Principles of World-Building

I adore what Javier Grillo-Marxuach writes about writing. He’s a screenwriter and showrunner: his essay on “Operational Theme” in Apex Magazine is a brilliant way to understand how a collaborative creation maintains cohesion, and his Eleven Laws of Showrunning is an excellent leadership/management bible for creatives (fields like software development are often creative too!).

He recently wrote an essay on World-Buiding in Uncanny Magazine, and it’s a joy to read. This whole blog post is just an excuse to share that link. It comes on the heels of a context-free Stephen King tweet on how he dislikes the phrase “world-building” which sent speculative fiction writers into a minor tizzy. It is, after all, the thing we SFFH writers do. Grillo-Marxuach reeled the discussion back in by defining the terms, and more importantly, outlining the principles of world-building as a process of craft, not a product to be delivered to a studio exec–which is likely what King was referring to. The following are some thoughts on JGM’s principles, but honestly, just read his words.

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