“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
“One of my challenges [as a writer] is to make sure that I’m giving the reader details that the character cares about rather than details that I care about. I’d say that’s key to world-building.” ― Jessica Andersen
1.) How To Write a Series – by Writer’s Edit (Read Step 4 “Work on your setting”.)
2.) 5 Tips for Writing Better Settings – by Jody Hedlund
3.) How Writers Can Craft an Effective Setting – by Jane Friedman
4.) Formula for Writing a Cozy Mystery, Part 3: Setting – by Laura DiSilverio
5.) 7 Tips for Writing About Places You’ve Never Been – by Suzannah Windsor Freeman
World-Building For Fantasy and Sci-Fi:
1.) Worldbuilding: Creating Fictional Cultures – by J.S. Morin
2.) How To Create a Civilisation – by Aaron Miles
3.) Brandon Sanderson’s Laws of Magic – by Brandon Sanderson (Not writing about magic? Skip this.)
4.) World Building: 4 Questions to Ask When Thinking Through Technology – by Gabrielle Massman
5.) Fantasy Map Examples – by Anna Jordan Draves (This includes links to two fantasy map tutorials and includes examples of both. Map making really isn’t as hard as it seems. Also, you can have fun doing this!)
1.) Whether your setting is completely made up or a recognizable place on Earth, start taking notes on what you know about this place. What mood does it evoke? What does it smell like? What is the technology like? What type of government exists?
2.) Think about your series as a whole. What setting elements are critical to your plot? How will you spread out those elements over the course of the story so as not to bog down the reader with too much all at once? Are there specific details that don’t need to come out until later books?
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: Choose one of your characters and describe a place in your novel through their eyes. What do they notice that other characters might not? Smells? Sights? Sounds? Touch? Tastes? Include as many of the senses as possible.
2.) Split into smaller groups. 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.
NOTES: A similar exercise to the one above. Do we need to know intricate details about the flora and fauna of a region, or what kind of food and dress is customary? What happens to the story without it? If we put it back in, does that make the setting easier to imagine, or does it confuse the reader? Most importantly, does the setting and world explain or reflect something about the characters or an aspect of the story that wouldn’t be clear without it?