5 World Building Tips (Vol 3, #12): Conclusion
Here are today’s world building tips! The theme is closing thoughts. You can read more in Chapter 11, “Conclusion,” from Cultures and Beyond, (The Art of World Building, #3).
Tip #1: “Stay Organized”
However you do it, keep your world building files organized so that you can easily find information. And don’t repeat info in more than one place because you won’t remember to change it in both. I keep a master spreadsheet where I can see, at a glance, certain basics about every city on a continent such as population, races present, age, colors, and symbols. And in each city file, I don’t mention these things, alluding to the spreadsheet.
Tip #2: “Follow Your Own Rules”
If we state that no one can do something, don’t have someone be able to do it. The exception is when a character is special in achieving this impossible result, but do that on purpose, not because you made up a rule, forgot, and then had someone break it later without you even commenting on it. Audiences notice these things. Keep a list of your rules and do yourself a favor – don’t be ironclad about them. This gives us flexibility to break one when we need to.
Tip #3: “Consider a Partner”
World building can take huge amounts of time. Consider doing a joint venture with friends where you build a setting together, collaborating and dividing up the work. Just be advised that if this friendship ever fails, you may start arguing over who gets to use the setting. A simple written agreement can specify you each have ownership to write stories in it, but you’ll need to work out these details.
Tip #4: “Remember to Have Fun”
Try not to get so bogged down in world building that it’s no fun anymore and you don’t have time to write stories – or promote them. Use the resources I’ve provided to help you decide what to skip and when. World Building University has a free course that’s designed to help you decide what to do. Use promo code “185Tips” once “Accelerated World Building” is available!
Tip #5: “Use World Building Tools”
Whether it’s my series, The Art of World Building¸ my school World Building University, or books, podcasts, and YouTube videos by others, get familiar with many opinions on how things can be done and take all of it with a grain of salt. There are few things we must get “right.” Be flexible and don’t get overwhelmed.
Summary of Chapter 11—Conclusion
In the series conclusion, we look at how to organize our files of world building notes so that the info glut doesn’t become overwhelming; this includes some tools others have created, whether free or not, and the pros and cons of using them. We’ll also look at different approaches to world building and how they can affect our working methodology and results. Final thoughts include the merits of following our own rules per world and whether partnering with another world builder is a good idea or not.