There are a lot of ways you can create a believable world without first hand experience. Yes, you can use Google, but it’s best only as a kick starter to more in-depth research. To build my underground cities, I started with basic mining techniques, and the architectural structures used to build underground houses at Coober Pedy. The underground church there gives an intriguing image of what can be achieved. From there I went on to read archaeological reports on ancient underground cities, like the one at Derinkuyu, which could house up to 20,000 people. Understanding what kept them ventilated – without drowning the cities when it rained. Where they got fresh water from, how they grew food underground, all of this knowledge went into creating the world of Abstrunde.
But you also need to understand the people who live in that world. How they function, what part genetics played as they traveled in generational space ships, how their society works. That Derinkuyu exists is a marvel, that someone in the long distant past made anatomical graffiti in the school room, brings the people in to focus. I created the character of Sari in 2000. Since then I’ve come to understand the type of warrior that she is has a lot in common with today’s MMA fighters. I am not a fighter, but to get the moves right I can watch youtube videos, and I can read works like Alan Baxter’s Write the Right Fight to make Sari’s sparring scenes interesting and believable.
Writing fight scenes can definitely be fun.