A new kind of worldbuilding for a new kind of world

A new kind of worldbuilding for a new kind of world

This post was originally supporter-only and was posted December 2019.

So I talk a lot about my character-first, story-first worldbuilding. I have a character and an emotional beat, and I spin the world out from that.

But recently, I had a completely different experience. Likely because of Star Wars, I was filled with a desire for space fantasy — something that looks sci-fi but is at its heart about magic.

And that’s not a character or an emotional beat (though I knew I wanted this world to evoke a sense of wonder); that’s a setting.

And I’m not a sci-fi writer. It’s not something I have a million different ideas for. It’s not something I have various twists and takes on hold for. It’s (forgive me), a new frontier for me.

And before I could get into the character and the emotion, I needed the barest pegs of a setting on which to hang them.

So I spun out some ideas. In the past, setting-first worldbuilding has always just led to me rejecting the concept. Ideas sound much more stupid than stories or characters, somehow. But I came up with an unusual (and very me) form of space travel, I came up with an aesthetic and technology that I felt was the right breed of fantasy with a twist, and then I made just enough of a magic system to feel like I knew how the story could start.

And then, as is always the case, came the characters — but this time, instead of the setting being tied to the character, the character was tied to the setting. They were born from the concepts I’d built.

It was a new feeling, but I’m excited about it. And from here, I can revert to my more comfortable method of worldbuilding as the story requires. But I needed something first this time.

I apologise for the vagueness of this post; this story is so new and frail that as much as I want to shout about it, it’ll die if it gets any scrutiny. I don’t think the story will make it if I have to see it through the eyes of others before it’s more fleshed-out.

But it’s a space fantasy, my first space fantasy, and I’m really, really excited about it.

I look forward to telling you more about it in the coming months. 🙂

Image by LoganArt from Pixabay.

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