Why Worldbuilding?

WorldBuildingRules! is a blog about the most distinct aspect of speculative fiction: building imaginary worlds.

Anyone who creates a work of fiction in any medium is creating a world. To make that fictional world believable, we have to know it intimately, and fill it with carefully selected details that create the right landscape for our characters. For a writer of realistic fiction, research may simply be a matter of detailed observation of her own daily life. A historical novelist will get into heavy research including reading, museum visits, perhaps even travel to historical sites.

For writers of speculative fiction, world building is both easier and harder than realism. Easier, because we can make our world any way we want, and we don’t have to stick to generally accepted reality. Harder, because the farther a story departs from the familiar world the reader is sitting in, the more carefully the writer has to build the story world, to win the reader’s belief.

I’m building two sub-created worlds from the raw ingredients of literature, history, science and my life. Maybe other writers will find it helpful to their own worldbuilding to join me on the journey. Together, we might find out: How is worldbuilding done? What questions do we have to ask, what answers do we have to find, to create a believable reality? How do we play god and bring our worlds to life?

What kind of worlds am I building?
Khasran is an epic fantasy world, named after the capital city of this world’s main culture. What started many years ago as a concept for a simple children’s fantasy, has grown to a world with many cultures, a long history of conflict over water, and a stone-tossing game that can change reality.
For a glimpse of it, go to On The Premises  and read my story, “The Master Patterns.”

New Colorado is a space colony Western world which mushroomed out of a single short story. I always wanted to write a Western, and setting it on a space colony frees me from the constrictions of American history.  On the other hand, I’m having to do a lot more research into technology and planetary science to explain the world I’ve created.

New Colorado makes its first appearance in my story, The Dodge, appearing in Gods of Justice, summer 2011.

Rules of the Road

I will be blogging about the worldbuilding aspects of whatever stories I’m working on.

I’ll also be blogging about anything of interest that seems related to worldbuilding: a news story; a book I’m reading or a movie I’ve seen; a question that came up on a discussion board, whatever catches my eye. And I am working on a links database of web sites that are helpful for worldbuilders. For this, I’ll welcome your help and suggestions.

Comments and especially questions are welcome. This blog is for anyone who enjoys world building, whether for a novel, a script, an RPG, or some medium I haven’t thought of; and it’s especially for those attempting major world building for the first time. Because I’m working mainly in novels and short stories just now, some of my posts may not apply to other media, but I expect most of it will work anywhere.

Please keep your comments and questions focused on world-building. If you have questions about other aspects of writing and publishing speculative fiction, you can find those answers in libraries, book stores, writing courses, and a gazillion excellent web sites.

And, naturally, no abuse, profanity, flaming, or suggesting story ideas for either of my worlds. Comments containing any of the previous will be sucked up in a tornado and smashed to cyberdust.

Thanks for joining me on the quest. World-building rules!


  1. I would like to follow your blog.

    Ever read David Brin?

  2. Hi, Tony, thanks for visiting. You can follow the blog on RSS by clicking the RSS button at the top of the page, or subscribe by email by filling in the subscribe box. Either way, welcome!

    David Brin does some remarkable science fiction worldbuilding, like the fascinating society of cloned women in Glory Season, which I read some years ago. I would have liked to see that world used for some more innovative theme than a simplistic reverse gender discrimination story.

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