It’s time for WorldEmber Homework Challenge week 2! This week we’re getting our worlds ORGANIZED!
WorldEmber Homework Challenge Week 2 – Organize your Worldbuilding!
If your world is a mess of uncategorized articles, and you’ve nary a tag in sight, then this week’s WorldEmber homework challenge is for you!
All worlds are different. And so all worldbuilding projects need different types of organization! But how do you even begin?
Well, as with everything, start by figuring out the purpose of your World Anvil sections.
- Who are you writing this section for?
- How do you envision they’re going to be using it?
Examples for Novelists, Authors and Writers
Authors and writers might have sections for the following things:
- Readers: This section is for readers, and details which books and stories exist in this world. There might be some limited introductory information about the world setting with links to the encyclopedia, as well as a little behind the scenes content, like reviews.
- Patreon (or similar) supporters: This might include exclusive short stories, creator’s journals, additional behind-the-scenes content, character profiles, flash fiction, choose your own adventures, recipes, audio books and more.
- Encyclopedia: This is split use – general readers will have access to limited information. Patreons might have access to additional articles, and secrets and sections not available to general readers. Some items in the encyclopedia will be for writers only.
- Author’s Staging area. This contains everything else – all the work in progress, stub articles, the main world codex, and the like. It might contain meta-information, private writing journals, rough-drafts of articles not ready to be made public and your own plots.
I’ve created a model world called “Author World” on World Anvil, where you can check out one way of organizing your information.
Examples for Tabletop RPG Game Masters
A DM might have sections for:
- Players: this contains enough information to build characters and understand any homebrew rules.
- Encyclopedia: This is split use – players will have access to limited information. Using subscriber groups, you can give individual players secret access to additional information, things they might know due to their species, class, background, or training. Some items in the encyclopedia will be for the GM only.
- Campaign Specific Information: this will contain information relevant to the campaign. Players will be able to check locations and minor NPCs that might not be important enough to appear directly in the Encyclopedia. The GM can keep their secrets and plots here too.
I’ve created a model world called “Tabletop RPG World” where you can check out one way of organizing your information.
Categories are the best tool to organize your world – think of them as folders in your computer, but with extra functionality!
The sections mentioned above should all be super-categories. Within those super-categories, use categories to further break things down. Remember that it’s overwhelming for your readers to be presented with massive lists! A good rule of thumb, especially for public areas of your world, is no more than 10 articles inside a category. For example, if you have 12 novels underneath your novels category, you might want to introduce child-categories to present them by series.
Remember that categories can have their own content, design, images, and the like! That content automatically displays on the right when you click the category on the homepage. They’re powerful pieces of content in their own right! We have a whole codex article about categories and how to use them.
Within the Encyclopedia section (or however you choose to call it) you have many options, and it’s all about what works for you. For example, in some settings, cultures and languages line up neatly. Some settings have nations comprised entirely of specific sapient species (e.g. the elf nation, the dwarf nation). Think carefully about which categories should go beneath which others. If your sapient species are widely spread, and your nations are mixed, you’ll probably want a separate category called “sapient species”… or even “people”!
Use Tags to help organize your worldbuilding!
Once you have your categories set, it’s time to tag things! Tags have a number of functions
- Tags are searchable, so it’s a good way to locate items quickly
- If articles fall into different categories, tags are fantastic. For example, a magical animal might take the tags “magical components”, “elvish food”, “swamp biome bestiary” and “rare species”.
- You can easily create lists of tagged items. Tags like “magical components”, “fire spell”, “weapon” or “dwarf food” are often useful things to list. The BBcode for that can be found in this codex article!
When creating tags, make them as specific as you can! For example, a tag list “elven” will find all tags which mention the world “elven” – whether that’s elven delicacies, eleven disasters, or elven shoes! For now, it’s a good idea to keep a list of your standard tags in your notebook or in a generic article. We’ll be introducing more functionality for tags in the coming months.
For more tips on organizing your world, check out our blog post on how to organize your worldbuilding with World Anvil.
We also have a whole codex article about tags on World Anvil.
How to complete WEEK 2 of the WorldEmber Homework Challenge
- Start by thinking about the best hierarchy for your world! You might need to read over the blog post again for ideas and advice!
- Go to the Articles and categories interface in World Anvil and create your article hierarchy.
- Reorganize your articles into your categories!
- As a bonus, create a tagging system so you can find and list articles quickly whenever you need to!
- Once you’re done, simply write a comment at the bottom of this blog post, and copy the URL of your World’s Homepage, so we can admire your exquisite organization! Remember to let us know how you enjoyed the challenge, too!
Miss last week’s homework? You can find WorldEmber Challenge week 1 right here!