Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tips for a Young Writer - "There are two Moons in the Sky!"

One thing that both amuses and irritates me is when a fantasy or sci-fi author makes a "unique" world ... by adding a second moon ... or making it flat ... and then having this change have absolutely NO effect on how people live their lives!

Granted, many changes would be small - but there would be some changes! 

Please note that I am not against messing with the natural scheme of things. In my story documents and notebooks, I have:

1. A flat world (more than one, actually)
2. A world that exists within a book
3. A world with two moons (there may be more than one of these as well)
4. A world with two suns (whose paths are in ninety degree angles to each other)
5. A cylindrical world
6. And I have an inverted sphere world running around in my head as well ... though it hasn't been given a name.
7. I'm sure I have other interesting ideas floating around in my brain, but I'm not locating them at the moment.

So I consider myself quite the expert when it comes to this sort of thing.

(cough cough)

So, how would the list that I have listed above make for changes from the daily life we know and love? Let's examine.

1. A flat world.

People used to think that the world was flat, so investigating the changes this would cause is actually easy. Just research the reasons that Columbus and all of them thought that the world was round, and then inverse them. For instance on earth, shadows change angle and length depending on how far away you are from the equator. A flat world wouldn't do this (or, leastways, the angle change would be different). Also, our possession of a horizon is because the earth curves away from us. On a flat world, we could see for miles and miles and miles, without things disappearing off the edge of the world (unless of course, it falls off of the edge of the world) This would be especially noticeable at sea, where everything is flat, and you can see for miles anyways. Also, a flat world would probably not have a waxing/waning moon - unless it is truly being eaten by a dragon or something ...

2. A world in a book.

See above. I have some interesting little quirks that accompany those changes, but I'm not giving  them out here.

3. Two Moons

A two (or more) moon world seems to be the most prevalent among fantasy/sci-fi. The reason for this, I believe, is that it's an easy way to say "Hey, you just landed in a new world! Welcome to Dolllaraiia!" (I just typed random letters there - so don't get any ideas ... although ... hmm ... I do have that one world that needed a name .... hmmm ...) Anyways, I have noticed that when people toss in an extra moon, they often don't even ever mention it again. If they do, it's usually only to make mention of an extra (or double) full moon.

This is, again, an issue of researching what our moon does for us. For instance, our moon controls the tides. If your world has two (or more) moons and the tides function normally, I'm going to laugh. And laugh. And laugh. So please, if you're not willing to go through all the mathematics and stuff, don't even think about sending them to sea. (unless the sea is no larger than the  Mediterranean where the tides don't occur) Same goes for if you make your moon(s) larger or smaller than our own. Also, another change that is more cultural. We get our months from our moon. If there are two moons, how would the calendar be affected? Would one moon control, say, religious ceremonies, while the other was more agriculture? This is something you need to think about!

4. A world with two suns (whose paths are in ninety degree angles to each other)

My mother thought of this world, actually, though she hadn't thought through all the ramifacations. I have since decided that this is obviously a geocentric world, so I'll discuss that instead.

In a geocentric world, everything (moons, suns, planets and stars) would orbit the "Earth." In this sort of world, there would probably be no waxing or waning (unless, again, it was being eaten by a dragon) and, if your character hails from earth, they'd probably fall over on their face when they arrive, as they are used to the incredible speed at which the earth travels.

5. A cylindrical world

This would be a combination of a flat world (when you look north or south) and the round world (when you look east or west. Not that complicated, no? Of course, you would also have determine how the moon/stars/sun work for your world (which is something I truly only have a hazy idea about ... hmmm ... I need ideas) and stuff like that.

6. And I have an inverted sphere world running around in my head as well ... though it hasn't been given a name.

If you lived inside a hollow sphere, you could actually see farther than if you lived on a flat world because of the curvature bringing more things closer to you. Of course, you'd also have the issue of where the light comes from. Perhaps the moon and sun are actually one and the same - and it just gets brighter then dimmer as the day progresses. Perhaps stars are actually the tiny lights that the inhabitants of the opposite side of the sphere are using at night (campfires, lanterns, bonfires ... you name it!) Perhaps the light in the center repels things, which is why everything stays on the ground. Perhaps, at night, when the light is dimmer, things are lighter, because less light means less "gravity."

I love world building. I love reading about new and unusual worlds that others have built. However, even if you are breaking every rule that our world has, you still need to take human perception into concideration.

Yes, I think too hard.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear about all of ya'lls crazy world ideas!


  1. World building is so much fun! Though, I noticed that I tend to play with the politics of my worlds more than the geography and all that. I'm not that big on science. :)

    A moon for religion and a moon for agriculture? Haha!! That's epic!

    Ooh, I never thought of an inverted sphere... hmm... that definitely sounds interesting.

    1. I've always enjoyed the technicalities of science. I love building up politics, too, but I've always enjoyed the challenge of building a world from the ground up and making it work.

      And I'm glad you like my moons idea and my inverted sphere. I forget when the inverted sphere first came to me, but it's been rattling around in there a while ... I need to give it a book.

  2. This is cool.
    I can't quite get my head around whether the earth spinning actually has an effect on us or not, but that's certainly something Id' never thought of. And now I'm having this odd feeling as if I'm moving at high speed, though I'm actually sitting still. Thanks Kendra.

  3. I am writing (off and on) a modern portal story where these nine kids get pitchforked into another world where they wind up being adopted by the President of a country very similar to the US. I know they have 28 hours days, but I also want them to have 3 moons. I just haven't figured out how the moons will have to work.


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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