Straight On ‘Til Morning:
World-building in Science Fiction and Fantasy
What if there were two suns in the sky?
What if a puppet could fall in love?
What if you could upload your brain into a computer?
Every story begins with a question. Science fiction and fantasy stories ask questions that change the world, or demand brand-new worlds. And as readers, we know that’s part of the thrill. We love discovering the worlds our favorite authors create.
But as writers, we also know that building new worlds can be a daunting task. Where do you start? How much do you need to create before you can start writing? And how do you make your world different from what’s come before?
To answer these questions, we’ll need to take a journey. In this workshop, we’ll navigate the ins and outs of world-building. We’ll explore other authors’ solutions to these problems, and discover practical methods for coming up with our own answers. We’ll learn how to avoid the most common pitfalls and take advantage of the most productive opportunities. Topics of special interest include:
- Finding sources of inspiration
- The uses (and abuses) of magic, science, & technology
- Mapping your world
- Naming the world
- Presenting interesting societies and cultures
- Creating believable aliens and monsters
So, pack your bags! You won’t need much: just paper, a pen or pencil, and your boundless imagination.
Brogan Sullivan teaches writing at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from USF and has been honored with the Hirshberg Scholarship for Graduate Achievement, the Joseph Bentley Teaching Fellowship, the Anspagh Awards for Fiction and Science Fiction, and the James Parrish Award for Outstanding Honors Student. His work has appeared in Spry Literary Journal and First Inkling Literary Journal.