Way With Worlds: Panderdammerung #2: Your Biggest Sellout


Previously I discussed how pandering to your audience was a bad thing. It would break your world, confuse your technique, and risks humiliation – as well as the fact you’ll compete with people far better at selling out and far less ethical than you. i noted It’d be better to chose marketable premises or pick appropriate “views” on your world if marketing was important – and those can be rewarding approaches.

Having covered the danger of pandering to other people, I want to focus on the one person you want to avoid pandering to.


See it’s bad enough when you try and bound and twist your imagination just to tweak other people’s buttons. But when it’s yourself you’re pandering to, you enter a whole world of conceptual hurt. If you’ve ever read a book where the author was clearly writing with one mental hand down their psychological pants, you know what I mean. You how how their world (and their games or books or comics) look – a pile of wish fulfillment and personal delusions.

For some authors, you wonder if they didn’t even need you as an audience, – they were just going over their own fantasies. And when they do have an audience for their self-pandering creations . . . you’ve probably seen those.  The kinds of audiences people look at and just wonder if they know how they look.

Sure, sometimes self-pandering sells. It may cultivate an audience because you hit the setting sweet spot for people like you. But my guess is that’s probably not your ambition.

(Or if you want a fanatic audience, you want one of a good quality).

But the pandering worlds where the author lives their own fantasies trundle out. Let’s look into just what’s going on.

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Way With Worlds: Panderdammerung #1: Pandering To Your Audience

Many Worlds

[Way With Worlds appears at Seventh SanctumMuseHack, and Ongoing Worlds]

Let’s talk pandering and worldbuilding.

You want the game to sell, you want the book to be read, you want the game to be exciting. But you also want to build an interesting world and a consistent setting. However, if you did just a few things you might just sell more, just a little fan service or . . .

Don’t. Don’t do it.

If you’re really serous about worldbuildingg, don’t go pandering. Don’t sex up your world for no reason, don’t go throw in something that doesn’t fit. Don’t go breaking your hard work for the vague promise someone will like it. Don’t wreck what you built.

I’m not saying you can’t focus on a reader’s needs or a gamer’s interests – I’ll address that in a bit. Instead I want to note that pandering is destructive to worldbuilding.

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