Steampunk, Writing
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Can You Have Too Much Worldbuilding?

world building

Last weekend at Clockwork Alchemy, I participated in a worldbuilding panel with the amazing Dover Whitecliff of The Stolen Songbird and Emily Thompson of the Clockwork Twist series. I confess I fell on the more laissez faire side of worldbuilding – I want my readers to easily be able to see the stage my characters walk upon, but I don’t go in for creating new languages or the convoluted worksheets charting the evolution of my world’s politics.

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Then I came across the below video on worldbuilding. It has has triggered some hot responses online, but I think it poses an interesting question. Can there be too much worldbuilding?

For me, “too much” of anything is where I start to skim. But I recognize that one person’s skimable paragraph is another man’s treasure.

Nerdwriter seems to argue that particularly in the age of cross-media storytelling (book + TV + internet, etc.), the reader loses something. What do you think?

On the other side of the street, a recent article in The Guardian argued that true worldbuilding takes chapters, not paragraphs, ergo the mega-sized fantasy novel. I’m not dissing monster-sized novels, but I don’t buy this big-is-necessary argument. You?

And for my worldbuilding notes from last year’s Clockwork Alchemy presentation, go here.

About the Author

Of Mice and Mechanicals Kirsten WeissKirsten Weiss is the author of The Hoodoo Detective, book six in the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mystery novels.

Other books in the Riga Hayworth series of urban fantasies include: The Metaphysical DetectiveThe Alchemical DetectiveThe Shamanic DetectiveThe Infernal Detective and The Elemental Detective. Kirsten is also the author of Steam and Sensibility and Of Mice and Mechanicals, steampunk novels of magick and suspense.

Find her at and @KirstenWeiss

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