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So You Want To / Build Your Own Fictional World

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World Building is the process in which an author adds the finer details to his or her setting. Also check out Be Original and The Trope History of the Universe.

Choices, Choices

Necessary tropes


  • It's Been Done. You need to brainstorm long and hard to make your setting truly unique. Or just cherry-pick bits from other works that you like, toss them in the metaphorical pot, and see what boils up. But be sure to boil long and hard so it doesn't look messily ripped off and stuck on with gore.
  • Recycled INSPACE. If you want to (for example) make a reimagining of your favorite treasure hunt-story, but as a political satire, or it happens in an urban setting, really put effort in to it. Most of the popular *some character but in SPACE!* type of stories feel worthless, because the storytellers haven`t put much thought in to how the story would change, if their Aquaman really WOULD go to space. How would they react? To underthink it, is the pitfall, not using the said trope.

Potential Subversions

Writers Lounge

Suggested Themes, Plots, and Aesops

Too many, so I'll just toss you the Genres index.


Costume Department

  • Armor and tunics/leggingsnote /skirts work great for almost any setting. You just need to adapt them to fit the setting. Fantasy gets plate or chainmail armor, Sci-fi gets Powered Armor.
  • Those technologies we mentioned? Can any of it be implanted into a character?

Casting Department

  • Whatever classic races you want to include, and any new ones you dream up.

Stunt Department

  • A heroic deed here and there (up to and including wars) in the history to keep it interesting.
  • And scandals, humorous or serious, to add drama or humor.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: