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Keeping Your Worldbuilding Organized

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Black Dragon, May 2, 2019.

  1. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

    Do you have a system for keeping your worldbuilding organized? If so, please tell us about it.

    Or do you believe that worldbuilding is better left unorganized?
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I used to use OneNote, which is absolutely wonderful for it. Every tab at the top has its own subtab pages on the right, so you can have a "Map Locations" tab and give every location its own page. And you can move smoothly between pages.

    But I've switched from using OneNote and moved into the terrible-for-this MS Word. Now I keep everything in a single word document, kept Landscape in three columns. I do this so I can print it easily and work on it from my clipboard. It's easier to work with that way.

    Also I have to give a special shout out for EverNote, which is an organization heavyweight program that you can download free.

    As for the way it's organized, that's different for every project, and I think I'll talk about that in a future post.
  3. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Sage

    I do like to create original world, especially since Fantasy is so unlimited, I don't understand why people keep regurging medieval England settings. But it is hard because in Fantasy you need a certain amount of familiar.

    I don't have a system really because I don't over plan my setting, I focus on character related stuff and plot since they're the most vital.
  4. KJF

    KJF Acolyte

    I write in Scrivener and I usually keep a separate project for the world and organize everything that way. I've heard some people use a personal wiki. Something I just heard about this week is World Anvil (google it). I haven't used it but it seems interesting.
  5. Riorlyne

    Riorlyne New Member

    I have been using Notebook.ai to organise my worldbuilding. It's similar to (although younger and less developed than) WorldAnvil. The more advanced pages aren't free, but I chose it over WorldAnvil as keeping worldbuilding pages private was a feature on the free plan, not just the premium plan.
  6. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Vala

    Very organised. Too organised maybe. And all off line in separate files and folders. I have a Background folder. In that there are several folders; Characters, Maps, Locations, Technology, Countries, Magic, Monsters and others as I need them.
    Characters – will have a description of each character in a separate document.
    Maps – Anywhere from quick sketches of a world, or a village to more detailed maps of areas.
    Locations – Are usually smaller scale but more detailed illustrations of a room or a street, place where I need to KNOW if X can be reach in how-many steps by Y; or if Z can be seen by A
    Technology – If I place a limit on what the world has I put information of what can and cannot be done. If I invent a technology then my “research” goes here.
    Countries – A bit like a Character description but for countries, guilds and anything bigger. This will also have climate details as well as social organisation, the military, currency & trade etc. whatever I think I need.
    Magic – What can and cannot be done, how it works etc. sometimes this is a little sketchy, other times it ends up more like a D&D manual…
    Monsters – again like a character profile but for any monsters, aliens, gods etc that might/do appear.
    This can lead me to no longer wanting to write the story so I am TRYING to Pants it a bit more and actually write something first and fill in the gaps as I go. But I love making maps and slide in to that far too easily. I think visually so I like to “see” all the background information available to me as I write. This has also led to me using a 2 and 3 scree set up if I can. The more screens I have the more I need. I’m sure I will end up with 6+ like Terry Pratchett used.
    My name so CupofJoe and I am a World builder. It has been 7 days since I last world-built.
  7. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Sage

    Lots of folders on the PC, containing lots of documents (primarily text written in Notepad++). Some folders are of what I have created, some are of research, historical and otherwise. Timelines, biographical sketches, discussions of magic and myth, etc. Fortunately, most of my fantasy is set in the same 'universe' or it would just be too much—I have the same thing going for my various non-fantasy books, but they don't require quite the same degree of world building.
  8. AlexK2009

    AlexK2009 Dreamer

    Start unorganised, just write. This tells me about the world as I explore it. . Organise as needed. I tend to get more organised as the project gets bigger and use mind and concept maps as much as possible, if only to organise research material and notes.
  9. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver


    My old world building was intended for AD&D campaigns. I created and merged together one world after another - then redid them when I started writing in earnest. Each world or major setting has its own folder on my PC, with contents ranging from skimpy to extensive.

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