Why would I do an entire book on news and worldbuilding? Because I was (and am) pissed off at people misunderstanding the importance of news in fiction and life. We’re not talking about my most noble of goals, but it led to a good book.
When I wrote this book in 2019 people were waking up to the impact of disinformation, news-as-propaganda, and internet bullshit. Many people wished this had happened much earlier because plenty of people sounded the alarm, but at least there was an alarm. I was one of the people wishing this had happened a hell of a lot earlier because, look, it is evident that people are tragically deceived between networks like Fox and internet propaganda.
Of course, when I think about real-life issues, I start asking how these issues are portrayed in fiction because it’s what I do.
I realized quickly that fictional settings rarely deal with the questions of how news works. Sure we sometimes get great things like Sir Pratchett’s The Truth, or maybe a reporter character, but I couldn’t recall anything that stood out beyond that. It was time to do two things:
One, keep doing my political activism.
Two, write a damn book on worldbuilding and news.
If that seems petty, it was – I was annoyed and wanted catharsis. However, there were two benevolent motivations:
- Fiction is a tool to help us understand the world, to think, and imagine. If people who were worldbuilding thought about news, their stories would in turn, make the audience think. Plus, we might get more cool stories out of it.
- Those reading this book would also think about news and media in general and become more thoughtful. Worldbuilding is very educational, very thought-provoking, and I view it as a form of personal growth.
It was time to write a book on news and worldbuilding – which was also easy.
Remember when I said this age of disinformation got to me? I’ve been a news junkie since I was in my early 20s; I was the guy buying the newspaper in college and turning on 24/7 news on my radio at work. My career in IT has been dependent on information, reporting, and data. You can see why I was annoyed – and that I had a great foundation to write another worldbuilding book.
Yes, some of it felt good to get out.
The result is a pretty good worldbuilding book. It’s got some great questions, some thought-provoking bits, and comes from both the heart and experience. Definitely, one I’d put as high up in my collection because it dealt with something that wasn’t typical to worldbuilding coaching.
It’s also a reminder that a mix of irritation and personal experience is a surprisingly solid start for a book.