Guest Posts, On Writing, Writing Wednesday

Writing Wednesday: Why Worldbuilding

A public service announcement from Catherine Peace

Ever read a book and wonder how the author created such an incredible, engrossing world? Do you want to BE that author?

Writing is a lot more than just Characters + Dialogue + Action = End. For genre writers especially, worldbuilding is a critical skill that will help you create a world that jumps off the page and into your reader’s mind.

How do you get there?

Where do you start?

Worldbuilding is one of the most intimidating aspects of the writing process, but it doesn’t have to be. In Why Worldbuilding (is the Secret Ingredient): The Complete Beginner’s Guide, Catherine Peace, author of books like Gemini—a science fiction romance featuring a universe built around giant cats, Chuck Norris facts, and aliens galore—will guide you on the journey from creating bland settings to vibrant, believable worlds for your characters and stories to inhabit.

Starting October 16, you’ll get your chance to learn about one of the hardest and most rewarding parts of the writing process: Worldbuilding. Using examples from some of science fiction and fantasy’s best-known worlds, you’ll gain the tools and insight you need to create your own.

Once you’ve gone through the course, you should be able to:

  • Understand worldbuilding’s importance and function in your story
  • Utilize the building blocks that will guide you through building your world
  • Calculate the air speed velocity of an unladen European swallow (this is not true; I suck at math)
  • Seamlessly weave your worldbuilding elements into your story

Over the five-week course, we’ll explore some of storytelling’s lushest worlds—from Westeros to Hogwarts with a few unexpected stops in-between—and break them down into easily digestible concepts you can use to beef up your stories and give them the punch that will set them apart. BAM!

Put on your apron, grab your chef’s hat, and join me at my website in October!

***REGISTRATION OPENS AUGUST 15***

*Course details: You will get out of this course exactly what you put into it. It will use a ton of examples from abovementioned famous books and my own writing, and there will be some homework involved. (Don’t worry, I’m not grading anything.) I will always be happy to answer your questions.  

Not a writer? You can still get plenty out of Why Worldbuilding! LARPers and RPG enthusiasts alike can use the course to brush up on worldbuilding skills!

Course schedule
Each class is $30, or you can complete the set for $130

Week One – Intro to Worldbuilding: What is it? And why should I do it?

  • Covers:
    • October 16
      • What worldbuilding is and what it isn’t
      • Worldbuilding and your setting: Houston, I think we have a
    • October 18
      • Worldbuilding and your characters: Who am I and how did I get here?
      • Worldbuilding and your plot: What does this button do?
    •  October 20
      • Worldbuilding and your genre: We go together like….
      • Worldbuilding and your story: A mechanic without his tools is just a tool.

Week Two – The Basics: What you need to know and why you need to know it.

  • Covers:
    • October 23
      • Know your genre.
        • You can mix and match in a thousand different ways, but you need to understand what makes genres, genres.
      • Know your story.
        • Plotters will likely have most everything nailed down. Pantsers need to have a working knowledge of their story – some beginning, mushy middle, vague end. Your world affects it all.
    • October 25
      • Know your (character’s) role in your plot.
        • Basic plots & how your genre shapes them and your characters.
    • October 27
      • Know your characters.
        • Whether you know enough to fill out a dating profile or volumes of biography, you should at least know 3 things: A name, a role, and a goal

Week Three – Playing God, pt 1: The Building Blocks of Civilization

  • Covers:
    • October 30
      • Family
        • The Family (or lack thereof) Unit
        • What do we eat? When do we eat? …Do we eat?
        • Where do I live?
        • Gender roles & Familial bonds
      • Love and Sex
        • Sex and sexuality
        • What is Love?
    • November 1
      • Science, History, Religion
        • Science and advancement—is it even allowed?
        • How is history recorded?
        • Religion, mythology, philosophy, factions, and cults
        • Doctor, Doctor: your physician and you
        • Education: Who gets to learn stuff?
    • November 3
      • Culture at Large
        • Language! (Bonus: Hilarious profanity, colloquial sayings, blasphemy)
        • Transportation: Hoof it, drive it, fly (on) it? How do you get where you need to go?
        • Authorities and vagabonds: Who’s in charge here? Should they be?
        • Power dynamics: Who has it and who wants it?
        • When Harry Hates Sally: cultural clashes (Bonus: How we wage war and why it matters)
        • Fashion: You’re wearing WHAT?
        • Currency and economic system: I need stuff, you have stuff, how do we trade?
        • What do I live in?: How architecture tells its own story

Week Four – Playing God, pt. 2: Constructing Your World

  • Covers:
    • November 6
      • History lessons: you don’t have to know it all, but you have to know enough to be dangerous.
    • November 8
      • How boned is your world?: Man’s inhumanity to man, nature, God, and you.
      • Radioactivity, weird-ass seasons, crazy weather? WE GOT IT ALL!
      • How hard does your world bite back?: The flora and fauna and beasties that make the world an interesting and dangerous and scary.
      • Here be Dragons, Magic Zombies, Strange Fruit, and more!
    • November 10
      • What in the actual world(s): Thangs. What’s where, why, how?
        • Where you’re from and what it says about you
        • Culture, language, and tradition
        • Technology—Regardless of genre, technology is an important aspect of any society
        • Geography—Not just a category on Jeopardy!
        • Seats of Power

Week Five – Weaving the Tapestry: How does it all come together?

  • Covers:
    • November 13
      • Avoiding the infodump: As you know, Bob, it’s a novel, not a history lesson.
    • November 15
      • How much does your reader actually need to know?
    • November 17
      • Showing vs. Telling: AKA the reason the Song of Ice and Fire books are soooooooo loooooooooooooooooooong
      • Clever inclusions


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