The set up for today's exercise is a cool read; talking about putting some history into your world; how long has the planet been around, when did sentient life arrive and in what form, did a previous species dominate the planet in a previews era, stuff like that.
For 15 minutes, jot down some of the Really Big Land Features you want in your story and just think "what if that were made by...." Write down a couple of causes for those features and scars, and stick it all into your notebook. Which scars are slow-force scars (like plate tectonics), and which are fast-forces (anything that takes less than 10,000 years is medium-to-fast in geological scales).
Huh, good one. Again, big problems here in my case because I'm not working with one planet; I'm working with a Star Cluster. But I can work with this; I just have to scale up my thinking.
- A large crater where the major governing city lies; possibly place an arcology there. The crater was formed by some devastating weapon that ended a previous war, and is now a symbol of what happens when warfare is taken too far and humanity and compassion are sacrificed on the altar of pride and wrath.
- An archipelago that was made thousands of years ago by volcanic activity. Has created some tall stone formations that rise high out of the shallow seas in the area. Several volcanoes remain active in the region, occasionally increasing the size of the islands.
- An inland sea caused by a high mountain range that traps in weather systems, causing an almost constant rainstorm in the region.
Around the Star Cluster
- A black hole that was caused by an artificially collapsed star
- A planet shattered by tectonic activity from a failed attempt to form eons ago; causes massive meteor storms every year as another inhabited world passes through it's remains
- Another planet, once teeming with life, destroyed purposefully
- A perpetual hurricane that sweep across a planet in regular cycles. It stays within a certain latitude band, so large sections of the planet are still accessible without being in the path of the storm.
- A planet in the midst of an ice age, where large portions of the inhabitant's civilization lay under the glaciers.
- A planet where the inhabitants fought a nuclear (or similarly destructive) war and nearly wiped each other out; the survivors are currently hiding in undergound cities waiting for a time when it's safe to come out of their shelter.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, I see the phrase "today's exercise may take more than 15 minutes" and "Today is the day you get out your pencils and paper and start to draw The Map."
I guess I'm going to have to think about "which map" and "which world". Glad tomorrow's a holiday.