Created by Kitty Chandler at KittySpace, the World-building Leviathan is a great method of world-building while developing your plot. The best thing is, it’s non-genre-specific so you can use it without feeling restricted by your chosen genre.
Good for plotters and world-builders.
What’s awesome about it?
- It’s huge!
- It’s focussed on developing your world alongside your plot
- There’s a Scrivener template!
What’s not-so-awesome about it?
- Like the Snowflake method, you need a rough idea/outline of your story going in
- There’s no kitchen sink.
The awesome stuff
With 52 steps/tasks, the Leviathan isn’t just huge, it’s comprehensive, covering such things as economics, culture, history and geography. Each step is explained, in detail, so you know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and how it follows on from the previous step.
At the end of the process, you should have a comprehensive world/story-bible.
From step one, the Leviathan has you developing your story alongside your world. This helps to keep you from going off on tangents that, while fun, are extraneous to your story.
I like this focussed approach for two reasons:
- Efficiency. Eventually, I want to be writing two books a year, and efficiency = productivity = two books a year
- Developing the plot alongside the world offers the opportunity to integrate/bounce ideas of the two, creating a richer story that makes full use of the weird and exciting things in its world.
The not-so-awesome stuff
If you’re looking to build your world first and create your story second, find another method. Although you could use the Leviathan in this fashion, there are other methods more suited to the task, such as the 30 Days of World-building Exercises and Patricia C. Wrede’s fantasy world-building questions.
Ditto, if you have a concept or idea but no plot (rough outline or otherwise), you might find yourself a little stuck.
The Leviathan is fantastic as a general world-building tool but lacks specifics. It will suit any genre, but because of that, it doesn’t include steps for things like the laws of magic, the mechanics of space travel or a bestiary. These, you will have to add yourself (or wait for me to get around to creating templates – frankly, you’d be better off doing it yourself, I could take eons).