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Creating Life (The Art of World Building Book 1) Kindle Edition
"Worldbuilding--creating a fictional setting--is THE biggest job of a storyteller... Where to begin this devastatingly big job? With CREATING LIFE by Randy Ellefson, even the first volume of which is THOROUGH. This book raises ALL the points, and asks all the questions. Not just recommended: essential!" - Ed Greenwood, creator of The Forgotten Realms® and dozens of other imaginary worlds
"The Art of World Building might very well be the definitive resource to creating life, places, and everything a writer needs to flesh out a world. It's an amazing reference book. The author's passion for fantasy and world building really shines through each page. He not only knows what he's talking about but is excited to share it all." - Amazon Reviewer
"A fantastic resource for building your world." - Amazon Reviewer
"Loved it. Amazing resource on world building." - Amazon Reviewer
"Helps breakdown world building into easy to understand sections allowing you to focus on the parts you need and ignore the rest." - Amazon Reviewer
About the Author
He has a Bachelor's of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies.
Get a FREE book, THE EVER FIEND (TALON STORMBRINGER) by joining the newsletter at fiction dot randyellefson dot com/newsletter/
- Website ➜ fiction dot randyellefson dot com
- Facebook ➜ facebook dot com/RandyEllefsonAuthor
- World Building University ➜ www dot worldbuilding.university
- Podcast ➜ artofworldbuilding dot com/podcasts
- ASIN : B06XJRPF4T
- Publisher : Evermore Press (May 2, 2017)
- Publication date : May 2, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 472 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 226 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #46,746 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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This one still had tips I was interested in, but I agree with the reviewer who noted it did feel like it was more about world building for world building's sake (at least in this book). Plenty of things didn't apply to what I'm writing, but if you use these as a handy reference--rather than a "how to" book, I still think there is a lot of use here. (Plus, when I bought it, the book was under $3, so I figured why not?)
In terms of content alone, I would give this four stars. The author goes step by step through the different major questions of populating a world, and while I personally would quibble with the order (starting with gods seems very counter-intuitive to me), each section takes a detailed review of the questions that a worldbuilder might want to ask when creating a fictional setting. The species (races in fantasy genres) section was particularly interesting. I especially enjoyed the discussion of "species vs race", and the observation about how access to public domain fictional peoples in fantasy creates expectations to be negotiated, while the lack thereof in science fiction requires greater effort to not inadvertently violate copyright.
That said, as a resource I found the content a little underwhelming. The approach presented in the content presumes a very top-down approach, in terms of assuming that the reader is creating a setting for the sake of creating a setting. In addition, much of the advice on races/species in particular runs the risk that many science fiction and fantasy sources fall prey to, of creating fictional peoples who are one-dimensional compared to humans, because they are built in comparison to humans. Also, while the author openly acknowledges that world creation is not one-dimensional and that the different categories feed back into each other in the opening chapter, discussion of how to negotiate this feedback is somewhat limited.
The aspects that brought this down to three stars, to me, stem from two problems. First of all, I purchased this based on the comment in the summary that "the series discusses how to use your inventions in stories while balancing narrative flow with the need for explaining your world." However, within the book itself the author explicitly states that he is NOT offering a writing guide, and the examples that I have seen so far are minimal and not particularly oriented towards fitting into a narrative.
Secondly, I quickly grew very tired of the constant references to either visiting the author's website, or variations on the theme of "this topic is important and I will discuss it in The Art of World Building Book Two/Three." This both left important questions of worldbuilding hanging - extremely frustrating! - and was off-putting in and of itself.
Ultimately: This is a useful book if you're interested in a top-down approach of creating a world entirely from scratch, if you don't mind having important aspects (environment and culture) put off for later books (and the constant reminder that they're being put off). If your interest is aimed more towards organically developing a world around a particular story hook, or if you're interested in building up your setting with a smooth feedback between the different aspects (living things populating a world, their environment, and their culture), this may not suit you.