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The Ecology of World-Building

By J. Dianne Dotson World-building takes many forms in genre fiction. Whether a story takes place on another planet, in a mystical land, or in a hellscape of horror, adding touches of realism enhances the world for its inhabitants. Using ecology is one way to achieve that realism.  What Is Ecology? Ecology is the science […]

Narrative Worlds Worldbuilding Webinar Series Returns for 3rd Season!

We’re pleased to announce that the THIRD season of Narrative Worlds will debut on Sunday, October 16, at 1:00pm Pacific Time. Part of the ongoing 2022 Nebula Conference Online, this worldbuilding webinar series is hosted by bestselling author and SFWA member Kate Elliott. Her guest for the first episode will be Agent DongWon Song. They […]

ROMANCING SFF: Why Romance Should Be Part of Your Worldbuilding

by R. K. Thorne Worldbuilding is a fun aspect of writing fantasy and science fiction. It is so tempting to get lost in drawing maps, hoarding pictures, plotting lineages, or researching how that awesome weapon system could actually work. Our efforts often focus on geography, history, and politics. But part of worldbuilding should be envisioning […]

A Worldbuilding Guide to Crafting Diverse Cultures

by Amelia Wiens

One of the best parts of science fiction and fantasy is the worldbuilding. A key part of creating interesting worlds is creating diverse cultures that vary in some way from our own norms. That being said, it can be so hard to get out of our own culture’s point of view and redefine elements that we unconsciously take for granted.

The Art of Story as Worldbuilding

by Nathan Nance,

So you’re writing SFF, and you’ve got spaceships to design. Engine systems to map. A haunted forest to populate. A talking badger to draw. If you’re not a rocket scientist writing hard sci-fi, how are you supposed to make your version of James S.A. Corey’s Rocinante, you know, fly?

Words Out of Time: Building a Better World Through Etymology

by Ken Pelham

Your stiff-upper-lipped hero, Professor Jenkins, frustrated with the chicanery of Air Captain Hamm, pounds the table and shouts, “Good heavens, man! The scoundrel has hatched yet another outrageous boondoggle!”

Boondoggle. This is where your narrative gets stuck in the etymological weeds.

From The Inside Out: Worldbuilding Through Extrapolation

by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

It’s virtually impossible to do ALL of your SFF worldbuilding prior to writing your book/story. How much weight is given to each stage depends on the author (some prefer to do a lot before starting, some build nothing before writing). My own preference is to build the foundation–just enough to get me started, then build more along the way, and go back and change stuff after I’m done.

Technology and Worldbuilding, Part Two

by Kevin L. O’Brien In this second part of my series on technology and worldbuilding (see Part One), I would like to examine mass production. This is the concept of manufacturing many copies of a product quickly and efficiently, rather than creating each copy by individual effort, as in craftwork. Mass production is in turn […]

Automation and Worldbuilding, Part One

by Kevin L. O’Brien

Automation is defined as technology that performs work with little or no human assistance; automatic machines are known as automatons. It actually predates the Middle Ages, in that the Greeks knew about and used automated systems as early as 300 BC: examples include Hero of Alexandria’s automatic doors and fountain, and Ctesibius’s robot owl.

Worldbuilding with the Medieval Industrial Revolution, Part Three

by Kevin L. O’Brien

It should be pointed out that while it is easy to pattern a quasi-medieval fantasy society after medieval Europe, European society of the Middle Ages didn’t just appear out of nothing. It grew from antecedents and so was based on a foundation of varied traditions, and there is every reason to believe that a fictional society would be the same way.