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Middle Earth
In creating an entire imaginal (not imaginary) universe, complete with its own language, races, history, and characters, J.R.R. Tolkien set the standard for all subsequent worldbuilding. Image from The Lord of the Rings Wiki

Introduction to Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding is the process of creating a fictional world that is distinct from our own, with its own history, geography, cultures, and rules. It is a key component of speculative fiction, including genres like science fiction, fantasy, and horror, as it helps to create a believable and immersive setting for the story to take place in.

One of the most famous examples of worldbuilding is J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, which includes not only the geography of the world, but also its history, languages, and cultures. The vast and intricate worldbuilding of Middle-earth has captured the imaginations of generations of readers and inspired many other writers and creators.

Other examples of worldbuilding in fiction include the dystopian world of George Orwell's "1984," the post-apocalyptic world of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," and the futuristic world of William Gibson's "Neuromancer."

When it comes to worldbuilding, there are several things to consider. One important aspect is consistency, meaning that the rules and details of the world must remain the same throughout the story, without contradicting themselves. Another aspect is depth, meaning that the world should be rich and complex, with its own history, cultures, and traditions.

To start worldbuilding, it can be helpful to begin with a basic concept or idea for the world, and then start fleshing out the details from there. Some writers create detailed maps or timelines, while others focus on developing the cultures and societies of the world. It can also be useful to draw inspiration from real-world cultures and histories, as well as to consider the implications of any fantastical or speculative elements that are introduced.

Ultimately, worldbuilding is a creative and rewarding process that can add depth and richness to a work of fiction, and can help to transport readers or viewers to another world.

Worldbuilding resources

There are many resources available for worldbuilding, ranging from books and websites to software and apps. Here are a few examples:

The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding edited by Janna Silverstein: This book contains essays and advice from a variety of authors and game designers on how to create a compelling and believable world for your story or game.

World Anvil: This is a website and software platform specifically designed for worldbuilding. It includes tools for creating maps, timelines, and other details about your world, as well as options for sharing your world with others.

The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson: This book is a guide to creating languages and naming conventions for your world, which can be an important part of worldbuilding.

The Writer's Guide to Creating a Science Fiction Universe by George Ochoa and Jeffrey Osier: This book is focused on science fiction, but contains a lot of information that could be useful for worldbuilding in other genres as well.

Pinterest: This might seem like an unusual suggestion, but Pinterest can be a great resource for visual inspiration when worldbuilding. You can search for images related to the themes, settings, and cultures you are working with to help generate ideas and bring your world to life.

These are just a few examples, but there are many other resources available depending on the specific needs and interests of the worldbuilder.

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Page by M Alan Kazlev, 2023