Category Archives: Why I Write

Why I Wrote It: Organizations and Worldbuilding

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Ever heard of “the book you were meant to write?” Organizations and Worldbuilding is one of those books for me. It’s a book on how to write fictional organizations, and it exists due to two personal

I am an organizer by nature and by profession. I was always organized in my youth, always with a plan or something to do. I became a Project Manager, then an Agilist. Now, I not only manage, but I also speak and write on organization.

However, when you’re naturally organized and trained in organization, you see flaws. I’m used to seeing deficiencies in processes, institutions, and teams. That’s how I help people get better at what they want to do.

I also write on worldbuilding, and you can imagine what it’s like when I turn my gaze on fictional organizations. I see flaws in fictional organizations – not appropriate problems, but ones where they’re not believable.

My job is to help organizations and teams run because that’s simply not everyone’s specialty. In turn, that means people writing fictional organizations may need some help. So I figured, “hey, time to write another book.”

I used my specialty.

It’s not like there aren’t other organization-related tips in other worldbuilding guides. Guides to political structures, discussion of genres, etc. all touch on organization. My goal was to create a general guide for worldbuilders making fictional governments, companies, etc. Something to cover those not-specific but oh-so-important questions like “how the heck do these people communicate.”

It’s another one I’m happy with, but it has a special place in my heart – it’s uniquely mine. Perhaps I’ll revisit it, do a sequel, or expand it, but it’s doing its job for now.

Steven Savage

Why I Wrote It – A Bridge To The Quiet Planet

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

A Bridge To The Quiet Planet was my return to fiction. It exists because someone said writing genre fiction is worth doing, and I said, “I should do that.”

That’s it.

The author in question was Magen Cubed, best known for her Southern Gothic Series. Her story is about a monster-hunting modern himbo cowboy and his neurotic vampire boyfriend. Their misadventures include wild romantic hookups, monster politics, and a chihuahua. Honestly, Netflix should option this even if they may need some “fade to black” when things get steamy.

She wrote her thing, and her Twitter statements on the way genre fiction is open made me think about my writing. I hadn’t done fiction in years, and I suddenly had the urge to return.

I have written about worldbuilding for ages – it’s been a specialty of mine since my teen days. I’m fascinated by good setting construction, and it was a vital part of my previous fiction work. Even a decade-or-so break from writing fiction wasn’t a break from worldbuilding – I was the guy to bounce ideas off of, read beta editions, and so on.

But oh, her Tweets about why you should write fiction reminded me of how I missed bringing a world to write.

Then it began. Ideas began to come to me . . .

. . . I loved anime and video games, and specifically the techno-fantasy worlds where science and sorcery existed . . .

. . . but those worlds often never extrapolated on what this meant. Sir Terry Pratchett and Dave Barry came to mind, ideas to explore this world of gods and computers more closely . . .

. . . a pair of heroines began to evolve, one a kind of Hermionie (Marigold), and Mei Hatsume of MHA (Scintilla) . . .

. . . they lived in a world scarred by a massive war, as many fantasy novels have so many ruins they are post-apocalyptic . . .

. . . and the world valued stability, and that meant I threw in the schemes renegade god to screw things up . . .

And there we had my return to fiction. A Bridge To The Quiet Planet was a road trip where a bunch of modern fantasy tropes traveled to a planet-side graveyard for gods. I won’t spoil.

Thus I had a novel, my first in ages.

Overall I’m pleased with it. It’s a road trip story, mainly to have fun traveling through the setting and the implications of what one reader called “a typical fantasy world in the space age.” Though I would do parts of it differently, there are also elements I’m very proud of.

There’s also a sequel in the works – A School of Many Futures. I play with several tropes there (The Big Book Of Plot Secrets, Magical School Adventures) and go for a more complex mystery ala “Knives Out.” It’s harder to write than the first because I’m pushing myself to make a more complex, richer story.

The novel awakened my fiction-writing urges, so I decided to write at least three books in any setting. The truth is, I know I’ll be writing fiction for awhile – maybe the rest of my life.

All because of the right Tweet at the right time.

Steven Savage

Why I Wrote It: Superheroes And Worldbuilding

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Superheroes and Worldbuilding is one of those books that seems obvious for me to write. The superhero stuff has been big for years when I wrote this book in 2018, so that had to be my motivation?

Not really.

Sure, that was one reason – superhero stuff was getting more exposure, so why not a book on worldbuilding and superheroes? It was timely, but that was a minor motivation.

The major motivation? I love superheroes and have been writing about them for years, and superhero fiction is fascinating because of what it is. Allow me to digress as I discuss how superhero fiction is both a genre and something more.

On one level, the superhero genre seems to be its own thing. It’s got certain beats and tropes, the common idea of “alternate identities fighting crime and such.” I could expound on the superhero genre in detail, but suffice to say, “it is a unique genre, and I find it interesting.”

But there’s another layer to the superhero genre – it’s a “meta-genre.” Superhero stories of the past were often their own thing – crime drama, supernatural revenge, etc. These tales began crossing over in the early years, and soon you had detectives and aliens versus demons and bank robbers. The superhero genre is a “wrapper” for genres we’d otherwise not combine coming together.

We have seen genre fusions in vogue the last decade or two, but superheroes were doing it decades upon decades ago. We didn’t always notice it because we wrapped them up in another genre and made four-color adventures on paper.

I’ve written superhero stories alone and in groups, watching various genres come together seamlessly. I’ve played superhero RPGs doing the same. Though I fell off of most American superhero comics, I still follow shows and of course, anime and manga. I love superheroes.

So the reason I wrote this book? It was timely, and I had developed a lot of opinions to express! Now I had a unique way to do so, with my book series.

Of course it helps people which was a motivation. I have sequels I may write as there’s more to get out of my head. But as for now I got some of it into “print.”

If you have a passion, deep opinions, why not do a book about them? It’s your record, your thoughts recorded, your opinions made accessible. It’s worth it personally – and worth it as you may help others!

Steven Savage