Cultural Worldbuilding in Your SFF Novel
Have you ever struggled with worldbuilding?
Do you ever worry that your worldbuilding may reflect unsavoury real-world positions or ideologies?
If the answer to either of these questions is "yes," then this course is for you!
Cultural Worldbuilding in Your SFF Novel will deepen and refine your knowledge of the cultural, social, and political elements to worldbuilding.
This course is for:
New authors who want to learn about key positions and debates in worldbuilding
More experienced authors who feel something isn't right or does not work in their novel
Authors who want to consider how they can build their worlds in a respectful and culturally sensitive way
Authors looking to find a worldbuilding community (all participants gain access to a Discord worldbuilding group)
The course is asynchronous with new materials released each week for four weeks.
Each week covers a little theory and has a writing task designed to help you refine these aspects of your worldbuilding.
What topics does the course cover?
The course covers these four topics:
1) Introduction to worldbuilding and types of worldbuilding
When authors build fantasy worlds, according to MD Presley, their creations should be creative, complete, consistent, and compelling. These worlds should also be believable. This week looks at these criteria in turn. It also explores hard versus soft worldbuilding and common problem authors
2) Culture, politics, and worldbuilding
This module begins with definitions of culture and then looks at how you can approach groups in your worldbuilding. Groups can be defined in many different ways. For example, through a shared goal (insurgents), a shared environment (mountain dwellers), a shared class (serfs), a shared ethnic belonging or people (the English, the Dothraki). This module includes exercises to help refine your worldbuilding in this area.
3) Cultural appropriation and active listening
This module looks at cultural appropriation in worldbuilding and makes suggestions on what kinds of research and feedback you can look for at which stage in the writing process.
4) Worldbuilding as a frame of reference
In this final module, I offer a fresh approach to worldbuilding that can expand its use beyond the creation of imaginary science fiction and fantasy worlds. The differences between worldbuilding and setting are also explored in more detail – for example, in situations where a manuscript is strong in one but lacking in the other.
Want to know more?
Why pick me?
I have developed expertise in setting, worldbuilding, and cultural issues over two careers: first as a cultural anthropologist writing ethnography, and then as a fiction developmental editor.
To get a taste of the course, I recommend you check out:
my blog – to give you a taste of my style
this Editors Canada webinar where I dicusss worldbuilding in fiction editing
this presentation I gave at Edinburgh's SFF/H festival, Cymera
These aspects of worldbuilding are often a weak point for authors. They're also important to get right.
There are many fiction editors out there, but few have a sociological imagination developed through years of anthropological fieldwork.
This course also includes the option of feedback as an add-on.
What if I don't like the course??
As the materials are released week by week, you can contact me during the first week to gain a full refund if you are unhappy with the materials provided.
How long will the course take?
The course is asynchronous and lasts for four weeks. You will have access to the materials for one month after the course ends.
Feedback is normally within two to four weeks of submitting a chapter for evaluation.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! Otherwise, you can book this service here: