Thursday, April 26, 2012

Worldbuilding Resources

Michael Whelan's cover art for THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES by Ray Bradbury

Awhile ago, I tried to scratch out the beginning of a story taking place in an alternate world. Fleshing out the setting proved to be rather challenging once I got started. The more I wrote, the more I realized I really needed to know my world better before I continued on. So I went online and found lots of cool resources out there for writers like myself in worldbuilding mode:

Patricia C. Wrede wrote a bunch of thought-provoking Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions on the web site for Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.  Writers are invited to reflect on topics, such as what kind of limits are there to magic, what kind of characters face discrimination, and what the rites of passage are.

Stephanie Cottrell Bryant wrote Fantasy Worldbuilder Guide: 30 Days of Worldbuilding so writers can break up their world building into 30 lessons with topics such as creating a language, an educational system, and history. These lessons come with exercises and resources  on worldbuilding.

Annalee Newitz wrote The Rules of Quick and Dirty Worldbuilding, an easy-to-breeze-through article on io9 with some general suggestions on how one can get started on worldbuilding.

Nathan Bransford wrote a post on his blog titled "What Makes a Great Setting" where he offers tips on how to build a setting for readers beyond how an environment looks physically.

National Novel Writing Month's web site  has a forum called World Building & Fantasy Writing Resources & Links where posters share their resources for worldbuilding. Lots of good stuff here. Link updated 2/12/13

YA writer Kaitlin Ward reminds us on a YA Highway post titled "First Drafts and World Building" not to get so boggled down by all the teeny tiny details of worldbuilding that we neglect our WIP.

Feel free to offer any other tips or resources on worldbuilding.


Lynda R Young said...

These are fabulous resources. I do a lot of world-building so it can't hurt to brush up on those skills.

S.P. Bowers said...

Excellent linkage! Good to know there's so many resources for world building.

Julie Dao said...

Thank you for sharing all of these great links! World-building is always a huge factor with my stories because they never seem to take place in our world :) I'll definitely check out these resources and see what I can tweak while I'm still in the revision phase.

Lynn Proctor said...

always useful--thanks!

Mina Burrows said...

Great post for a future reference. Thank you.

Shelley Sly said...

Thanks for all these links! World-building is hard...

Nick Wilford said...

I really admire anyone who can pull this off. Not sure I could, though I would love to give it a go!

Anonymous said...

super list! i'm signed up for a world building workshop at a conference this summer - will let you know if i find any more resources!

Caryn Caldwell said...

Thanks for sharing these! They're wonderful reminders. I especially love the last one. I've read a few books where the world building seems more important than the characters and actual plot.

Cynthia said...

Lynda- There are so many ideas in the resources I linked to, one could spend an infinite amount of time on this.

S.P.- There's a lot out there. Glad I was able to stumble on these.

Julie- Good luck with your revisions.

Lynn- You're welcome!

Mina- You're welcome!

Shelley- I agree that worldbuilding can be tough.

Nick- With worldbuilding, I don't know if I can nail every little detail, so I too admire writers who have pulled this off.

Gina- Have fun at the conference, and feel to share additional resources.

Caryn- It's important not to get so carried away with the worldbuilding that we forget about the other elements of the story.

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