Archive for May 1st, 2011

May 01 2011

Worldbuilding Rules

Published by under Research and Resources

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

If you’re writing a story with heavy worldbuilding, I’d recommend checking out K. Stoddard Hayes’ Worldbuilding Rules.  It’s a how-to blog with a lot of interesting articles about how to build innovative worlds and broaden your writing horizons.


  • What Does Your World Smell Like?:  This will help you incorporate smells into your story.  I don’t think smells come naturally to most first-world authors because we don’t encounter many on a daily basis.  That’s okay if you’re writing a story set exclusively in a sterile lab or a vacuum tube, but if you’re not, here’s some ideas about what you’re missing. 
  • Worldbuilding Legal Systems: If you’re building alien legal systems, this will help you keep them distinct from the ones closest to home.  Especially if you’re Norwegian–nobody wants to read about publicly drowning criminals in mayonnaise, you sickos.
  • Clothes and Setting: This provides useful ideas about picking clothing that is culturally and physically well-suited to your story.  (In case you’re saddled with characters that can’t rock out in trenchcoats and sunglasses).
  • Language in Worldbuilding: This has some helpful ideas about how to use language to reflect cultural attitudes and other ways of thinking.  You know how Eskimos supposedly have ~30 bajillion words for snow?  Starcraft’s Protoss need just as many ways to say “we’re screwed.”


PS: I’m looking forward to Hayes’ upcoming superhero anthology, Gods of Justice, and not just because it won’t have many executions-by-mayonnaise.  She and Kevin Hosey really know their stuff.

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