“I’m not going to tell you how to start a bug-powered vehicle, I’m just going to put you inside one with somebody who knows how, and send you off on a ride.” ― Kameron Hurley

Reading Assignments:

For this course, you won’t have much time to world-build, so only world-build what you can. These articles just cover the basics. For more in-depth world-building, ask your facilitator about taking the 7-week World-Building class. Also don’t forget to read the setting articles, as they relate heavily to the world your characters are in, regardless of whether you made it up or not.

1.) Worldbuilding: Creating Fictional Cultures – by J.S. Morin
2.) How To Create a Civilisation – by Aaron Miles
3.) Quotes on World Building – by Patrick Rothfuss
4.) World Building: 4 Questions to Ask When Thinking Through Technology – by Gabrielle Massman
5.) Brandon Sanderson’s Laws of Magic – by Brandon Sanderson (Not writing about magic? Skip this.)
6.) Do What Tolkien Did (But Not What You Think He Did) – by Tineke Bryson (This is about map making. Don’t skip it!)
7.) Fantasy Map Examples – by Jordan Draves (This links to two different map tutorials, recreates one of them, and shows examples of both. It turns out map making is easy and fun!)


Writing Assignments:

Note: If your world building has already gone beyond geography and climate, great! You can use your writing assignment time to flesh out other aspects of your world as needed.

1.) Start your world building by looking at a geographic map of the world. Figure out where on Earth your story is taking place. Is it by the ocean? High in the mountains? In a forest? Even if your story is set on another planet, chances are good that the actual specific setting you use will have something in common with some part of Earth, right? If your alien world really is alien to Earth, figure out how different it is and start jotting down your thoughts. Is the gravity three times that of Earth, for example? How does that affect the size and shape of your vegetation or your aliens and how a human might move around on such a place? Don’t know much about another planet’s gravity? Start learning by researching Earth’s gravity through children’s books, and go from there.
2.) Next, look up the weather patterns of your area. How does the weather affect the natural resources like plants and animals.
3.) How do people live in that area based on the weather and the geography in terms of clothing, food, and shelter? If you’re writing a fantasy novel, it might be helpful to research the history of the place, or if you’re writing a science-fiction novel, imagine how people might adapt to make life easier for themselves in difficult climates based on how they already have. 
These exercises are just to get you thinking about your world, and to give you a base start for your world building. 
Also, a fun exercise is to search the internet for other people’s artistic renderings of fantasy and science-fiction worlds, using them as inspiration for your own world building. (See the photo at the top of the page for an example of this.)


Class Discussion:

1.) Discuss the articles you read. Where there any that were more helpful than others? List 1-2 things you learned that maybe you hadn’t known or thought of before.

Getting in the Mood:

1.) Write for 15 minutes: Choose a strong emotion one or more of your characters might be feeling and write a scene based on that feeling, working in bits of your setting.
2.) Split into smaller groups, if necessary. Each person gets a chance to read their 15 minutes of writing. 
3.) After each person reads, others give feedback: a) What worked? b) What needs more work? Be as specific as you can.

Group Assignments:

1.) Start solo, then come together as one, or several, groups.
Solo: Write about the following setting: a hospital, in a foreign country, in the middle of a power outage. Who would be in such a place at such a time, why? What might be going on in this place? Is it abandoned? Is there about to be a robbery? Has the Zombie apocalypse happened? Are you outside or inside? What other descriptions can you add in, such as lighting, carpeting, trees, dirt paths… write down any ideas that you have. 
Group: Share your notes with your group, notice how different or similar they are.
If time allows, write a short scene, involving your description, and then share it with the group. Again, notice how different or similar they are compared to what others wrote about the same location.