World-Building and Essential ‘Law’ Theory

World-building does indeed sound like a grand thing, and it is! You are literally making your own world!… kind of. It needs some theoretical explaining.

Currently, I’m reading Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation by  Mark J. P. Wolfwho uses writers such as Tolkien and Pratchett to explain the theories of imagination, world creation, natural law, and subcreation. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to write fantasy and science fiction!

So what are the basics theories and technicalities I’ve been following to build my world wall?


This is the world that we live in.


Secondary worlds exist within the Primary World and rely on it to exist.

The parameters of secondary worlds vary greatly, from whole universes to small towns or villages that fully encompass its characters’ world… A world’s “secondariness” depends on the extent to which a place is detached from the Primary World and different from it, and the degree to which its fictional aspects have been developed and built.


Briefly defined as the invention of concepts and ideas to replace the ‘defaults’ of the Primary World, such as flora and fauna.

The more one changes these defaults, the more the secondary world becomes more different and distinct from the Primary World.


The importance of Natural Law in the Secondary World to uphold the illusion and submission to the creator’s imagination.

If you break a Law, it prevents the spectator from becoming involved in the inventors world and breaks the ‘magic’.

The imagination in us, whose exercise is essential to the most temporary submission to the imagination of another, immediately, with the disappearance of Law, ceases to act.” – George Macdonald (Scottish Author)



As I slowly develop and build the characters of Souls, I add rules, adjust them, or remove them if they are too restrictive or too difficult to follow to ensure that the stories can be flexible over the timeline I hope to create.


I am still in the very early stages of understanding the theory of world-building. As I progress through the chapters of the books, I’ll be doing more blogs on my own interpretations of the theories and how I am practically applying them to my own world.

Will my interpretations work? I honestly can’t say. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it 110% though!

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