Worldbuilding 101: The Basics

Writing

Worldbuilding. It’s an enormous topic, and there’s no way any blog, course, book, lecture, or anything else can ever cover all of it. But I’ve wanted to take the subject on for a while now, so come on. Join me. Let’s do this. Let’s create some worlds.

There is no single way to build a world. No right, no wrong, no absolute guidelines guaranteed to give you a perfect world that everyone will love.

There are, however, assorted tricks and techniques that can help. And I’ve noticed that I do it differently from a lot of writers out there, so I figured what the heck, I might as well share some of my techniques in case there’s other people who can do things my way.

So. Here we are. There’s nothing yet, no story, not even a genre. Just an idea: I want to make a new world to play in. 

When I start making a world, the first thing I do is kick back and relax. Put my feet up. Close my eyes. Check to make sure no cats are on my keyboard, then close my eyes again.

Now, world.

I’m getting a sci-fi sort of feeling, so there’s my start. Sci-fi. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll make it a standalone, apart from any of my pre-existing stuff.

It has pretty colors. Okay, there’s a detail I can work with. This world has an advanced, tech-based society, and… they love nature, because this particular planet has–oh, my, where’d that come from? It has sprawling, silvery blue forests, and huge, dramatic, pastel cliffs.

See? That’s easy, isn’t it?

Worldbuilding used to be my biggest weakness. Now I enjoy the hell out of it. See why? Sit back and relax for a minute or two, and suddenly there’s a framework to build on.

And it has five moons.

So. I promised tips and tricks. I just gave you a brief glimpse of how I generate worlds, at least from scratch. The ones that come after the story or characters appear develop differently.

My first tip: don’t limit yourself. If you have a stupid idea, try giving it a shot anyway. Doing things my way, by brainstorming and daydreaming, can transform a stupid idea into something cool.

Once you’ve got your world, it’s time to get busy on the details. But I’m saving those for later, ’cause there’s tons of them. Lots more blog posts, just waiting to happen.

Huh. Guess this world has dramatic weather events, and the architecture people build reflects that.

There’s another tip for you: let your subconscious have fun. If you start getting stressed out, relax, quit worrying about it. This isn’t half so hard as you think. You have endless capacity for world generation. So let ’em out to play!

Anybody got the seed of a world now? Want to share it in the comments? I’d love to see what you come up with!

PS: This world is much larger than Earth, spins faster but still has a longer day, and has a small ring system.

Okay, brain. That’s enough for now. Save it for next week.

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7 thoughts on “Worldbuilding 101: The Basics

  1. Sounds just about perfect for fantasy or space operas when you know the audience won’t scrutinise your astrophysics for plausibility! For more paranoid minds like mine, it’s less unnerving to generate a system using a tool and then meditate on its habitable planet (it’s not always easy to get a habitable planet right away, so a few runs with varied star parameters may be needed): http://terraj.sourceforge.net/index.html – I know StarGen is also available on its own website, but I like this java implementation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I am an amateur astronomer. No, I don’t go for perfect realism, just general “makes good enough sense to me.” Which is one of the reasons I don’t claim to do things the right way. I think your way sounds intriguing. Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out when I’m not about to go to bed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You must be able to get a great view of the night sky in the mountains, right? Colour me jealous. In a megalopolis it’s nice enough when you can see Aries.
        As I said, the “right” way depends on your (perceived) audience and your relationship with it. 🙂

        Like

    2. That’s a really neat planet generation tool! Far more precise than anything I’ve ever done. Believe it or not, I do try to keep things reasonably plausible, but I doubt I’ll ever go totally realistic. Because, after all, it’s all fiction anyway, until we discover how the hell to get a spaceship safely through the vast interstellar distances before the crew all dies of old age. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been debating that. Sometimes I make an effort to know how those things work. More often I sweep them under the rug, because I don’t much like either subject. At this moment I’m leaning towards links to resources, but who knows? I might get brave and dive into it. Because I get tired of stories where the economy and leadership are completely implausible, my own included.

        Liked by 1 person

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