Building a World – #Balticon Panels

The panelists for this were Joy Ward, Michael Underwood, Don Sakers, T Campbell, and JL Gribble

What Do You Find Most Writers Forget?

  • Geography (T Campbell)
  • Planets are big and not all just one climate (Don Sakers)
  • What’s outside the focus of the setting  (Michael Underwood)
  • Doing their research (Joy Ward)

What Cultural Blind Spots Have You Noticed?

  • What do you eat on an alien planet?
  • Klingon meter maid – who does everything else if it’s a warrior race?
  • Making unique people WITHIN a species/race, rather than the exception to the species/race
  • Do more than ‘warrior race’, ‘science race’, ‘ice planet’, ‘jungle planet’. Species and Planets are huge!
  • Economics!
  • Try to make sure you know how they handle Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs (which Maslov hated and came up with just before a lecture)
  • Interpret things based on your culture’s society, NOT the writer’s personal culture. Study History to see how cultures other than yours did things.

Suggested Fiction

  • “To Hell And Back” – About an autistic hero and flips a lot of related tropes.*

Craziest Experience : Done for Research or That Got Worked Into Your Writing

  • JL visited the Parisian Catacombs.
  • Michael spent a semester at sea- hitting 10 countries, including the Viet Cong tunnels. “The world can be your library.”
  • T Campbell was walking home at 3am, from college in Savannah and someone ran at him. He ran the 2 miles home and heard someone shout, “Hey!” Looking about for the accomplice, he spies a neighbor, sitting on their porch, just hanging out. “You’re dumb for being out at this hour!” They shouted, tossing something at him. T caught it without thinking and looked down. It was a can of mace.
  • Joy Ward met an animal translator and her skepticism got talked away. Now, she’s (with the help of the translator) interviewed almost everything from elephants to hissing cockroaches. (Everything but seals.)
  • Don learned NOT to ask a hospital records staff how to illegally access 20 year-old records. (After asking at four different facilities…)

Other posts I’ve done on World Building Panels:

*Not sure who the author is. Looks like might have been refering to: The Damned Busters: To Hell and Back by Matthew Hughes

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