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On Writing and Worldbuilding, Volume I

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  228 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Writing advice tends to be full of 'rules' and 'tips' which are either too broad to be helpful or outright wrong. In On Writing and Worldbuilding, we will discuss specific and applicable ideas to consider, from effective methods of delivering exposition and foreshadowing, to how communication, commerce, and control play into the fall of an empire.
Kindle Edition, 243 pages
Published May 30th 2019 (first published March 15th 2019)
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Francesca McMahon From what I've read (and I've read at least 80% of it) it adds onto the points made in the videos, as well as including/introducing new points for…moreFrom what I've read (and I've read at least 80% of it) it adds onto the points made in the videos, as well as including/introducing new points for writing.(less)
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Aug 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
On Writing and Worldbuilding: Volume 1 – already sounds impressive, doesn’t it? A bit like Critique of Pure Reason . Or maybe Being and Time , right? Or at the very least like On the electrodynamics of moving bodies .

Well this book declares upfront that it proposes to do a better job of explaining how to build a world through really good, discussed examples. Not like those other amateurs who can’t give examples for the life of them. This caught my interest right away because Sanderson’s
Isabella Lewis
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book. I am doing English and was struggling at the creative writing section. This book is absolutely chock full of helpful tips without shoving it down your throat or sounding preachy. Easy to reference and I am recommending to my entire class as is helping elevate my writing to a new level. Love the part on how to write a "chosen one" as have fallen into the cliche traps before. Would reccomend to everyone I know.
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indiecember2019
I love the Hello Future Me YouTube channel this author runs and really appreciate his insight into what makes a good story and characters, so even though I knew this book was just going to be basically all the videos he's made in his On Writing series in written form, I was still excited to read it. It's nice to have the words right in front of you for easy reference when you're looking for a specific thing (which is made all the more easier in the ebook version where you can just search ...more
Jacob Stone
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book for the speculative fiction writer, everything I could have wanted. Based on the authors YouTube video essay series of the same title, the author created a reference book of all the essays. Having followed the channel for nearly 2 years now, it is apparent that his wisdom and knowledge is fantastic and should never be ignored. Can’t wait to see if a volume 2 pops up :)
Steven Partridge
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is derived from the videos of the author's YouTube platform, specifically his On Writing series.

As a massive fan of the On Writing Series, I knew I'd at least somewhat enjoy this book. Its goal is to make writing concepts and principles more accessible, especially to those of us who might be casual writers or those without literary degrees.

The author does cite his sources for concepts derived from other writers and instructors of writing, and he pulls upon examples from popular media,
Nov 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
In this review I wish to discuss this book titled On Writing and Worldbuilding Volume I by Timothy Hickson in detail. Hickson is a popular YouTube personality known for his Avatar the Last Airbender videos. This post's goal is to warn those new to the craft of writing and worldbuilding not to purchase this book.

First, a short summary. Timothy Hickson operates a successful YouTube channel predominantly focused on Avatar the Last Airbender, Writing and Worldbuilding. Hickson never published any
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
I am torn to the extreme when it comes to On Writing and Worldbuilding, Volume I. I greatly enjoyed the author's at times excellent series of YouTube videos, which mainly focus on worldbuilding rather than writing.

When he announced the book I was excited. Finally some additional reading. Yet when finally purchasing it and reading through it I was left somewhat disappointed.

The biggest flaw I see is the reliance on visual medium over books. Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, it's
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very Informative

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Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book!!!

I would recommend this to anyone that is looking to go in to writing. Great book, will be buying any sequels.
Rachel Smith
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent compilation of his wonderful YouTube channel, everything is in an easy to read and find format.
J.F.R. Coates
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This isn't a book that necessarily tells you *how* to write a book - there are far too many ways to write one to be covered. What this book does do, though, is prompt questions and spark ideas - I came up with a few new plot ideas while reading it, before even taking any of the suggestions into practice.

I found this book to be well-researched and generally full of great examples. I did find that the same examples were sometimes re-used, with one particular example used to make four different
The Writer
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With many ideas for upcoming novels, I thought it wise to research the topic of worldbuilding and all it entails. This and the fact that I wanted to support the author's first book.

First off, the book cover is excellent and it really helps draw you in. Each segment of learning is divided and the contents explained very well. I like the fact that the author sprinkles in some humour to lighten the learning experience.

Many examples on offer are drawn from popular sources such as The Lord of the
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, the book itself looks gorgeous. I was a bit sceptic when I first saw the cover online but once I held it in my hands it is truly a beautiful addition to my shelves. I am not the biggest fan of the font though, it is occasionally difficult to read. Not all t's are crossed and sometimes the uppercase P's are missing ink. I am, however, not sure if that is because of the font, because I happen to own a copy that went a bit wrong in the factory or because I read a book with a really ...more
Joy Pixley
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have a lot of writing craft books already, and yet this one makes a worthwhile addition to my collection. In the first few chapters, Hickson covers some of the same ground in terms of writing as other books, but the focus on writing in terms of worldbuilding adds an interesting element to those sections. The majority of the book is on worldbuilding itself (primarily fantasy and science fiction), not just in terms of developing your setting, but how to convey that background and how setting ...more
Vikram Nijhawan
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Timothy Hickson's "On Writing and Worldbuilding" was the most active reading experience I've had in a long time. Ever since I discovered him on YouTube, I've been an ardent devotee of his creative writing advice. The book is filled with essentially word-for-word transcripts of each of his video essays, with topics ranging from Magic Systems, to tropes such as Chosen Ones and Final Battles. Every chapter examines a certain writing aspect in depth, with clear, applicable examples from beloved ...more
Steven Eisner
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm a fan of Tim's youtube channel which is why I bought this book, but unfortunately, that took away from my experience reading this. I felt like I was mostly just reading the transcripts of his videos and, after a time, began to wish I had saved money. None of this is to say that the book isn't well written. Rather, the problem is that Tim has mostly marketed this book to his fans but has included minimal content that would be new to his fans. If you are not familiar with the content or just ...more
A lot of really good information, filled with examples to emphasis the author's point. Some of his humor didn't work with me. Still, I think this is a great primer on world building and how to implement your ideas into whatever story you wish you tell. I've watched a few of his YouTube videos and I do get the sense most of the information in here is a repeat of what is available on his channel. It doesn't bother me too much, but I think it's something to consider before you purchase this book. ...more
Tyler Thiel
In the past, I’ve always felt I knew which stories (be that books, tv or movies) were good and which weren’t. The more difficult part was trying to find the explanation as to how I came to that determination.

