“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
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!)
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.)