Putting Together A Worldbuilding Notebook

Putting Together a Workdbuilding Notebook (1)

My current book that I am working on is fantasy, and with that comes the challenge of keeping track of my world on top of my storyline. Despite all the wonderful organizational tools there are out there for your laptop or phone or tablet, I find nothing beats the real thing. I like something that I can hold in my hands, that I can write out by hand, that I can craft, and that I don’t have to charge or hook up to the internet to use. So I made myself a worldbuilding notebook.

IMG_7206 (2)
The notebook. (Tabs closed to remain spoiler-free!)

What is in the notebook:

The Story

In here I have my synopsis, outline, a timeline (both in the Roman calendar and in my fictional country’s calendar), and summaries/elevator pitches.

The World

Here’s the hefty section. I have maps, general geographical information, notes on the culture, customs, language, trade, politics, food, clothing, and history.

Characters

I have all my important/complicated characters in here, with a picture (if I have casting in mind), a brief bio, some personal information (ie: where they were born, any quirks I mentioned in the book or thought up), a one-word description, and any interviews I may have done with them.

Inspiration

This section is far more general. I have in here just little bits of things that make me think of the story and get me excited. Like a Pinterest board.

Feedback

This section is mostly empty, save for a couple notes from my siblings (all wonderful people with great literary minds and opinions!), but when I send the story out to beta readers in a month or so, I will start adding their feedback as well so I can compare their thoughts.

IMG_7209 (2)
My nearly empty feedback section

How do you organize your work-in-progress? What would you add to a worldbuilding notebook?

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Putting Together A Worldbuilding Notebook

  1. The Philologist

    Wow, your notebook looks fantastic! I might start doing this for historical fiction projects that take a lot of research.
    You know, you have such wonderful ideas…you ought to become a writer or something. 😉

    Like

  2. I’ve tried to do this once before (it didn’t go very well) and I have to admit I’m tempted to try it again. Do you have any tips and trips for organizing things within each section? What do you use to develop your thoughts and ideas? /new to the blog so sorry if this is stuff you’ve discussed extensively before

    Like

    1. I put sub-tabs within the different sections, especially with worldbuilding, ie: one for food, another for history, etc. and that keeps things neat. I also add new pages if I come up with something new, and with a three-ring binder, I can always move and switch things to keep them where I can find them.
      When I develop thoughts and ideas it’s usually a combination of using worldbuilding questions and articles (I can send you the links to my favorites sometime if you like), and just using the world and people around me as a springboard to think about how my characters or fantasy world might do it differently. And then there are those weird inspirations that come out of nowhere. 🙂
      I haven’t really discussed this at all on my blog, so no worries!

      -Emily

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am really curious about thenidea-developing articles. That would be lovely! Thanks for such a detailed response, too. I think I might have to try the binder. It’ll be a good way to collect all the things I’ve accumulated over the past couple of months in one, organized place.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. WordPress won’t let me reply to your other comment. O.o So…here are a handful of the articles and questions I use.
      http://www.jsmorin.com/2013/10/20-world-building-questions/
      http://www.malindalo.com/2012/10/five-foundations-of-world-building/
      https://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/
      http://mythcreants.com/blog/starting-a-fictional-culture/
      http://thewritelife.com/worldbuilding/#.ziwf0k:pDKY (this one has some good tips for developing ideas)
      I’m so glad you are going to try the binder! I would love to see how you put yours together. 🙂

      -Emily

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your writing notebook, Emily! I very much agree that there’s something special about having all that information in a physical notebook – it’s then so easy to jot down ideas, find the info that you’re looking for easier, and get that physical inspiration in front of you! I love your organisation plan as well – thanks for sharing that. I’d like to perhaps try and organise something similar with my next writing project :D.

    Can we know anything about your fantasy novel at this point? I’m very interested! ^_^

    Like

    1. Oh, thank you! I am very glad that you liked it and considering trying something akin to it 🙂

      As for this fantasy novel, I have high hopes of doing a snippets post in the near future that will include bits of it, and there might be a brief synopsis to go with it. And there’s also a chance I might have a few empty beta reader slots to fill in the near future. 😉

      -Emily

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s