On Writing and World Building really helped me expand my literary vocabulary and understanding as to the underpinnings of a good story. Backing up each of his points with examples from tv, history or books helps give each section weight and helps expand on the topic.

It’s worth a read even
Tam Chronin
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While I honestly love the videos better, having this book in my hands (on my phone & Kindle) is a different experience and I can sit and mull over ideas that have been brought up. I've found a lot of this info very helpful in my own writing, especially when I want to sit back and look at the bigger picture instead of just, "What are my characters doing right now?"

The concepts are easy to follow and digest, the prose is entertaining, and I love the pop culture examples given. I may not be a
Francesca McMahon
I think what makes this book unique is the fact that it isn't telling the reader and, possibly, future writer, how they should write - but what they should consider.

As a budding writer I have often found myself struggling with certain elements, whether it be a villainous character or the dialogue in a script, and this is where Tim's book comes into use. This isn't a step-by-step guide as to how to be a writer, it is a motivator and a guide, in the sense, that it shows you what you could use to
Sathepine Marco
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent fantasy writing resource

I am an aspiring fantasy writer and world-building is definitely something I struggle with. On some aspects I do a bit too much of it to the point of getting distracted from the story, and on other aspects I do too little when I needed to do more. Not only does this book ground me on the important parts of world-building, but also explain their purpose and how to best apply them. Reading this is also a reminder to me to check out the author’s YouTube channel
Diogo Muller
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a fan of the author's videos, and this book is the perfect companion for them.

To tell the truth, I'm no writer, and I don't really feel any desire to be one someday, so this book may seem like a strange choice, but I got it with the idea of becoming a better reader - to have a better understanding about what I'm reading -and I feel this book more than delivered on that. For me, it's easily worth 5 stars. For aspiring writers, this may feel a bit superficial or light in some points, but
Christopher Ballard
A fresh take on writing advice. Timothy Hickson writes as if he has read 100 books on writing and compiled all the best parts into one book. His personality comes out in wonderful ways and he doesn’t take the subject to seriously, allowing for a fun and easier read than most writing books I’ve read before. The cover is beautiful and the book as a whole makes me anxious for Volume 2. There are several books I tell new writers to look into for inspiration, advice, and guidance, and this has earned ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had already watched every video contained in this book, but I bought it to review and support Tim. As much as I love his video essays, the information clicked so much better when I read it here—to the point that, while reading, I started unsticking a fantasy plot I'd dug into the ground a year or so ago. Other than typos and a few places where I feel like the examples could have been elaborated on, this was invaluable. Definitely looking forward to volume 2.
Emilie Knight
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is wonderfully helpful. I've been following his Youtube channel for probably a few years now, which is also an amazing tool for writers. The chapters are clear and wonderfully informative, and the examples he uses help you understand the idea he's trying to convey. I will mention that the formatting was a bit odd for me. Given that it's not a fiction novel, it's like a little textbook, the different formatting makes sense, I was kind of distracted by it, but it's not a big deal.
Catherine Bowser
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great tool for any writer to have. We get to dive into categories that are often overlooked in writing books like the relationships between the heroes and villains, soft and hard magic systems and even how the history of your world can have impact and how to realistically convey it. The writers uses examples from all forms of media which makes the topic engaging and relatable. Whole heartedly recommended
Mark A
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: amatuer writers
It’s one thing to say it, but it is another to show it. That is what I love so much about this book. Not only does the author ‘talk’ about the rules or ways a particular thing can be done, but he shows it using a plethora of examples from the work of well-known authors and media.

Full review along with my own inspired illustration at my blog:
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'll treasure this book forever because it was a gift from one of my students at the end of last year to help me grow as a writer. Probably my favorite thing was that I can't think of a chapter that doesn't reference Avatar the Last Airbender and use it as a model for great storytelling. I can get behind that! I was a little nervous when I saw Eragon on the reference list, but luckily it was an example of not doing prologues well. The footnotes made me laugh out loud.
Rhys Causon
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
The humour of the writers videos on the same topics shines through in this book.

A bit more structured than the videos as well, which makes it very easy to get through several points during one main topic. Though some points there is clear assumptions being that that the reader knows all the same examples as the writer.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is just what you would expect if you follow Tim's work on YouTube: a well-researched, easy to follow guide on a variety of writing and world-building topics. The author uses popular books, television shows, and movies to provide examples in his topics and presents techniques in a way that non-academics can easily follow.

I highly recommend taking a look.
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Timothy Hickson is the host of the YouTube-channel Hello Future Me.