No, I don’t mean making images of aliens… although that is fun too. When I was writing my science fiction series: ‘The Otherwhere Chronicles’, I had to create hundreds of alien characters, and dozens of alien species. It isn’t easy to come up with something new. There is a lot of science fiction out there.
Because I decided to write these novels without planning ahead at all, I would frequently throw in a new alien when things seemed to be slowing down. First, I would think of an amusing premise… a ‘hook’, as it were. Because these are action/humor novels, I would do things like creating a race of very warlike beings, but we would meet the most cowardly of the bunch. Or I would make them very cute and lovable, but they would have a dark secret. That is why we have characters like a vicious warlord who conquered his own people and many other races, but was then brainwashed so that he couldn’t condone any conflict. He could’t even argue, or play poker. I also made a character from a race of arms developers and weapon sellers, but this one had converted to Christianity.
Next, I would make a pencil sketch of a generic member of the new race. This was mostly to help me remember how many arms, toes, eyes, tentacles, or whatever, they had. Also, how big they were. This is important stuff to remember.
This is Fawnya. She showed up in book two. I know, I have two versions of her. I will get to that. After I make the sketch, I get to know the aliens. I carry them around in my head. I have conversations with them. I wonder what they would do in everyday situations. Because most aliens in this other dimension were learning English, I found that it helped to give them a voice. A lot of them ended up sounding like movie villains. Boris and Natasha, the cartoon Russian spies, were used for one character. The broken English helped make the character real.
Fawnya ended up sounding like a stereotypical Jewish mother. All she wanted was for you to eat more soup… you are too skinny… and why don’t her kids call her anymore? Then you throw in some extra, amusing details… like the fact that she and her henpecked husband live, as do all their kind, in a hollow volcano made of their own poop.
There is the original sketch I did… after I ‘fleshed it out’ in Photoshop. The two color versions were just for fun. I think the green one is the color I went with in the book. So why am I telling you all this? Because I am going to take this sketch…
And try to make it look more real. This is how I drew it when I invented the Keelar… the evil race from yet another dimension, getting ready to invade the dimension in the novels. They are small. Their bodies are about the size of an American football. They have two fleshy pads for hands. They have six eyes, and mouths that smile… but like a carved Halloween pumpkin. As I post more chapters from book four, I am going to do posts to show my progress on this little Keelar.
Okay, see you around.