World Building with Pippa Jay.

nice strawberry lady

Tuesday Treat.

Hi, I’m Pippa Jay, author of SciFi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Daisy invited me over to do a post on world building, and I just couldn’t say no!

You are very welcome, Pippa.

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World building has to be my favorite part of writing. I love it—delusions of grandeur and all that. Where else can you have the ultimate power of creation and total control? Bwahahaaa! But it’s not all about creating planets or starships as you might think of a SciFi author (or magical realms or fictional towns when straying into other genres). Sometimes it’s the little things that can tell you so much more about the world a character inhabits. For example, I’m currently editing a SciFi romance called Tethered for release with Breathless Press. My heroine is a cloned, succubi-like assassin forced to impersonate one of her kin. She’s thrust into a world somewhat at odds to her own, to live and work with humans whom she normally hunts, and to act as a diplomat. We learn that she likes a particular kind of music—rhythmic trance—and though we don’t know what it sounds like exactly, we can imagine from the name, and from the way she describes the pulsing tones as she dances to them. Relationships between humans are dictated by the Rules of Decorum (they must dress a certain way, both sides must give permission before kissing for example), something my heroine struggles to follow. We learn her genetic alterations mean that her kind never smell bad or require the scent enhancers humans need to use—the futuristic equivalent of deodorant and perfume.

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The same goes for the first YA paranormal I have coming out soon. Although it’s set in present day and in a real place, I still needed to create a believable world for my characters. My imaginary Louisiana town is based on the real life Arnaudville, though I’ve rechristened it and changed names and facts. I’ve used Google maps to ‘stroll’ around the town, watched videos of the Louisiana swamps and wildlife, and read up on the culture, language, events, religion and history. While I might have more solid information about my setting than say an imaginary alien planet, to me it requires just as much, if not more research to make it realistic, and as much effort to build the setting as anything I write. And again, the details make all the differences. Using Cajun phrases, and the sound of local wildlife in the background. The weird paraphernalia my male MC notices around the house of the voodoo queen they visit. The kind of cars that are common, and the style of houses. Again, it’s all the little things that count as much as the bigger picture.
Have you ever noticed the little details in a story and had them stick with you?


A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.
Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the SFR Brigade, a community of science fiction romance authors and publishing professionals committed to writing and promoting the very best in the genre. Not sure if science fiction romance is for you? Check out Tales from the SFR Brigade, a FREE digital anthology of eight out-of-this-world stories HERE.

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9 thoughts on “World Building with Pippa Jay.

  1. Hi, lovely ladies!

    Thank you so much for the interesting post Pippa. I absolutely dread world-building, but I’ve before thought of going on a power trip about it. This may actually work for me! 🙂

    • I missed a “never” in there somewhere. I’ve never before thought of viewing it as a power trip. God, I’m making no sense today!

  2. Hi, Ladies! Pippa, I LOVE the details of world-building. It’s awesome to be able to have that ability as a writer (basically the power of creation) and control all of the elements that effect the characters in a novel. I do agree that it’s often the little details that stick with you and can really call a book to mind. I remember reading a historical romance set in Russia during the time of the Czars twenty-odd-some years ago. To this day that book remains one of my favorites because the author was to draw me into a world I knew nothing about with her marvelous details. I’ve had the same experience with fantasy novels (the Coldfire Trilogy) and Sci-fi (Alas Babylon) . . . books that stick with me long after I’ve read them.
    BTW, love the idea of Rules of Decorum!

    • Thanks Mae! Yeah, I can remember things from various Anne McCaffrey books that stuck with me, like food from The Crystal Singer and soap sand from the dragon books. Lol, the Rules were a lot of fun to play with.

  3. Hi Daisy and Pippa Jay,

    Pippa, just hopped over to your Pinterest page to look at your covers. Very nice. I like how you’re mixing sci-fi with romance. I used to read a lot of romance, but mainly read paranormal mysteries now. My first book ever was a sci-fi romance. Pretty bad writing, but I still like the characters. Mary E. Merrell

    • Thanks Mary! Sorry you had a bad experience with your first SciFi romance read in terms of the writing. I’m hoping you’ll find the genre better represented now if you ever feel tempted to try another. 🙂

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