Having a worldbuilding notebook on hand as you’re drafting your novel can keep you on track as you write. It can also become a blackhole where you throw all your time and energy.
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Before you pay for a subscription on a worldbuilding website, or spend your precious writing time searching for a worldbuilding notebook for sale, take a minute to think about what you need from your worldbuilding.
Every novel project is different. Even if you’re writing in the same genre as another author, that doesn’t always mean that you’ll need the same level of worldbuilding.
So before you download another worldbuilding notebook pdf, let’s talk about what worldbuilding is and what kind of worldbuilding you need to do for your story.
What is Worldbuilding?
Worldbuilding is a great name for what it is. Basically, it’s the part of your writing process where you create the world your story will take place in.
That means you have to think about culture and infrastructure and currency and physics and like a billion other things.
It’s easy to see that worldbuilding is something that a fantasy or sci fi novel would definitely need. The more your story world is unlike the world we live in, the more work you have to do to create it. But that doesn’t mean that a mainstream fiction story taking place in a contemporary setting won’t need worldbuilding.
Anything you do to create a story world, from designing a fictional main street where your characters gather to defining how magic functions in the world is an act of worldbuilding.
Tone and theme are also a part of worldbuilding, though you may not necessarily have those as clearly defined before you start your project. For me, theme generally emerges as I write, and the tone shifts until I settle into the story. (And I usually have to fix it up in edits.) But again, all writers are different.
Unless you specify something, your reader will likely assume your story world functions the way it does in the…