World Anvil

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a very interesting event: ProWritingAid’s Fantasy Writers Week. ProWritingAid is a terrific piece of software that describes itself as “a grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.” Not only is it all those things, but it actually does them well. I used it to edit the upcoming re-release of my novel, and found it so valuable that I decided to invest in a lifetime license.

Good as it is, though (and I recommend it to any serious writer), it’s not the focus of this post — so let me get back to that. Fantasy Writers Week was “a week-long series of events all geared towards fantasy writers and world-builders” — and, of course, how they can use their software to do what they do more effectively. Some of the sessions were extremely informative, and I took pages of notes.

The single most useful thing that I learned from it, though, was the existence of an amazing tool for authors and gamers like me: World Anvil. In the creators’ own words:

“World Anvil is a set of worldbuilding tools that helps you create, organize and store your world setting. With wiki-like articlesinteractive maps, historical timelines, an RPG Campaign Manager and a full novel-writing software, we have all the tools you’ll need to run your RPG Campaign or write your novel!”

That’s a pretty ambitious set of claims for any tool. Half an hour into their presentation I realized with a shock that they weren’t exaggerating. After I picked my jaw up from my desk, I spent the rest of the session drinking in everything I could, and brainstorming about what I could do with it.

Imagine a huge wiki, structured with sections tailored precisely to provide logically organized information about an entire world — from flora and fauna to characters, traditions, and rituals. Something practically designed for someone who loves to immerse him or her self and get lost in a new world, and all the things.

That’s what World Anvil is like. And one of the most exciting things I realized in playing with it is that I have a lot of notes and information about the saga that wouldn’t work particularly well in a novel, but would be ideal for this kind of “world exploring” experience. All it’ll take to provide it is a little organizing and a fair amount of cut and paste.

There’s a lot that I could say about it, but I honestly think it’s better understood by experiencing and playing with it. So click the link and check it out for yourself — and while you’re at it, check out the nascent page I’m now building there for the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga. And let me know what you think!

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