The word "worldbuilding" gets thrown around a lot in fiction and science fiction communities, but that doesn't mean everyone knows what it means. In this post we'll teach you what worldbuilding is and how to use it to make your own stories richer and more compelling.
Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe.
It’s purpose is to create context for stories set in the world.
This means worldbuilding often involves creating coherent histories, geographies, and cultures; it may also include creating fictional "languages". Worldbuilding often occurs in works of fantasy or science fiction, but it can be done in any genre.
Further reading: Worldbuilding or world-building, how do you spell it? - we’ve got the answer.
What is worldbuilding?
Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world and populating it with a variety of cultures, races, countries, religions and so on. It is used in the creation of fictional universes such as those found in science fiction/fantasy
- novels e.g. George R.R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire series;
- video games (e.g., Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim);
- TV shows (e.g., Game Of Thrones)
- Films (e.g., Harry Potter).
Start worldbuilding with our article about methods and approaches.
Who uses worldbuilding?
Worldbuilding is used by:
- Game developers. It used to be limited to game developers who make RPGs or MMOs. However, game designers may use worldbuilding as part of their level design process to make a playable world.
- Tabletop Role players (TTRPGs), who create characters and settings for their own games to use as they play. This can also be done collaboratively with other role players!
- Conlang (constructed language) makers, who construct languages for fictional worlds and have fun talking about them over the Internet with others.
- Authors who write novels or short stories set in their own world, or a subsect of our world.
- Artists. Some artists create worlds with no intention of using them in any specific project; instead they simply enjoy creating environments that feel realistic or beautiful, even if they don’t have an audience waiting on the other side.
What you can do next
Fantasy maps play a big part in worldbuilding. So you might want to:
- Use a map generator
- Find map resources
- Buy a premade map for homebrew games
You might want to look at the various worldbuilding tools that are available to help create your imaginary world.
Whatever you decide to do the Worldbuilding School hopes you have a great time in this wonderful hobby.
All the best, and have fun.