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Keeping Your Worldbuilding Organized

CelestialGrace

Minstrel
I've been toying with creating a wiki, for at least one of my bigger projects, for a while and finally bit the bullet today. Hopefully that'll help me knot out som of the issues I've been having too.
 

Hexasi

Scribe
I keep a sketchbook and file. Other than that, its either all in my head or spilled on the paper. I also have random piles of paper which probably contain stuff that's important.
 

D. Gray Warrior

Troubadour
Not organized at all. Most of my worldbuilding is just all in a binder and in no particular order. I just turn to the next blank page and write down whatever idea I have.

I prefer to hand write my worldbuilding because it makes me feel closer to the process, if that makes sense.

I usually start with a quick overview or summary of the world I'm trying to create and then flesh out each aspect separately.

I used to keep a list for each culture in my worlds, kinda like this-

Name of Culture:
Dominant Race:
Form of Government:
Language(s):
Religion(s):
Currency:
etc...
 

McShane

New Member
I use a notebook and google docs, and after I finish whatever I'm writing about I upload it to my WA account.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
I write multiple (non-series) stories set in an alternate world, so I have a separate world-building space. I do most everything in Scrivener, so there's a separate project I named WorldReference. Over there I keep notes on all the different peoples of Altearth, from orcs to humans to sprites. Each has files for their religion, history, social organization, political organization, and so on. I have notes on setting--most of Altearth is just real Earth, but I've added a few geographic features here and there. WorldReference also holds name lists that I've gathered from various sources. It's also where I have general notes about magic systems.

Each story has its own project. With each I wind up inventing or expanding on some aspect of the world. At some point during the project, I copy such information back over to WorldReference--anything that's not story-specific.

The key principle is to put all world information in one place and to organize it to facilitate finding information. Happily, Scrivener has tags as well as folders, so I'm able to put my hand to some needed bit of context or to look up a name quickly, with a minimum of fuss.
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
I've been meaning to get back to this for a while now.

Normally when this question comes up my answer is that I organize my worldbuilding as follows:

First I figure what out follows from whatever starting point I'm looking at. What's necessary to support that.

Then I break it apart based on Ecology, Magic, Culture, Governments, and Warfare, filling in gaps and using placeholders under each category. I use placeholders to avoid spending too much time filling out details until I need them.

And that's still a great starting point.

For Smughitter, though, my breakdown looks like this:

What is a fairy? What is Seelie magic? Fairy Culture. What can a fairy do.
Falina Cairn, the fairy kind-of kingdom, what is it, what impact did it have, what's tied to it.
Bestiary.
Characters surrounding Haifen. Characters surrounding Aliffe. The Hobs of Trin Ardell.
Seelie Magic Items; Crafting Dusts; Treasures of Falina Cairn.
Fairy Foods.
Fairy Abilities; RPG-style class breakdown.
The Map.
The Kingdom of Crenifer.
The Town of Trin Ardell (where most of the story takes place).
The other countries: Altracia, Kax Helyis, Pel Daxis, and Loxiem, to be explored in sequels.
Haifen's Smug Targets.
The Dark Cohort, to be explored in sequels.
Other magic types in the world (elves, dwarves, wizards, and then some more original ones to be explored in future works)
Poetic Spells and Songs.

I sometimes change the order of these for no reason at all.
 

pmmg

Istar
My world has recently gotten complex enough that I need to keep track of a lot of things now. For this I have two tools I am relying on more and more.

Scrivener. I am really just using the 'note' feature and creating a place to store all the place names that are mentioned in the story and where they are. I also have notes for items like currency, language, and deities of various places. So far, its still keeping straight.

The last is Inkarnate for map making. Just gonna say...I made my last map on Campaign Cartographer, and again several times on graph paper by hand. I lost my files on CC, and was very much dreading having to make another electronic copy of the map. But wow...Inkarnate was very easy. Took me less than a day, and since then it has expanded quite a bit. My only complaint is that the fonts start to get fuzzy as the world gets bigger. I regret I did not use this earlier.

But for actual writing, I still use notepad and word.
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
The last is Inkarnate for map making. Just gonna say...I made my last map on Campaign Cartographer, and again several times on graph paper by hand. I lost my files on CC, and was very much dreading having to make another electronic copy of the map. But wow...Inkarnate was very easy. Took me less than a day, and since then it has expanded quite a bit. My only complaint is that the fonts start to get fuzzy as the world gets bigger. I regret I did not use this earlier.

Is Inkarnate that much easier to use? Shoot. I bought CC3 a while ago to do a city map, and it's so complex that I've been putting it off. Is Inkarnate easy to use for city maps as well? I guess I picked the wrong one.
 

pmmg

Istar
Ive not done a city but i believe i could one pretty fast. Specially if i had an idea of what i wanted.
 

pmmg

Istar
I literally put off for years doing the map over and returned to by hand. But since it was all on graph paper i just used the boxes to duplicate it and filled it in. Editing is now super easy.


They say they have a tool where i can import a background and then trace it but ive not used it.

I have two complaints. 1) it would be nice if the words did not become fuzzy when you expand too much and 2) it would be nice if there was a toggle to say ‘now as a pencil drawing’. I may have to make two maps. One for the website one for the pages of a book.
 

ThinkerX

Myth Weaver
I make all my maps with MS Paint.

file:///C:/Users/Owner/Desktop/Writings/CHAR/Map%201%20-%20Eastern%20Solaria.png
 
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pmmg

Istar
Here kind of a time lapse of my inkarnate map. Took less than a day.

Capture1.PNG
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
ThinkerX, that's a link to a file on your PC, so it won't work for anyone but you. You've got to upload it somewhere first.

I made my world map by hand and then sent it to an artist. I'm really happy with the results, but she also took some annoying liberties that skewered all my travel times and some other things. The characters don't really leave the city in book 1, so I wanted a map of that as well. I'd still send it to an artist, but I don't know how to draw a city by hand.
 

pmmg

Istar
Yeah....like I said, initially I took my graph paper one and just matched block by block till I had the outline, and then started adding the extras.
 

Ankari

Hero Breaker
Moderator
I've been researching the subject of mapmaking for a pending D&D session. I've used Wonderdraft, but that requires a bit of learning to use. I'm considering Inkarnate until I stumbled upon Project Deios. This looks really promising. I may bite the bullet and buy into the alpha.
 

pmmg

Istar
I should have added, I did buy the subscription for Inkarnate. I think it was $25.00 for the year.
 

ThinkerX

Myth Weaver
ThinkerX, that's a link to a file on your PC, so it won't work for anyone but you. You've got to upload it somewhere first.

I made my world map by hand and then sent it to an artist. I'm really happy with the results, but she also took some annoying liberties that skewered all my travel times and some other things. The characters don't really leave the city in book 1, so I wanted a map of that as well. I'd still send it to an artist, but I don't know how to draw a city by hand.
Yeah, I figured that out.
 
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