How worldbuilding grows with a story

How worldbuilding grows with a story

This was once a supporter-only post from October 2019.


Today, as I face down National Novel Writing Month and Book 2 of Tombtown, I’m mostly thinking about the way worldbuilding grows over time.

I talk a lot about how I worldbuild lightly as I go and edit it into fullness. I create the world to serve the needs of the story, rather than the other way around, and that works for me.

I’ve always been aware of the way worlds grow in depth and detail as a story progresses. That’s not unique to how I write, either — we read stories linearly, so even if a book was *entirely* worldbuilding, you would still know more about the world at the end than you did at the beginning.

But now, with two more Tombtown short stories under my belt and the early planning of Book 2 ahead of me, I’m especially aware of the way a world can grow richer over a much longer story. With a series, you get the chance to drip feed in for longer, or focus on different aspects of the world — new locations, new challenges, new magic, new history.

Everything I have written for Tombtown or am planning to write in the near future takes place in the same setting, though sometimes with new areas of the crypt discovered. But mostly this means that instead of growing the world via locations, the worldbuilding is deepening what already exists. Adding festivals and events. Deepening religions that were only briefly mentioned before. Exploring more of the magic and how it works.

I’m actually really looking forward to it. To a long story where the world will grow with every book. It’ll only get more real over time. 🙂

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