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Writer at Work: Fictional world-building

The new project I’m playing with is demanding something I’ve never really dealt with before: large-scale world-building. (Every new book I write includes at least one element I’ve never tackled before, because otherwise I get bored. This can make life difficult. But at least it’s not boring!) In fact, I sort of need to build two different worlds. Customs, politics, language, history–my head starts spinning.

So I looked up some world-building resources to focus my brainstorming and reduce the head-spinning. Found two that seem quite useful. Fellow writers may enjoy these for their own use; readers, take a look and see all the things your favorite writers are probably taking into account when they make up a whole new world:

Patricia C. Wrede’s Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions — Very detailed and thoughtful questions arranged by category (with some overlap between categories). You can skip any that don’t apply to your world, of course–mine doesn’t have magic, for example.

Ad Hoc’s Society Builder Outline — Each point is much more brief, but the list of points itself is quite thorough. I intend to go through this after I’ve finished Wrede’s questions to see if there’s anything I didn’t consider there.

Because I’m anticipating doing a lot of research and back story outlining, I’m giving Scrivener another try. I haven’t taken to it in the past, but my notes are already getting confusingly scattered between my iPad and my paper notebook, and I’m hoping this will help me keep everything organized.

Those are my new tools of the week. Have you been trying out anything new? :)

Originally published at Megan Crewe - another world, not quite ours. You can comment here or there.

My Books


Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014


The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012


The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013


The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014


Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014


Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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