I have really grown to love worldbuilding. It really started as I read DC Comics and thrilled to the notion of parallel worlds and over at Marvel, they were constructing a shared universe that allowed new and interesting things to happen on a regular basis. As I began working in comics, it’s ironic that my first assignment was to help destroy worlds in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Since then, I have contributed to the rebuilding of the DC Universe and have since contributed to the growing Star Trek literary universe and other media tie-in works. It, of course, led to Mike Friedman, Peter David, and I building a millennia-spanning history for the After Earth universe.
All of that has stood me well for when I helped create an original shared universe in Crazy 8 Press’ ReDeus. That’s a place that is still growing and evolving as you will see in coming months.
In the meantime, it’s been interesting to toil in someone else’s original shared universe. Mike had an idea and fanned it into the flame that we now know as Pangaea. He crafted a bible that gave us the broadest strokes of the world, ostensibly to free us to explore and have some fun.
When I sat down to write my contribution to the anthology, I thought it would be fairly easy. It’s Earth after all. As I transitioned from an outline to a story, I discovered that it may be called Earth but it was not the one I lived in. Governments and borders were different, technology was unlike the world of 2014, and the values and beliefs of the people were forged in vastly different ways.
Human nature, though, that remains unchanged.
When you boil it down, this is a story about a boy and a girl and the world they live in. Once I realized that, I could exhale and focus on their relationship. As I got into that, the rest of the world began to take focus, some of the bible’s elements allowed me to sharpen characterization and reflect a similar but not exact replica of Earth.
As always, it comes down to character.