Advanced Worldbuilding: How To Craft Your World Like A Pro

Dear worldbuilder, 

Are you interested in pushing past the basics of worldbuilding? This week our FIRST guest blogger, Lashun Williams, is sharing some advanced worldbuilding tactics and resources you can apply to create a world that is truly spectacular. Be sure to leave her a comment and let us know what you think about these tips!
Writing entire worlds, structuring, and refining them can be difficult enough if you get overwhelmed by all the details, characters, backstories and profiles, plot lines, bestiaries, power scales, landscapes, etc. This article will help you simmer down your creative pot so that you can see what you’re cooking. We’ll also explore some refreshing resources that provide what you need to make your worlds levitate off the page.

Where To Begin

Some of the most complex fiction worlds seen in today’s media are Star Wars by George Lucas, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Games of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Genres like Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Dark Fiction are very popular regarding advanced worldbuilding, though they are not the only genres to build immense worlds. Gothic fiction, for example, is another genre where intricate worldbuilding is the norm.

You likely know a bit about the basics of worldbuilding: characters, storyboards, plot points and timelines, magic scales, bestiaries, etc. So, where do you take things from here? Well, there are numerous techniques you can incorporate to transform the presentation of your world from simple to spectacular.

3 Tips to Enhance Worldbuilding

1. Consider your target audience. This will allow you to identify what type of readers you have. Identifying your audience will give you an age range of a majority of your readers and gives you an idea of the niches of the genre of your choice. For example, if you are writing a YA (Young Adult) romance, then you’ll potentially invest your time adding character dialogue and crafting detailed settings and scenery.
2. Dive into your passions. An author’s love or dislike for their fiction shows. Your readers will know what you did or didn’t care for while writing or structuring your world or series. You may stress that your antagonist comes from the Shadow Realm, but if there is hardly any detail pertaining to that realm, why should the reader care? Your world has an overall purpose, so ensure that your love intertwines well with the overall tale you’re trying to convey.
3. Cultivate intriguing characters. This step makes worldbuilding worth it! Reading about your well-built worlds may not be enjoyable to readers if your characters are bland, uninteresting, cliched, or emotionally uninvolved (unless that helps with character growth). See how your characters enhance your worlds, and how they influence the world as a whole. In the Game of Thrones series, for instance, the characters of House Targaryen of Dragonstone are captivating and dynamic, making the novel and its world more engaging.

Specifics and Flexibility

Loving the worlds that you create makes some of the best fiction. Diving into your world allows you to fully involve yourself in your world while giving your reader more to love as well. This entire process can be overwhelming, especially if you have so many ideas and have nowhere to put them. Consider these tips:

· Not everything belongs in your series – It’s important to be selective when choosing which details belong in your manuscript. That one idea about a plasma cannon doesn’t have to be in your science fiction historical romance. Instead, you can save that idea for another series.

· Consider writing a guidebook – explaining the magic system of your magicians might be helpful for readers that adore that content, but it doesn’t have to be in the series itself. Information like that can be part of an author campaign. Alternatively, you can publish a novel guide, like the guides from video games and share a plethora of ideas that didn’t make the cut.

·Let your world grow – some worldbuilders can become so stuck on their ideas that there is hardly room for it to breathe. Let your world build itself. Allow yourself to make new discoveries. If you’re focused on a vampire world that suddenly has faeries, roll with it. There might be something to add here that enhances your entire work.

Resources and Tools

Does worldbuilding seem too complicated or extensive? The below list is non-exhaustive, but filled with quality resources and helpful tools you can utilize to make your worldbuilding easier and more effective. Some essential resources for worldbuilding, especially for novice worldbuilders are:

·  Just Writerly Things’ Wonderful Worldbuilding, Advanced Edition PDF workbook. The 146-page PDF dives into further detail about worldbuilding and how to craft and navigate your world.

○ Note: The workbook is a $27 investment. It’s very              affordable and totally worth it.

· Dan Brown’s Masterclass on Worldbuilding. This worldbuilding refresher course will review both the basics and advanced techniques to help you develop your world. 

Need online tools for assistance? Use the following worldbuilding tools to help with organizing, structuring, and refining your world easily.

· WorldAnvil – one of the most used worldbuilding sites on the net. This consists of communities, extremely detailed organization, and campaign planners.

· LegendKeeper – a worldbuilder app consisting of maps, whiteboards, wikis, and more.

· Campfire – a worldbuilding software consisting of multiple modules and caters to multiple genres.
· Fantasia Archive – an offline worldbuilding tool that’s 100% free.

· ChronoGrapher – this web-based worldbuilder is unfortunately only available via the developer’s patreon. However, it’s still a good tool to consider for those interested.

These sites have communities where you can connect with other creators and network!

Ready To Build?

Worldbuilding takes great skill and it’s not the easiest thing to do. Sometimes, tips, programs, and documents are not enough to make sense of your world. Still, by continuing to refocus, you can be flexible in your approach to worldbuilding. Find a balance between detail and overtelling. You’ve got this, for sure!

A black and white picture of the author, Lashun Williams, in a fancy black dress and holding a similarly colored jacket behind her.

Lashun Williams is an African American writer of self-help, fantasy fiction, and romance novels. Her debut fantasy series, Element Princess, was published in 2013 under the pen name Jenaia Williams. She also published her short story Sea Comedies in DG Sentinel in 2022. Lashun’s upcoming works are co-creation projects with Healing Soul Collections.

Lashun is currently obtaining her Associates in Liberal Arts at Southern New Hampshire University, and completing more novels and creative projects. She is a member of the Women’s National Book Association and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. In her free time, Lashun invests her time reading, writing, and studying occult sciences and spirituality.

Comment Below: What is your favorite worldbuilding resource?

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