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HomeCalendarWorldbuilding for Any Genre with Timons Esaias

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Worldbuilding for Any Genre with Timons Esaias

Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 7:30 PM until 9:30 PM
Additional Info:
Event Contact(s):
Dan E Arndt
Online Classes
Registration is required
Payment In Full In Advance Only
Available Slots:

All Pennwriters Courses are conducted in a “live” presentation format utilizing the Zoom platform. If a conflict arises based on the required meeting times, please contact the instructor and Online Courses Coordinator to find a possible solution. ALL sessions will be recorded. This class will meet Tuesdays, March 7, 14.21, and 28 from 7:30PM to 9:30PM.


  • 4 recorded 2-hour Zoom sessions, Tuesdays, 7:30pm - 9:30pm
  • Field recons to give participants a toolkit of methods
  • 4 worldbuilding assignments to do at your own pace; and the end of the month won't be the end of access to the Instructor.



    This will be a combination of Timons's simplified Eight-Fold Path to Worldbuilding, and his full-length Worldbuilding for Any Writer workshop. There will be four Zoom sessions, the first hour of each being the must-see/hear information, the second hour being expansion and discussion.

                World-Building isn't just charts, maps, forms, voids, elf-clans and tedious courses in orbital mechanics; and it isn't just for SF and Fantasy writers. Every story has a setting, and the setting needs to be convincing. We'll discuss W-B'ing resources; techniques for designing and developing your world; and then selling it to the reader. Metaphor will be mentioned. Emphasis on craft rather than details, though we will address the Moon Muddle, the Pack Animal Question, and other pitfalls.





    The first week: The Eight-Fold Path.

                This is Timons's quick-start approach to Worldbuilding, especially crafted to be applicable to any type of fiction. Rather than overwhelming checklists and shelves of required research, we'll discuss a few basic elements to focus on, which will enhance your own understanding of the setting you intend to use.

                The point of this week's lesson is that Worldbuilding shouldn't slow down the writing of the first draft. In fact, doing it in advance may waste a great deal of time.

                Details may include the flux capacitor.


    The second week: Broader Topics in Worldbuilding.

                We will take a broader look at the subject, as well as addressing the specific topic of The Moon Muddle. We'll discuss the purpose of setting (it's not just for cover art), and deal with the 800-lb. gorilla in the room: J.R.R. Tolkien. We'll emphasize the use of the writer's notebook, and Getting Your Hands on Stuff.


    The third week: Logistics in History and in Fiction (The Pack Animal Question).

                Timons long ago grew tired of gunslingers, or knights in shining armor, or jeeps going off into the wilderness, one horse (or tank of gas) apiece, for days at a time, and yet they have food, cooking pots, tents, cots, maps, books, and tools. Who is carrying all that? We'll discuss logistics from Alexander the Great to World War II, and from Tolkien to the Little Big Horn.

                There will be a slideshow.


    The fourth and final Titanic-going-down-by-the-bow week: Remaining Topics in Worldbuilding.

                We'll continue the broad discussion of the topics involved, with a special emphasis on resources and on techniques for getting it all on the page. Currency (for invented or historic worlds), weather, and Matters of Scale shall also be addressed.


    Customer Benefits/Takeaways:

  • A specific short checklist for getting started
  • An understanding that most worldbuilding can be done after the first draft
  • A list of resources
  • Instructor feedback on exercises


About the Instructor:

Timons Esaias is a satirist, writer and poet living in Pittsburgh. His works, ranging from literary to genre, have been published in twenty-two languages. He has also been a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award, and twice won the Asimov's Readers Award. His story Norbert and the System has appeared in a textbook, and in college curricula. His SF short story "Sadness" was selected for three Year's Best anthologies in 2015, and the story GO. NOW. FIX. was selected for two in 2021. His full-length Louis-Award-winning collection of poetry -- Why Elephants No Longer Communicate in Greek -- was brought out by Concrete Wolf. His poetry publications include Atlanta Review, Verse Daily, 5AM, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Willard & Maple, Asimov’s Science Fiction and Elysian Fields Quarterly: The Literary Journal of Baseball. He was Adjunct Faculty at Seton Hill University for two decades, in the Writing Popular Fiction MFA Program.


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