“It’s much harder to write about the real world. If you write about France, people have been to France, or read about it. I know all of you have not been to my world.” – Patrick Rothfuss

Reading Assignments:

Some of these introductory articles will cover things like creating a culture, or even a language. Right now, they are meant to help you see where you will be going with the course and to get you thinking, to get your juices flowing, as they say. Later on, we will go more in-depth on these topics, but if these articles spark ideas, write them down!

While most of these can be read for either sci-fi or fantasy world building, there are two subgenre guides that are more genre specific, so choose the one that best fits what you are looking to work on.

Critique

1.)  Writing Groups: How To Write a Constructive Critique – by Mandy Wallace 

Science Fiction & Fantasy Subgenres

2.) A Guide to Science Fiction Subgenres – by scifiideas.com
3.) Fantasy Subgenres Guide – by bestfantasybooks.com

Organizing Your Notes

4.) Creating Your Very Own Story Bible– by J.M. Butler (This is good for retaining and organizing your character and setting/world building information, but you don’t have to do it this way if it doesn’t work for you.)

World-Building Basics

5.) An Introduction to Worldbuilding – by Kristen Kieffer
6.) 2 Essential World Building Questions – by H. Duke
7.) 13 Kick-Ass Tips For Writing Fantasy From Professional Fantasy Editors – by Various Editors 
8.) 7 Deadly Sins of World Building – by Charlie Jane Anders
9.) Five Worldbuilding Mistakes Even Enthusiasts Make – by Chris Winkle 
10.) Quotes on World Building – by Patrick Rothfuss

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Writing Assignments:

1.) Think about which genre/subgenre you would like to work with. Write it down, along with any ideas you may have gotten from the articles above. Maybe a mode of transportation came to mind or you thought of a location for your great sky city. Or maybe you figured out a plot point. Great! Everything is valuable at this stage in your building. While we will not be working on plot or character development, if you have ideas, you should try to keep them in the back of your mind while you world build.
2.) From the first article, what’s your preference? Outside-In or Inside-Out? Do you already have a story idea in mind? Or are you already thinking about the rivers and cow paths that will eventually allow your characters to build a small town or a large city? It may be helpful for you to know your preference, but also know that for this course we will be working outside-in.
3.) From the second article, write down the answers to the two questions: What makes the world you’re building exceptional compared to our own? How do the differences relate to your story, if you have a story idea already in mind? If you don’t have the answers just yet, that’s okay. But make sure you figure them out at some point in the near future.

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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. This is also a good place to reintroduce yourself, if necessary.

Getting in the Mood:

1.) Write for 15 minutes: You can write a scene from your novel/idea and/or use this Random Word Generator and this Quick Character Generator to get inspiration for something completely different. 
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.) Get into small groups. Have each person share their ideas while the rest of the group helps to expand on them. Ask questions. Why is the national food spaghetti? Why do people use bicycles to get around? Why did the writer choose that setting? What would help make it better? The owner of these ideas should be taking notes, but remember, you don’t have to like, or eventually use, any of them. Just write them down so you can ruminate on them later.