God must have had it easy. I mean, think about it; whatever supreme entity or cosmic force you choose to believe created the world, they just had to start it off with a few protozoa or a couple of humans. The rest would sort itself out.

Meanwhile, if you’re a writer and pursuing alternative histories of the real world or creating fantasy worlds from whole cloth, you have to create either an entire fictional history of that world, or discuss the changes and alterations from the point at which you decided history diverged up to the current era of the story you’re writing, whatever it may be.

I’ve discussed this before, in reference to Rotten Apple; I not only had to design the “zombies” and the stories I wanted to tell with them but figure out all the changes to human history – especially in the field of medicine – from around 1890 up to 1970, where most of the stories take place. Those of you who’ve not undertaken such a task probably aren’t aware of the ridiculous amounts of change one has to make to cover 90 years of history, especially fairly modern history. It’s not just the big things (like the World Wars) that had to be considered, but current relations between the nations, the sociopolitical geography of the world, the nature of religion in a world where the dead sometimes do walk. I also had to consider changes that would occur after that so I could tie the “current” events in the story to where I saw things going. Just in case I ever decided to push past the noir and counterculture roots of it into a more modern setting. For anyone who has undertaken such a quest and fully succeeded, I salute you; for those who’ve done even longer periods, I put you among the greatest.

For a fantasy world it’s even more difficult; for Parthenon, my ill-fated fantasy RPG world I still occasionally poke at, I had to cover 10,000+ years of creation and destruction, write the histories as they were presented by six or seven very disparate groups, then the real history that they were all interpreting differently, and then how that shapes the world of “today” in that setting. It was – and still is, when I prop up the tablet and open the document titled “Milefront Schtuff” and peck at it for a while.

That’s a whole lot of rambling that basically amounts to “worldbuilding is hard. Can I just go poke some nice, placid, plain modern fiction for a bit?” Which is exactly what I plan to do. Believe Me and “Riptide” are both owed a few chunks, I believe.

But what about you out there? Who has tackled the summit of worldbuilding, and come away reasonably unscathed? How did it turn out? How did you do it, and what methods or resources helped? Share your thoughts down below!

KA Spiral no signature

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