Way With Worlds: Why Worldbuild?



Years ago at the end of the 20th century and the start of the 21st I began writing a column on worldbuilding and fiction – Way With Worlds. This was the age when people were suddenly able to get their works on the internet, via websites and journals and email. There was a slow simmer of amateur writers, should-be-pros, would-be-pros, fanficcers, and more. A column on worldbuilding seemed in order.

I’ve always had ambitions to write fiction, had worked on shared-universe newsletters, played RPGs, and more. Worlds were part of what I liked to do, and a good setting, a good living world/universe made things come alive. So I expressed my theories in hope of helping people, to use my knowledge gained over the years, and of course because I’m not overly good at shutting up.

The columns sat online for years when I decided not to continue them, and every now and then someone will read one or mention them to me. Over the years I do less fictional work directly, yet am still involved in worldbuilding when I help friends with games, edit books, and when I run the inspiration site Seventh Sanctum. Of course, I still have plenty of opinions.

Now even more people are writing, and making videos, and self-publishing. So I decided to revisit the columns and rewrite them, expand them, and use what I learned in over a decade.

And the first question is still as burningly relevant as ever? Why Worldbuild?

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Go Farther: Foodify Your Fiction!

Last week I wrote about how I wanted to see more economics in genre stories like fantasy and science fiction, to see it be more part of good worldbuilding and plotting.  Economics affects our world, so I figure why not fictional worlds?  Besides, adding economics to your world makes it richer and more believable.

So in this "Go Farther" I want to suggest something else that is often missed in genre fiction and world building.  Something near and dear to our hearts, or organs slightly lower.  Something you may even be indulging in as you read this.


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The Power of Worldbuilding

If you're a fan, geek, otaku, what have you there's a good chance you're into SOMETHING that has a well defined world. It could be the World of Warcraft, it could be the Trekverse, Middle-Earth, what have you.  You could have several properties you like.

You may even work on them.  Perhaps you write fiction, make MMO's, etc.  You may be crafting the setting for a multi-part RPG right now, or designing the starships for a futuristic combat game with a detailed timeline.

Worldbuilding is very important to us geeks, and even more important to the fictions and worlds we build.

Ever wonder why?

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