Tuesday, 27 March 2012


I love worldbuilding.

I love it in all its forms - I love brainstorming the first ideas (should it be a desert world? What colour is the sky? Is there magic?), I love researching all the relevant information (no, seriously, I enjoy reading about the process of making table-salt, really), I love tinkering with every single imaginable thing about an imaginary world.

I think worldbuilding might be the greatest joy and strength of speculative fiction.

... Which is probably why I do so much of it. I tend to dig pretty deep, and get stuck in the most unlikely of places.

The Moonface tribe began as a brainless doodle while I was having a slow day - I just put pencil to paper and let it run away with me. What came out was a squint-eyed axolotl-looking creature. They'd show up in the background in future chapters of my fanzine, Fathoms of the Sky, I decided. And then I resolved not to think about them any more.

But my brain does not work that way. I kept coming back to those little albino lizards, and kept tugging at the little details - and now I've got the beginnings of not only a people, but a culture and a religion.

The marks on their foreheads are echoes of the phases of the moon - and those phases are important to their culture. Their religion is based around them, and the advocates of said religion are known as Speakers for the Moon - astronomer-priests. The full moon and the black, empty moon are two sides of the same coin, and its Speakers constantly in conflict. The Speakers for the White Moon are not morally good, nor are the Speakers for the Black Moon morally evil - I didn't want it to be that simple. Instead, they represent two ways of looking at the world, both with their benefits and their drawbacks, and the Moonface Tribe is split more or less down the middle in two camps, each following one side of the religion.

And voilá, I had not just some lizard-people populating the backgrounds of my comic panels, but a whole race of people with the potential for dozens of comics all by themselves. They even come with their own built-in conflict!

Thankfully, they aren't demanding that much space in Fathoms, or I'd never get it done.

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