Wednesday 4 March 2015

IWSG: World-Building

My insecurity at the moment is world-building. 

I've been writing this science-ish-fiction-y (yeah, I just made that up!) story about an advanced civilisation. The inhabitants on this planet are recovering from the aftermath of war when an alien space ship enters their airspace. Anyway, the citizens are grouped into "cluster" cities and each cluster is responsible for helping rebuild the country in a specific way....ANYWAY, it's been difficult getting this world off the ground writing wise. It's similar to life on Earth, but also very different, AND I have to explain that, make it interesting, and not contradict myself or get lost in the details...... 

Needless to say, I've got a lot to learn which is why I'm talking this slow. A bit too slow for my taste which is another issue I'm struggling with all together. 

So basically, my world looks like this at the moment:

A big, broken, mess. 

So, anyone doing any world-building at the moment? 

Got any advice? 


Thank you, Alex Cavanaugh for another great bloghop. And a big thank you to all your awesome co-hosts this month! 

To find out more about the IWSG monthly bloghop, or theIWSG website, click the links.

"No one is guaranteed tomorrow, so make the most of today."


  1. Yeah, world building is slow and tough.
    For my upcoming book, I listed all the basics about the world - government, environment, structure, etc. - and then started designing it. A lot of what I put down never made it into the book, but it gave me a place to start. (Just ask me anything you want to know about sea kelp!)

  2. World building is tough. Or so I find. I "built" my world on my storyboards—maps, drawings, whatever—which helped to make it a little more organized as I worked on the project as a whole.

  3. Hey, it's scifi, so if world building becomes annoying, just throw in some device that explains a bunch and write away lol worked for me a few times.

  4. Google FRANK HERBERT, WORLD BUILDING ... Let the master give you some hints. His worlds in DUNE are fantastically made. Pat has a point: do you really know how electricity or nuclear submarines work? Nor would most of your characters in your alien world. They just focus on the day to day matters of staying alive and coping with others. Most of the people all through history did not have enough to eat or security -- factor that in your sci fi and it will resonate with the readers.

    Alex had a good point: blue print the very basics of your society and then factor in the "human factor" Hope this helps. :-)

  5. I did my A to Z posts on world building last year. I keep a 'bible' on each of my science fiction and fantasy worlds so I can keep everything straight.

  6. What POV are you using? It's should be easiest in 3rd-limited as far as world-building goes. You won't be able to do as much world-building, but the only stuff you'll have to worry about will be what the character knows and sees. In that case, you can explain things however you want. It's tough because you can't draw parallels to certain things (if they don't exist in your world), but easier because you can say the character saw (for example) a sunderwolf without having to explain what that is until it becomes important to the plot. That way you can add flavor to the world, foreshadow, and develop character all at the same time (or course, I'm giving a simplistic view of one of the toughest aspects of spec fic).

  7. I always end up contradicting myself when world building and then I have to go sort things out later. My world building is also light. People always tell me I need more details.

  8. Sometimes creating a chart (or list) can help. It simplifies all the details for me if I have them lined up like children. (Can you tell I have four kiddos?) Also, once you've established what the world was like 'before' (or like today, as you said), then let you mind go bonkers. Don't toss even the craziest of ideas that come into your head. Sometimes, those are eventually tweaked to make perfect sense in the new world you're creating. Best of luck!

  9. A good writer knows when to make up words :). Your world-building sounds cool, everyone divided up into groups for one specific job. I think just sitting and imagining is the best thing you can do. If you build it carefully and put all the pieces in right, it will come out awesome.

  10. That is why I don't write fantasy. But I think you're taking the right approach...slow and steady. It may be frustrating, but rewarding when it comes together and you have that glowy feeling! :)

  11. I've not had to do much world building until my current project. It's daunting all right.

  12. Hi Elise, I read an interesting article on i09 which might help. Sci Fi

  13. One of the best world builders I know is Glenda Larke.

  14. Fantastic!! I don't know if I know anything that would help, but I know what has helped me in my experiments is just to dive right in, like, don't worry about it, if that makes sense. If you focus on making it real and true to the characters and giving them what they need, it'll be real to the reader.

  15. Thanks everyone for your advice, encouragements and links. You guys are awesome!

  16. I love doing world building, but when I have a new story to write, I don't know that world's history very well, so it becomes so hard to write the story. If only spending a year developing the world building could be done first, right?

  17. Gurps Space by Steve Jackson is an extremely helpful book for scifi-ish world building.

  18. When I tried my hand at writing urban fantasy after several years of writing historical fiction, I wasn't sure I had the skills for world building. (I actually wrote repeated disclaimers on my blog that I probably wouldn't finish the project.) I did finish it -- but I have to say, plot came first. The refined world building didn't really happen until later drafts. So my suggestion is to try and get your story down, then go back and build in the world elements you need for the story to work and come alive. Good luck!

  19. My advice (if you want a good example of world-building) is to watch The Walking Dead and put aside your squeamishness. I think The Walking Dead tackles world-building masterfully.

  20. When it comes to innovative world-building, I'm useless!
    That's why I really admire those who write fantasy/sci-fi.
    Keep at it! You'll get there!

  21. World building is a huge challenge. I can see why you'd feel some insecurity about it. Good luck. Stay the course.

  22. For God's sake, don't ask me anything about sea kelp :)

    I'm useless when it comes to world building... does that help?

    I always like to be a helper :)

    PS... the beans have been spilled :)



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