By profession I’m a software developer, but I’ve been writing fantasy fiction since 1988 and building worlds just as long, mostly one planet called Llurien. Yes, I am crazy. But I love what I do. I didn’t intend to work on it for so long, but when life has prevented me from writing, I’ve worked on Llurien. I’ve done everything in these chapters and authored two hundred thousand words of world building in my files. Llurien even has its own website now at http://www.llurien.com. I’ve written six novels and over a dozen short stories over the years, and have just begun my publishing career with a novella that you can read for free (see below).
I’m also a musician with a degree in classical guitar; I’ve released three albums of instrumental rock, one classical guitar CD, and a disc of acoustic guitar instrumentals. You can learn more, hear songs, and see videos at my main website, http://www.randyellefson.com.
If you’d like to see a free sample of my own world building efforts in action, anyone who joins my fiction newsletter mailing list receives a free eBook of The Ever Fiend (Talon Stormbringer). Please note there’s also a separate newsletter for The Art of World Building, though both can be joined on the same signup form. Just check the box for each.
World building is defined as the act of creating an imaginary world. While that suggests an entire planet, the result is often one continent or less. By world building, I don’t mean using pre-existing ideas and putting your own spin on them, such as reimagining Greek gods in modern or ancient times, or writing an alternate reality of Earth. While such approaches are fine, that’s not what this series is about, though such creators may still find the series useful.
I’ve omitted the science behind any real or imagined technology (like the warp drive from Star Trek) because other books on these subjects exist. While I’ve included some details to help you create life forms with appropriate features, the information is tailored to world building uses. The guide focuses on being realistic about imagining new worlds while not being overly technical. Something like plate tectonics is discussed in volume two because it impacts the formation of mountains, but the details of subduction zones are seldom relevant for us when drawing mountain ranges, for example.
While some authors prefer the term “races” to “species,” I’ve used the latter term throughout most of the series except for the section in this volume discussing the merits of both terms. This book uses “SF” to abbreviate science fiction. SF is broadly defined herein as a setting with technology far in excess of current capabilities. Fantasy is loosely defined in this book as a setting using magic, knights, and lacking modern technology. As a stylistic point, to avoid writing “he/she,” I’ve also opted for “he” when discussing someone who could be either gender.
Since I am an author, and primarily write fantasy, the series is admittedly weighted in this direction, but whether you’re in the gaming industry, a screenwriter, a hobbyist, or write science fiction, much of the three volumes can help you anyway. I just don’t claim to have covered every last element despite my attempts to be reasonably comprehensive. If you have suggested topics you feel should be covered, feel free to contact me at email@example.com about updates for later editions.