of Tantalus." All in good fun, I hope. (In spite of those contest judges who thought they were "typos"!)

And, of course, the General Vocabulary just grew and grew. From chrono and crystos, dushani and enlasé to plasti, meshug, portapad, ridó, and veriball. And, no, if I hadn't written down all three pages of them, I never would have been able to reproduce them here - or in Blue Moon Rising

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Summary. What's that expression? The secret's in the details. Well, it certainly is when writing. Even more so when building a world from scratch. First, you paint the broad canvas, and then you start filling in the rest, pretty much in order of importance: main characters, secondary characters, their special gifts. Then layer in all the details of their world(s), the special things that spark the imagination. Consider every aspect of your worlds. Make the details believable. Make them shine in your readers' minds. Almost nothing is impossible if you present it in a plausible manner. Even a world where the peace-lovers finally band together and use the powers of their very special minds to get rid of those big, bad bosses from Regula Prime. 

Thanks for stopping by.


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft & Rayne Lord, click here.

For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here. 



  1. Very nice and detailed series of blog posts. I like the swear words. Did you include a glossary in the back of your books? And was it the same for each book or did it grow with each book?

  2. Thanks, Linda. No, I didn't include a glossary. Perhaps we should consider that when we get to edits. Although the glossary grew with each book, most of it was established in Book 1. Book 3 will include a heroine from a third race, however, so I may have to come up with a few words of Herculon! Thanks for commenting.