Sneak Peek Friday: Author Janeen Ippolito

This week I’d like to welcome author Janeen Ippolito, author of World-Building From the Inside Out.

Go to the heart of your world and build it well!

worldbuild1Memorable world-building enhances story, attracts readership, and sells books! Find the core of your science fiction or fantasy people and instill your narrative with universal themes and concepts derived from real-world cultures.

  • Explore different religions and governments with concise entries that include ideas for plot and character development -Develop key aspects of your society without getting caught up in unnecessary details
  • Learn how the deeper effects of appearance and location can enhance your narrative

World-Building From the Inside Out challenges you to go deep and build fantastical worlds that truly bring your story to life!

World-Building Workbook

This book has questions. You have the answers!

worldbuildwkbkThe World-Building From the Inside Out Workbook is filled with detailed questions and easy-to-grasp explanations to help you probe more deeply into your created world and fill it with meaning that pushes plot and builds tension.

Use it along with the World-Building From the Inside Out reference book, or individually to jump start your creative process.

Ask questions. Dream big. Build the fantastic!

Here’s a peek at what you’ll find inside Janeen Ippolito’s new book.


World-Building From the Inside Out began because of a mistake.

My mistake.

I’d been world-building for over ten years. I’d studied cultures and anthropology at a college known (and infamous) for its thorough humanities program. I’d taught classes on world-building and coached people through the process individually.

And yet, when it came to incorporating world-building into my own speculative novels, I failed.

Over and over again.

My worlds were well-designed. My races looked cool and had neat clothing and weaponry. And the names! Oh yes, I loved making up all those crazy names.

But I had missed one key factor that I should have remembered from my very first literature class: a story is about plot and characters, working towards a goal, and having disasters thrown at them. It’s about excitement. Adventure. Emotional depth. Pacing.

I had beautifully-formed races with no heart. No soul. No motivation.
No reason to go along with my plot other than because I said so.
For some reason, that made for some pretty shallow cultures!
To use a favorite expression from my college days, I was missing the cultural worldview.

Worldview, the essential collection of beliefs that frame how an individual and a society perceives, interacts with, and makes decisions about the world.

Once I stopped banging my head on my desk, I did what any selfrespecting, hyper-planning teacher would do: I began writing a curriculum for myself. I researched all sorts of different ideas on world-building and tried out character builder profiles with pages and pages of questions.

I sifted my way through cultures and societies, trying to fuse together a comprehensive way of building a culture from the worldview and moving out.

The result is World-Building From the Inside Out.

We start off with religion/philosophy. What are the essential moral and philosophical beliefs of your culture? By deciding what motivates them on a basic level, you can then figure out how your main character interacts with them, and how they in turn are products of that culture. Furthermore, it will be easier to create and manipulate conflicts between different races because you will understand their core needs and desires.

From there, we move on to government. Government is often closely entwined with religion/philosophy, and sometimes it even acts as a replacement for a religious system. After government comes society, including family structure, marital traditions, and gender roles.

For the fun of it, we touch on art, technology, naming, and food. These are often the places where you can have the most creativity.
Next come appearance and location. These categories are often the easiest to change according to what the plot requires. They are also the easiest areas to get lost in minutiae that will do nothing to further your actual plot and get that story on paper.

We end with appendices on health and medicine, military, and education. While these areas aren’t strictly necessary, they can have great relevance to your personal story.

So if you’re the kind of person who wants to go deep and build worlds with cultures that can integrate effectively into your plot, then this is the book for you.

If you prefer building from the outside in, then why not try reading this book back to front? I won’t judge.

Either way, please join me on an exciting journey into the heart of man.
Or elf.
Or half-unicorn.
Or whatever else your brain can come up with!

DSC_0587_HeadAuthor Bio: Janeen Ippolito is an English teacher by day, a sword-fighter by night, and a writer by heart. She’s also the founder of Uncommon Universes Press and the author of World-Building From the Inside Out. She has a B.A. in Cross-Cultural Studies, Writing, and ESL and has a passion for using humor and cultures in speculative fiction. In her spare time she makes brownie batter, reads, and watches speculative television shows. One of her goals in life is to eat a fried tarantula.

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