World Building

The New Human Intercession
My 'other planet' series has three books in the current series, with 6 books planned as a prequel.
Human Touch is the story of a man who is a cloned human on another planet, Delmorna. Cyrus Durant is assigned to be a Paid Male, a temporary companion, to Isbel Kensington, a woman whose research into ancient diseases has uncovered a secret that might topple the government – which is run by Isbel’s devious sister Dru.
The second book, Living Proof, follows Dru as she uncovers further proof of a devastating past on their planet. That discovery throws her into the path of Jak Exo, a charismatic man who leads her into passion, duplicity, and a future that might put the entire planet in jeopardy. 

The final book, Leap of Faith, has Dru trying to save a hidden race of humans, stabilize the government, and avoid Jak – her lover, her enemy, and a man-machine ‘blend.’ Along the way she has to fight a war, learn to love a child, and discover her own humanity.
Whew. A lot going on in three books. I had to create a planet, a government, a cultural system, societal norms and conventions, vocabulary … You name it, I created it. Clothing, food, sexual taboos, politics all had to blend together along with a rather large cast of characters.
As always, I turned to my trusty notebooks. I kept one book for each story, detailing plot points in the story. I do this for every book (mystery, time travel, etc.) but it's especially important for this series because it is a series and it does have a lot of detail for the planet and the political system.

But I also had my “Master Bible of Delmorna” in which I had the following. I recommend that you use something similar if you're going to be creating a new world, a new political system, and a new race of humans...
  • Plot outlines for each book (a 2-sentence summary of each chapter in each book).
  • Detailed character sketches for all the major players: small facts mentioned in each book. There are 6 major characters (Isbel, Cyrus, Jak, Dru, Bron, & Jessa) as well as many minor characters (Justine, Cal, Paul, Constance, etc.)
  • The past: I had to detail the devastating secret that people are trying to hide. This meant that I had to create a past for this planet 400 years prior. I essentially wrote a short story about what happened, complete with characters whose descendents were now ruling the planet (Dru, Jak, etc.) But I couldn’t just start with what happened on Delmorna. Something happened to those people 400 years ago to put them on that planet. So I blocked out THEIR past history and that’s the basis for the 6-book series I’m currently working on.
  • Locations: I had to have descriptions for home, cities, towns, parts of the planet. I kept an index of places with cross-references to the chapter where the place is mentioned so I could easily find descriptions.
  • Transportation/food/clothing: I kept detailed vocabulary lists/descriptions of the kinds of vehicles used, the clothing and what it’s called, the kinds of fabrics, the types of food, how the food is cooked – again, with a cross-reference to a chapter where it might be discussed.
  • Cultural values: On this planet, there is no concept of marriage, husband, wife. I had to come up with a reason why, and why someone would want to flaunt custom and form a permanent relationship.