Building a World for a Novel – Part 21
New to this project: Start with Part 1
Part 21: What do the people look like?
Take a look at the title of this post. What do the people look LIKE? If you’ve read Uphill Writing for any length of time, you’ve heard me go on and on about the dichotomy between a thing being like what we know and truly alien.
The people of your world may look like Terrestrial humans, or a variation of them. In fact, that is the most common way aliens are depicted in literature and movies. Why? Because it is hard to become emotionally attached to a creature with two heads, three arms and six legs. A creature that borders on what we think of as a monster is just too hard to “cozy up to”.
As the writer, the local god, you get to make all the decision about your world, but remembering the “sell out” rule that your aliens must be enough like people we know for our audience, our readers, to identify with, is essential.
Sell out rule? OK, yeah, it is a sell out, after a fashion. There is no reason in the Universe that sentient races on other worlds should look, sound or act anything like Earthlings. You need to balance a desire to be original with your reader’s ability to “get it” in your work.
No kidding. This is one tough decision.
Sorry, folks. Ball’s in your court on this one.
Continued in Part 22