Show Your Work | Video Games

Welcome back to Show Your Work, the blog series where we challenge you to tackle an activity from one of our Courses.

This week is brought to you by Video Games! In this activity, you’ll get to test out your Worldbuilding skills with help from narrative designer Morgan Lockhart, one of the writers on the famous video game, Halo. 

Worldbuilding is an essential part of most stories. How do you make your fictional hometown come alive? What is it about this dangerous sci-fi planet that connects with your reader? 

We’ve included some information from the Video Games course to help you get a head start, including a Worldbuilding Worksheet that you can download to help you brainstorm ideas.

Good luck and have fun! 

Show Your Work: Video Games

There are two different approaches you can take to begin worldbuilding. Which strategy do you think would work best for you? 

1. Small to big.

Figure out the story you’re trying to tell and then build the world around it. Don’t create more than you need to.

Let’s say you’re writing a story about a young dragon rider who must stop a mysterious illness that is afflicting all the dragons. Start by answering very specific questions, like these:

• What roles do domesticated dragons play in society? 

• Do we just ride them, or are they also beasts of burden? For example, do they pull plows? Are they used to power large machines? Do the small ones deliver packages? 

• What types and kinds of dragons are there? 

• How do domesticated dragons affect the way this world functions? Aside from just feeling compassion for our dragon friends, how bad would it be for us if these dragons were all knocked out by illness? 

• Who else exists in this world that might be responsible for spreading the illness?

2. Big to small

Another way to worldbuild is to answer the big questions first. Sometimes making a few big decisions can help you hone in on your story idea. Try these for starters:

• What's the name of this world? What’s the general size?

• What are the boundaries of the area where most of the story happens? 

• What are the major forms of magic/science? If you’re using magic, what are the rules?


1.  In the comments below, tell us which strategy you would use to build a brand new world: Small to big or Big to small. Why? 

2.  Download and fill out this Worldbuilding Worksheet to begin filling in the details of your unique world.

3.  Read these How-to Guides to get a deeper understanding of worldbuilding in storytelling:

Worldbuilding Basics 
Diverse Fantasy Worlds
A World in a Wardrobe

If you think video game writing and fiction writing have nothing in common, you’d be wrong. There are many literary facets to video games that carry over into the world of fiction. 

Theme, style, mood, and of course worldbuilding all add texture to any narrative, digital or analog. For a little insight into how readers can reach out and touch your story, listen to Video Games course instructor Morgan Lockhart describe the different types of video game writing:

Get more tips with Morgan, earn Crowns with quizzes, and level up your worldbuilding skills with this Course.

Unlock membership for as little as $4.99 a month and get full access to all of Storybird’s Creative and Prep courses. Step up your writing game today!

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