Thursday, 12 April 2012

Worldbuilding for Refugees on Urloon by Melisse Aires

Lyrical Press

Thanks for hosting me, Pippa! You're welcome, thanks for stopping by. :)

My new release, Refugees on Urloon, is a sci-fi romance set on an exotic waterworld planet. In this far future setting, Terran descendants have adapted themselves to life on a planet with no large land masses and many small islands. Their adaption has changed their DNA so Urloon native are born with the gills, fins and other changes that make life underwater possible and safe.

In the initial stages of worldbuilding I made some assumptions--assumptions I will probably make in every world building task---Humans are eminently adaptable. They adapt themselves to harsh environments, which is why there are small cities all over Eastern Montana,  with it's frigid winters, rough topography and alkaline water. Likewise, there are humans living deep in rain forests. Humans, determined to live there, figured out how to do it.

I'm a visual writer, I see pictures in my mind. So as I start a new project I look for graphics to put in my file, pictures that invoke something of what I see internally, or pictures that inspire. I usually look at celebrity pictures because it is easy to find several facial expressions of the same person. For geographic graphics, I search wallpaper sites and graphic artist sites for fantasy and scifi pictures. I use a writing software program called Scrivener, which has a virtual corkboard for graphics and notes. I write on a split screen, with the corkboard always at hand.

Here are some pictures from my Refugees On Urloon file:

Liam and Svana

I keep world building notes on the corkboard, also. Some things I researched: dolphins, whales, biodomes, Norwegian fjords, coral reefs. krakens, giant eels, prehistoric water animals.

Then there are things I didn't have to research much--because I had experience in my real life. Jakkon, the Wilder leader/villian  has characteristics of a cult leader--hubby and I actually met in a cult as young adults in our hippy-dippy days! It wasn't as dangerous, but it was still nuts. Afterward we wondered how we ever went along with some of the wacked beliefs, and learned that cognitive 'stop thought' techniques are taught in such groups to prevent members from questioning, to just accept cognitive dissonance. Some of that colors Refugees' villain.

Blurb and Excerpt Link

Refugees On Urloon can be purchased in the usual formats on
and Fictionwise

Also--check my BLOG for Contest Drawing info!


  1. WOW - I didn't expect the cult background bit (I've had a specific interest in cults over the years). Great that you can use those experiences constructively in your writing. Scrivener sounds like an interesting tool. Though I do have MS OneNote, which can fill a similar function. I'm definitely going to look this one up :-)

  2. Haha, yes, Laurel neither of us like authoritarian situations much after that...

    I think there are similar functions between Scrivener and One Note. Scrivener has a lot of functions I don't use,but I like it for my world building and rough drafts. After the rough draft I copy into Word to format and edit for submission. I have my auto-corrects etc all set in Word and have never attempted to set up in Scrivener.

    Email me or message me any time if you want to pick my brain about the cult.

  3. Ooh, cool background, Melisse! And thanks for sharing some of your visual inspirations :) It's fun to hear some of that from authors!

    BTW, couldn't find your post on Heidi's blog yesterday--maybe I wasn't looking in the right place?

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  4. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing your life, your thoughts, and your pics.

  5. Great post and congratulations on your new release, Melisse. The comments on the cult... wow! What a background. Scrivener sounds well worth looking into.

  6. Did I say I love Urloon? Well I'll say it again, I love this book! Wonderful inspiration here.

  7. Thanks for visiting, Melisse, and sharing your images and inspirations! :)


I always love to hear your thoughts.