Creating a Shared World

Shared worlds are an old and familiar subject to many people, I think. But for those who are unfamiliar with the concept, a shared world is a common world which many people write in. The Thieves World anthologies from the ’70s and ’80s are perhaps the most classic example of this, where dozens of fantasy authors used the same city and the same characters to tell stories. But another example of this would be universes like Star Trek or Star Wars, where authors tell stories in a familiar world.

You guys know I’m working on a co-written novel to be released next year. That in itself has proven interesting. But the hope is that this novel will also be the first in a shared world universe, with other authors coming in and expanding the world and the story as time goes on.

So, while our focus has been on providing an interesting and compelling story, there’s also been an emphasis on making everything broad enough. On leaving enough open avenues for someone else to take. On making sure there’s conflicts and characters and settings available. On making sure the world is rich enough and comprehensive enough that someone else will be able to see it–and not just see it, but create within in.

This has mostly been an issue with our ending. We love the world, we love the story–but we haven’t been able to pin down an ending, and we’ve reached the point where we need to know exactly where we’re going. There’s too many options, and we’ve got to pick one that wraps up this stage of our characters’ arcs while also leaving enough open for future stories.

So many interesting things could happen.

But which one provides the most interesting things?

Hopefully we’ll figure it out, and soon.

Have any favorite shared worlds, Squiders? Worked on some yourself? Have experiences to share?

Also, Burning Bright by the lovely KD Sarge is now out! You should pick up a copy.

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