There are many approaches for how to start worldbuilding, but we always recommend starting with the meta! It’s a great way to set the foundations of your world to make sure there’s an internal consistency to everything—but also to help you get through writer’s block and give you the motivation you need to keep going. Well, today we’re talking about worldbuilding mini-meta, a variation of the regular meta that can help you focus on specific projects!

What is the meta?

Before learning about the mini-metas, we need to know what the standard meta document is! In short, the meta is everything about the world that is not part of the world itself—all the behind-the-scenes stuff! It includes things like the themes you want to include, the scope and mood of the world, your motivation and inspiration, and more. It’s usually not something that’s meant to be seen by anyone else, but at the same time it’s an essential part of the world that keeps your work consistent and logical.

For more information about the meta, check out our blog post about the world meta. And for an example of a very in-depth meta, check out Melior’s meta document on World Anvil!

What’s a worldbuilding mini-meta?

A worldbuilding mini-meta is, as you might have guessed, a smaller version of the meta! You might have also realized that I talk about the meta but about a mini-meta—and that’s because a world has a single meta but can have several mini-metas! A mini-meta is focused on a single area or time period of your world, or is designed for a specific purpose. For example, you could create a mini-meta focused on an RPG adventure, on a challenge (like WorldEmber!), or on a specific country of your world. By focusing on a specific area, you avoid being overwhelmed or distracted by the rest of the setting.

How to create a worldbuilding mini-meta

A mini-meta is smaller than a meta, so you don’t need to be as expansive. I recommend following this process:

  1. Start by thinking what’s the scope of the mini-meta—which parts of the world will be affected? It could be anywhere from a single building to a whole galaxy, although I recommend keeping it small-scale so it’s more manageable.
  2. Think about the themes and mood of your world, as well as your goals and inspiration. To create them, look at what you wrote for the general world meta and think about how they apply to the specific area you’re focusing on.
  3. If there’s another part of the meta that you want to include in your mini-meta, you can do so too. For example, you could include a little Drama section, talking about what’s going on in the chosen area. But only do that if it will be different than your main meta and it will be useful for your project.

On World Anvil, you can create your worldbuilding mini-meta using the Generic Article template. This way, you get blank canvas that you can structure however you prefer!

Ready to create your worldbuilding mini-meta? Sign up for World Anvil if you haven’t already and get writing!

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