What Makes A Wordbuilder?

Bench on the Shore

This weekend I posed a question on Facebook and Twitter:

Are you a worldbuilder? Share your world in a tweet and tag !

 

I got some great replies and had the opportunity to discuss people’s worlds with them. I plan to continue using the tag, so if you have a world, please share it! If you also want to mention me directly that would assure I’ll respond (Abrian Curington or @AbrianCArt).

I noticed something from the responses though: A lot of people don’t feel qualified to be worldbuilders.

There is a stereotype. I get it. Worldbuilders are people that play Role Playing Games and paint miniatures. They’re into linguistics, cartography and/or history. They’re somewhat anti-social, their biggest event of the year being cosplaying at conventions. They’ve been working on their world for 15 years and have 10 binders full of notes, collecting cobwebs as they are top secret, never to be viewed by anyone ever. And the biggest one of all: They write fantasy.

Do you write fiction of any genre? Congratulations, you’re a worldbuilder. In fact, I could possibly make an argument for some non-fiction too.

But really. Even if you write slice-of-life novellas, there is some invention going on. You’re making things up!

To prove my point, here’s me in a nutshell as compared to “real” worldbuilders:

  • I have never played Dungeons and Dragons nor touched a Warhammer miniature.
    • But I’m totally down with papercrafting and scale models!
  • I don’t cosplay and I’m actually not easily sucked into fandoms
  • I eat well and exercise. I love winter hikes.
  • I do like video games but I couldn’t tell you a single release date or company fact
  • I like Disney and musicals. YES MUSICALS.
  • I make maps but am not a certified geologist, so they are imperfect
  • I like languages but I’d be hard pressed to accurately recite the lingusitc family tree or even part of it
  • I don’t have nearly enough investment to write “high” fantasy, sci-fi, etc. because it would involve actually caring about the intricate workings of every single thing. Just in it to have fun
  • All my stories have a light-hearted feel
  • I like to explore and write about new worlds

That last fact makes me a worldbuilder. If you’re a writer, you’re probably a worldbuilder too.

So comment on this post, or use the hashtag on social media and tell me about your world. I bet you have one!

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