Writing Other Worlds
By J. Scott Coatsworth
AS A writer, one of the best and worst things we do is worldbuilding – creating whole worlds for our readers out of thin air. It’s such an inspirational word for such a monumental task.
And it’s especially true for sci fi.
When I write contemporary stories, the worldbuilding has already been done for me. Sure, I may need to hop on google to find the information I need to flesh out my locations, or maybe drive to the scene of the crime, if that’s possible. But by and large, that information already exists out there somewhere. The places I write about exist, even if I shuffle things around a little.
But try writing a sci fi epic tale about a planet that’s been split in half. Where are you gonna find that online?
There’s physics to deal with, including gravitational aberrations and issues. There’s weird weather and alien plants and strange ruins, and all of this has to co-exist not in some easy to check website, but in my head.
The worlds from Skythane–Oberon and Titania–came to be over a years-long period of writing in fits and starts, going back and rewriting, and then rewriting some more, building up a picture of what these worlds were like in my writer imagination.
As the author, I have a responsibility to make sure what emerges in the end is a comprehensive and cohesive whole for you, the reader.
And so, I love worldbuilding. I loathe worldbuilding. But mostly, I need it. It’s one of the things that makes the writing come alive for you the reader, that gives you that “damn I’m right in the middle of the story” feeling that sci fi fans, perhaps more than most, value about their favorite fiction.
And isn’t that my job, in the end? To transport you to and immerse you in a world vastly different from your own?
My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!
J. Scott Coatsworth has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Anne Caine
Genre: Gay Sci Fi
JAMESON HAVERCAMP, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.
Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.
Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.