How To Build Worlds

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I love surrealism art. I have been creating art inspired by surrealism since I was young, from the time I was 8 years old, and I have been creating surrealist inspired digital art since 2001.

One of the most important things about creating art is to understand what you are creating, how your creations fit into the artistic process and in turn how the artistic process fits into the world. This is why my blog is called How To Build Worlds, because it explores this idea of how to make a creative world that you can then create in a practical sense.

It can be easy to get caught up in the details of your work and lose sight of what inspires you and drives you to create. It can also be easy to over abstract and ignore the raw beauty and power that art can bring to our lives. So my blog is about finding a balance between these extremes, between understanding technique and application on one hand, with inspiration and pure expression on the other.

Another important thing about surrealism is it’s ability to unlock creativity by tapping into our subconscious mind where all of our deepest emotions lie. Surrealism has a hypnotic effect on people as well which furthers this connection we all have with each other through art as universal language.

I’ll be posting about the craft of world building in the science fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy genres. I’ll post about the stories I’ve written and how those stories were constructed. I’ll post about the stories others have written and how they were constructed. I’ll post about world building from other media: television, movies, novels, comic books. If you’re interested in world building and want to learn more or just see what others have done (and done well) feel free to join me!


If you are interersted in any of these topics feel free to contact me at:

Here is a list of resources to inspire your world building. If you want to learn how to build worlds, check out the blog and my books:

How to Build Worlds: A Practical Guide for Creating Alien Planets, Fantasy Lands, and Science Fiction Adventures (2013)

How to Build Alien Worlds: A Science Fiction Writer’s Guide (2015) How to Build Fantasy Worlds: A Writer’s Guide (2016)

If you like my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon!

World building is all about crafting believable, coherent worlds. It’s an art, a skill that takes years of practice to master. I’m going to talk a lot about how world building serves the story you’re trying to tell and how that works in a commercial setting.


This is a blog about creating worlds, designing them to be logically consistent, and then populating them with people and things that are consistent as well. It’s also about the ways that different design choices enhance or diminish the believability of the worlds they create, and how writing can be made more effective by the choices a writer makes regarding world building.

The World-Building Process

World-building can be broken up into three basic steps. First you create your rules, then you use those rules to build your world, and finally you populate your world with people, places and things. Before we talk about those steps in detail I want to discuss some of the pitfalls that can trip you up along the way.

I want to talk about how to write a book. But I want to talk about it in a very particular way. I want to talk about the nuts and bolts of putting together a book like mine, how the sausage was made, how I got from here to there, etc.

What does that mean? Usually when we talk about “craft” (which is what I’m going to call it for the purposes of this post) we try and distill it down into some sort of higher truth or abstract principle. We try to say stuff like “show don’t tell,” or “write what you know,” or “write every day.” Or we use examples from books and movies we love as illustrations.

The reason for this is that craft is always the least exciting part of writing, even when we’re talking about our own writing. Why are you doing all those things? So you can get to the good stuff!

So this post isn’t going to do that. It’s not going to be an argument in favor of world building–I think you already agree with me if you’re reading this blog–it’s just going to be a description of some steps along the way.*

Most of the time, world-building is done poorly, and so it’s not worth doing. What I’m describing here is the art of making good worlds. The first thing to realize is that world-building is not a separate activity from storytelling. World-building and storytelling are the same thing.

Tolkien described Middle-Earth as “not a myth or legend, but a history.” That’s what world-building is: creating a history. The story you tell should be the description of an actual place in time and space. It should not be a symbolic way of talking about some other thing; it should be a real place. World-building should not be an artistic endeavor; it should be an exercise in science.

If you want to build a world, start by finding out how things work on Earth. You are trying to create something realistic or believable, and your efforts will fail if you build your world according to some principle that’s been disproven by modern science (for example: spontaneous generation).

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