What is Worldbuilding?

What is Worldbuilding?

Welcome, dear reader, to the first blog written under the WorldCraft Club name!  This is James, I’ll be doing most of the blog writing around here with Seth chiming in once in a while.  I’m certain his voice will also be felt in my writing as he’ll be serving as my editor. This blog will be something of an accompaniment to the podcast, it will add a little more flavor and color in the margins of our audible work.  I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

We’re going to kick of this introductory blog with the most important question of all: What is worldbuilding?  In true WCC fashion I’m going to eschew direct answers and submit this in a few blog posts over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Worldbuilding* (here I have elected to use a singular word, ‘world building’ or ‘world-building’ are both acceptable) is, simply put, building a fictional setting.  At least that’s the definition I’ll use for my purposes here and now because it seems this concept is evolving at all times. You see, it’s pretty young. When you think that humans have been chatting around campfires and sharing oral histories since before we were even writing stuff down, the timeline for this is long.  Worldbuilding itself, that is the crafting of a fictional setting out of whole cloth is super new. About 200 years or so with the writing of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ursula K. Le Guin being a few examples of early worldbuilding. With that said, Seth and I take a pretty broad view of this topic which we explore extensively in the podcast.

Crafting fictional settings that suit our narratives is a ton of work.  Tolkein, to his credit, basically wrote an entire history of his fictional world and we have yet to plumb its depths.  Any writer could sink an eternity into crafting complex laws, languages, geographies, religions, mythologies etc. only to have their world torn to shreds by an observant fan. I am one of those fans and I’ve been doing it for a while which is what lead us to this question about worldbuilding. How much is enough? This is why at WCC we tie the question to narrative. When you’re writing a world, be it for almost any fictional content, what is the story you’re trying to tell and how do you expect your world to interact with it? Failing to answer this kind of question early can lead to a lot of fruitless hours poured into a world with corners that were lovingly crafted but never explored. The opposite can also happen, too little investment and the setting can buckle under narratives when suspension of disbelief is strained by poorly constructed worlds. This is the foundation of the podcast and much of what we’ll be exploring on this journey.

Stay tuned for more writing from the WorldCraft Club as we explore worldbuilding and the crafting of fictional settings to inspire your creativity.

We’re happy to host guest blogs on here whenever we can, it gives James a break and let’s other people contribute their ideas. Let us know if you have a worldbuilding concept or strategy to get off your chest, we’d love to hear it.

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