Are there any resources you'd recommend new writers look into, if they're curious about worldbuilding?

bretbernhoft

Bret Bernhoft
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Hello all,

I have resumed writing a (presently unnamed) science fiction story. And I'm pretty excited about the endeavor. I understand that this journey might take years, but I see myself completing this book in good form.

With all of that said, I'm interested in learning more about worldbuilding. As said subject seems liable to open up my story/book/narrative a few dimensions greater, than if ignored. Are there any relevant books or Online resources that you would recommend I look into, as an inexperienced writer?

Any recommendations are of value to me. Thank you for your time.
 

CupofJoe

Some medals you wear on your heart not your sleeve
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I find this site and their magazine an interesting place.
 

Swank

and debonair
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The best books to read about worldbuilding are good SF books noted for their worldbuilding. A good, quick read would be the second in the Neuromancer series - Count Zero. It is packed with the details that clue you into how this world is not our world. Same with Dune, Counting Heads, The Miocene Arrow, The Diamond Age, Echopraxia, Halo, etc. The more well built fiction worlds you read, the more adapt you will be at creating yours.

The core of science fiction is that the "science" provides the plot, and the details make it convincing that the world is rationally connected to ours. Not our world; but one that grew from ours. Being in that world is largely why people read SF. So the world itself has to hang together by being consistent in those details.

Readers implicitly understand the butterfly effect. You can't move into the future with new technology or major events and have everything else remain the same. If there is significant spacefaring technology, there is likely significant medical advances. If world hunger has been solved, chances are that capitalism doesn't quite look the same either. That's the consistent part.


So I would not look at worldbuilding as a process separate from your plot. Your SF plot probably hangs on a certain kind of major change for humans, and that change is going to come with lots of other changes. You don't necessarily have to pre-plot all those details - many famous authors admit to making them up as they go along: A special device for a broken bone, a religion centered on the last stand of pine trees, a religion whose gods live in the internet. Doors, phones, computers, kitchens, jobs, art, diseases: Those are choices you can make as opportunities arise. The key is to look for opportunities to insert some details, and make those details consistent with each other.
 

Swank

and debonair
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Try this blog. Hope it helps as well too.
Good luck!

An Introduction to World-Building — Well-Storied.
My general objection to the information provided in this link is that it suggests that the "world" in worldbuilding is a essentially a planet and that the writer needs to have an idea about that planet. Borders, economies, languages, government, etc.

But that is an enormous burden on a writer whose story takes place entirely in one place, or a story that spans multiple planets. The level of knowledge you need to have about your "world" is about the world the character's actually inhabit - their town, their ship, the galaxy, etc.


The biggest problem with writing is doing the writing. Extensive worldbuilding that ends up going beyond the needs of the text is procrastination, intended or not. Even if you are going to front load your worldbuilding, you should think about what your characters' "world" is and is not.
 

THX1138

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My general objection to the information provided in this link is that it suggests that the "world" in worldbuilding is a essentially a planet and that the writer needs to have an idea about that planet. Borders, economies, languages, government, etc.

But that is an enormous burden on a writer whose story takes place entirely in one place, or a story that spans multiple planets. The level of knowledge you need to have about your "world" is about the world the character's actually inhabit - their town, their ship, the galaxy, etc.


The biggest problem with writing is doing the writing. Extensive worldbuilding that ends up going beyond the needs of the text is procrastination, intended or not. Even if you are going to front load your worldbuilding, you should think about what your characters' "world" is and is not.
You can view it as a guide. Pick and choose just what you need for your stories world and elaborate only ass needed, if needed.
 

bretbernhoft

Bret Bernhoft
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These are great suggestions. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your expertise. I especially dig the suggestion to simply read SF books known for their worldbuilding. I am quite a fan of William Gibson's "Neuromancer" series, so I can see immediately what is being suggested.
 

Bramandin

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You might want to look into a book that has a guide to that world. Something like "The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern" or there's Barlow's Guide to Extraterrestrials.

If there was a book set in a game setting, such as a sci-fi equivalent to dungeons and dragons, that might also be helpful.
 

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