World Building, World Sharing

So I “bought” (it was actually free, as a gift for being an Amazon Prime member) a book yesterday, and I finished it today, and what I noticed is that, when you read that much, you immerse yourself totally into that universe.

Whether you liked the story, where it takes place sticks with you, good or bad. Depending on how much you like pieces of it, you might find yourself wanting to write in it, taking the world that someone else built and creating in it. Though the world itself isn’t originally yours, you see so many possibilities within it and can’t help but run wild.

This happened a lot to me when I was starting out, but I never created my own worlds. I was always too scared. I had a friend who would prattle on about the language he was creating for a world he made up months ago, the maps he was drawing out, and just how immersed he was in the whole thing. And I still remember that feeling of embarrassed intimidation, that I wasn’t as good as he was and that I could never get that far with something as he had.

It’s funny when I look back on it now, because I’ve found myself thinking of languages and certain barriers to consider in a huge, wide universe, and I drew a map for a world I was working on just a few weeks past… Then again, it’s been over ten years now, and I’ve come quite a ways from the beginning.

Even a decade later, though, I still find myself wanting to write in someone else’s universe, though I know I’m wholly capable of being original and doing things on my own. The difference lies in indulging someone else’s creation, which I do with Friend a lot. He and I have created a lot together, and on the other hand, he created a universe I took over.

There’s just something about a steampunk-feel world of wizardry based on materials (paper, rubber, plastic, metal) that I just can’t get enough of though. (Just in case you were wondering the book is The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg ) It’s hard not to have the possibilities spring up on you where you go, “OH!” and want to write. Hell, I’ve felt this way for several different things, and I think that’s when you know the setting or the story has really clicked with you.

Creating on your own is something that takes time. We start off standing, and then we can walk, and then eventually we progress into running. Some people start off making their own worlds, but the quality is what changes the most. It goes from simple to detailed and flourishing. Wordsmith at 12 couldn’t come up with a universe half as beautiful as  Wordsmith at 24 did.

And there’s something I think of every time I bring this up, progress and improvement: an album someone put together of their drawings from when they were a kid up to the point they were at the time of the posting. You can see how someone gets better from the beginning to the latest point. It’s just remarkable, to me, I love seeing that. The same goes for writing; you can see how your style develops over time, and things you miss and place in on purpose.

I was one who started worldbuilding in another world. And then I just stuck to someone else’s worlds until I wanted out, to make something for myself, and really expand and create on my own in ways that I couldn’t with the pre-established ones.

Don’t ever be afraid to dabble in someone else’s world (provided there’s consent and copyrights aren’t being violated and all the legal nonsense doesn’t get involved…), and there’s nothing wrong with staying in that world until you’re comfortable making your own. And if you’d rather not make your own, that’s perfectly good, too.

Go at your pace, seems to be the message throughout a lot of my posts, I notice. Go at your pace, do what you enjoy, and chase down every piece of creativity you can find in any way you like. Can’t go wrong there.

-The Novice Wordsmith

4 thoughts on “World Building, World Sharing

  1. Great post. There’s a lot of people out there that prefer to create within an already established world. I know there are some authors that are attempting to recognize and include this in their works. Conrad Baines Talbot and his Solitudes and Silence ( is an open world series, offered to other writers to build on. I think it’s a great concept and other authors will probably take it on since the Internet has platforms to support such endeavors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ! I had no idea, but right away, I love it! The first thought that comes to mind is that, with so many heads together, there’s so much creativity brewing, that could expand the world and make so much with it. I realize too, that some video games also offer sort of an open platform, MMORPGs specifically, but I love the idea of this Solitudes and Silence being open world, and the concept of sharing worlds to any and all who have rampant imaginations regarding it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a great concept and RPG platforms do naturally go with it. Conrad is unique in that he created the world for the specific purpose of other authors building upon it, while RPGs seem to just put up with authors being involved in a similar way that they handle fanart.

        I think there might be some issues with maintaining a consistent and passionate author base when it comes to collaborative worlds right now and potentially this the biggest hurdle to face when building a community.

        For me, while I support such platforms, I’m a lot like that guy you mentioned that makes maps and languages for my own worlds as a natural whim. I’ve been creating fictional universes since I could read, it’s one of my most favorite aspects of writing. But I also have had my hand in creating within other worlds. Both approaches can have a great amount of creativity or very little, depending on the writer.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well said! I also agree with you about what the biggest hurdle is, with collaboration, it can be very tricky because some people might have overlapping thoughts, others have wild ones, it can easily become very chaotic.

    I was going to mention the thing about RPGs, that while you can tap into those worlds and write how you like in them, there aren’t very many that will allow you to publish works in any way without having hoops to go through, or even at all. I have a short story I’m very proud of, but it’s based in the World of Warcraft universe, and I doubt that, unless I’m in their official writing team, I’d even be able to put it anywhere without some trouble.

    I realized while I was writing that calling things “fan fiction” can be such a broad term. It can be related to characters within the universe already established, or it can only use the world. How I’ve always heard the term, fan fiction hasn’t always had the most positive connotation!

    You’re right too in that it all depends on the writer, we’re all different, and I love seeing that at work. I’ve only got some dabbling in what you find the most exciting part of the creating process, for example, but I could come up with one character after the other and never tire of it.


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