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This episode was recorded in a panel session at WorldCon/ChiCon 8 on September 4th, 2022. Many thanks to everyone who attended in-person! We had a blast, and it's so great to get to field your questions in real-time. We discuss favorite bits of worldbuilding from our own projects -- and the things about worldbuilding that we love less! Then, we ans…
 
Where's the love? It makes the world(building) go 'round and 'round and 'round... At least, it does when things are going well! In this episode, guest Sara Mueller joins us to discuss how to get yourself re-engaged with your fantasy worlds when you've drifted away from them, for one reason or another. When you've gotten jaded, what can bring you ba…
 
The Magical Nude Gate is a what we call a tentpole idea: a concept that touches on so many other elements of a world that it can't be just a throwaway shiny idea. It has to be well-integrated. Culture, economy, language, religion, politics -- the MNG has implications so wide-reaching and fundamental that they cannot be ignored. So what is the MNG? …
 
Here in the dwindling days of summer, we want to know: what do the people in your world do on vacation? Are they relaxing by a beach, wandering museums, hiking in the wilderness? Unpacking that idea ties into a surprising number of other worldbuilding concepts, including economy, labor, and transportation. In this episode, we explore some of the co…
 
In this bonus episode, your hosts gather together in real life at ArmadilloCon 2022! We talk about why we love worldbuilding, what our strategies are, and take a bunch of really fabulous questions from the audience. Because this episode was recorded on-site in a convention hall and because it is a bonus episode, this is essentially raw audio! So yo…
 
What happens when you have to build not just one world, but a whole passel of them? In this episode, guest Valerie Valdes joins us to talk about how an author can craft compelling adventures in spaaaaaaaaaaace. The vastness and potential diversity of space makes for an appealing sandbox for writers to play in. In a genre that often depends on the e…
 
DUN-DUN. Law & Order. What does it mean in your world? Who makes the laws, and by what power do they do so? How easy or difficult is it to change the rules? Guest Victor Manibo, author and real-life lawyer, joins us to discuss how different structures of formal and informal policy could affect the choices your characters make. So much of law comes …
 
We've talked about big holidays and religious observations before, but what about the small, weird, highly-location-specific festivals and traditions that might dot the landscape of your world? From cheese-rollings to local saints' days to parades to "hey, all our squash came ripe at once, guess we better do something with it!", how do the people i…
 
We kick off our fourth year of the podcast with a conversation about how to fill in the rest of your world, beyond the immediate scope of your plot. What's outside the borders your characters are familiar with? What's beyond the woods we know? Is it "here there be dragons" or a highly-detailed map with every corner marked? Your methods of showing t…
 
Your characters and the relationships they have -- romantic, sexual, friendly, familial, professional -- will drive much of what readers connect to in your stories. So what sort of relationship dynamics do you want to build into your world's cultures? Foz Meadows joins us to discuss all the things that make up the space between two or more hearts. …
 
When it comes to worldbuilding, what's the difference between going deep and going wide? Kritika H. Rao joins us to discuss finding the balance between the things that are tentpoles of your world and things that can be window dressing. How do you choose what to focus on? How many worldbuilding innovations might be too many innovations? In this epis…
 
Everybody's got to eat. But where does the food in your world come from? Who tends livestock, who transports it, who turns it into a meal -- and how? In this episode, guest Sarah Gailey helps us think through the practicalities of feeding your characters so that their hanger doesn't derail your plot! We also examine the intersection of food product…
 
What makes a nation? Who decides where borders are, or even what borders are? What unites a people, within a country or across those borders? What differences are there between cultural identities, ethnicities, and nationalities -- and where do those concepts overlap and intersect? In this episode, we discuss ideas of citizenship, belonging, invasi…
 
Worldbuilding is, often, about choices. What bits stick out at the top of the iceberg, and what stays beneath the surface? What shiny ideas can you make tentpoles of your world, what might be cool ornaments but are not essential to the book's functioning, and what can you simply not find the room or justification for? In this episode, we return to …
 
Where does worldbuilding fit into your overall process of writing, rewriting, revising, writing some more, and writing again? In this episode, we welcome back Melissa Caruso to help us think about the granular details of synthesizing your worldbuilding with your drafting and editing. Characters exist within their worldbuilding, and worldbuilding ca…
 
Fashion: not just a frivolity, but a component of worldbuilding that can communicate so much about your world's resources, industry, and power structures, as well as characters' individual choices and personalities. Guest Natania Barron joins us to explore the potential presented by frills and furbelows of all kinds. From bifurcated Celts to Tudor …
 
This one's for the cartography geeks! We know that's a lot of our followers. Peng Shepherd joins us to think about what a map of your fantasy world can tell your readers, what the social and cultural implications of a map's presentation might be, and how much time you should spend squiggling in all those little fjords. Plus: Schrodinger’s Continent…
 
When you've introduced elemental, supernatural, ethereal, or diabolical powers into your world, what does that do to your society? Guest Kate Heartfield joins us to discuss the rules, regulations, and roguery of magical worldbuilding! In this episode, we explore the two levels that magical ethics can operate on: within your world, and within our wo…
 
When your characters push boundaries, defy authority, and get down and dirty -- well, how do they do it, where do they do it, and just how much trouble are they going to get in? In this episode, guest Elsa Sjunneson joins us for an extremely naughty exploration of obscenity and transgression. Engaging with obscenity means building complex social dy…
 
It's time for another Listener Q&A episode! Wherein we discuss fjords, metallurgy, giant Martian otters, bouncy castles, starch-based food categorization, and much more. And, because you asked, here's how you can nominate Worldbuilding for Masochists for a 2022 Best Fancast Hugo Award: Eligiblity: You can nominate us (and all your other favorite wo…
 
Happy New Year! In this minisode, your WFM hosts take a little time to reflect on this podcast's growth, our Hugo Award nomination and the ceremonies, our experiences at WorldCon, and where we're going from here. Many, many thanks to all you listeners, to our amazing scribes, and to every guest who has joined us to discuss the wildness of worldbuil…
 
So you've got lore galore, complex sociopolitical tangles, and a history that reaches back through the ages. How do you show that on the page without infodumping? Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms, who together make up M. A. Carrick, help us explore building a world with deep historical roots while communicating that history in a way that feels natural …
 
On this podcast, we talk a lot about how economics play into other elements of worldbuilding, from death to politics to food -- but we've never before looked at finance and currency by themselves! In this episode, we take the plunge and explore how to build an economy into your fantasy realm. Do the people in your world have currency, or are they b…
 
Y'know, the thing about the world is... It isn't static! It changes, all the time, and if you want your invented world to feel real and full of life, a great way to do that is to make sure it also changes. But how do you build societal change into your fictional world? Guest Fonda Lee joins us to discuss cultural diaspora, temporal shifts, geopolit…
 
Dirty clothes, grayed-out color palettes, and terrible things happening unrelentingly to everyone: that's the stereotype of grimdark. But in this episode, Anna Smith Spark joins us to explore what that term really means, from interrogating ideas of heroism and villainy to unraveling toxic masculinity and examining the consequences of supposedly nob…
 
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