My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Covering everything from Architecture to Zoology, The A-Zs of Worldbuilding is a comprehensive workbook on how to build a fictional world from scratch. Evidently.
Each chapter provides some background on the chosen topic, giving examples of how that specific aspect may affect people or culture, both individually and as a whole. This is followed by exercises: questions about the topic, plus guidance on things to think about in answering those questions, which I found useful. A lot of times, I give up on workbooks because the questions are either too vague or too difficult to answer--and then everything goes all over the place. However, with the guided questions, Loper provides a structure that is both general (if you're experienced and just need a checklist) and focused (if you still need help figuring out what's going on).
Each chapter of the workbook, although interconnected, is mostly self-contained and can be focused on according to your individual needs. Reading & working through it with my own story world in mind, I found that some of the topics were super relevant (I should probably work a bit more on History, Queens [government], and Science [both tech levels and magic use]) but some were things I could easily decide to skim through for now (births, for one, since there's none in my story yet; time, for another, since I'm not messing about with that).
Overall, this workbook is a great resource when building your own science fiction or fantasy world. Obviously, what you get from it is going to be as much as the effort you personally put in, but so far it's been a great fodder for thought on how to fix and refine the world I'm building.
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review as part of the launch tour.
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Rebekah lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, dog, formerly feral cat, a flock of chickens, and an extensive tea collection. She blogs at rebekahloper.com, and is also a contributing blogger at Fantasy-Faction.com and The Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society (fictionalferrets.wordpress.com).
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About the book:
In The A-Zs of Worldbuilding, that ‘what if’ process is broken down into 26 themed chapters, covering topics ranging from architecture to zoology. Each chapter includes a corresponding set of guided exercises to help you find the ‘what if’ questions relevant to your story’s world.
Fair warning, though: worldbuilding is addictive. Once you get started, you might never put your pen down again.
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