There are two kinds a Worlds in this World…

world buildingTo you want to be a fantasy author? Cool. The first thing you’re going to need is a world. Over the course of the next month I’m going to be turning this blog into a fantastic resource for all things world building. To provide a method for generating fantasy and science fiction worlds from scratch, or turning our world into one of whimsy. Whether or not you’re a writer, or simply like to lose yourself in creating factions and races for a pen and paper RPG, this series of articles is going to be a great source of inspiration.

To kick things off I’m going to talk briefly about the two different types of worlds that I believe all world building falls into:

  • Parallel worlds [Harry Potter, True Blood, Twilight, Superhero comics]

  • Alternate Worlds [Lord of the Rings, Mass Effect, Forgotten Realms]

Parallel Worlds

It’s a common mistake to believe that if a movie or book is set in our world, that it was not an exercise in world building. The few I mentioned above, despite of being heavily rooted in contemporary society are still deeply involved worlds that are not our own.

Creating parallel worlds is not a short cut in world building, if anything, it is just as complicated. A writer must consider the contemporary environment, and how the fantasy or science fiction elements would fit into it. The world needs to feel real, because every reader has hands on experience in the world, and knows what’s what.

Alternate Worlds

The only real difference between alternate worlds and parallel worlds is geography. When you create an alternate world, from scratch, it still requires a massive amount of research and development. While many people will be immersed in a medieval fantasy world, many, especially those who read a lot of the genre, will see through a poorly thought out world and it will ruin their experience.

Throughout the course of these articles I will be covering aspects of both. For the most part though, the subject will be medieval fantasy settings (because that’s what I know), but at the core message and processes of each section can be applied to parallel worlds and science fiction worlds.

I know a lot of people read high fantasy in alternate worlds but read a lot of parallel world. What type of worlds do you prefer to read and write?

Thanks for reading.


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