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Worldbuilding: News and Information

Once you choose a place and time, you can determine where people obtained information.

We can thank the Science Fiction community for inspiring the inventions of today from the cell phone, to the television, to the iPad.

What type of written communication did they have: stone or clay tablets, scrolls, papyrus, handwritten or printed books, newspapers, or magazines?

How was information transmitted locally: carvings, cave paintings, town criers, public proclamations, town meetings, or houses of worship?

Did the people rely on word of mouth, messengers, community gatherings, town halls, mail, pony express, postal system, telephone, telegraph, teletype, fax machine, email, internet, television, or radio?

Did they have libraries, schools, training facilities of some kind, or colleges and universities?

How much knowledge of, or access to, the wider world did they have: none, local, regional, national, international, intergalactic? Did they have in-depth knowledge of the past or information about the future?

How accurate or reliable were the sources of information?

Did they have ways of disguising communication: Morse code, codex, enigma machines, ciphers, secret codes, spy technology, bugs, or other listening devices?

In Fantasy and Science Fiction, inventing unique communication methods adds richness to the story world.

In Historical settings, it helps to know how people communicated, what they knew, how they found out about it, and how accurate their sources were.

Suggested references:

1. A History of Bookbinding by Various
2. Japanese Bookbinding: Instructions From A Master Craftsman by Kojiro Ikegami
3. A Short History of Bookbinding by Joseph William Zaehnsdorf
4. Johann Gutenberg and the Printing Press by Kay Melchisedech Olson & Tod G Smith
5. The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe by Elizabeth L. Eisenstein
6. A History of Reading and Writing: In the Western World by Martyn Lyons
7. The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing, 1450-1800 by Lucien Febvre & Henri-Jean Martin
8. The Library: A World History by James W. P. Campbell & Will Pryce
9. The Library of Alexandria: Centre of Learning in the Ancient World by Roy MacLeod
10. The Book in the Renaissance by Andrew Pettegree

Next week, we tackle education.

For advanced world-building, the SBB Build A World Workbook is available in print and e-book.

Other titles in the series:

Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict available in print and e-book takes you from story seed to conflict outline. The fourteen companion Build A Plot Workbooks, in print and e-book, offer step by step development prompts: ComedyCon, Heist & Prison BreakFantasyGothicHistoricalHorrorLiterary
(Drama),  MysteryRoad TripRomanceScience FictionTeam VictoryThriller & SuspenseWestern.

SBB II Crafting Believable Conflict in print and e-book and the Build A Cast Workbook in print and e-book help you build a believable cast and add conflict based on the sixteen personality types.

SBB III The Revision Layers in print and e-book helps you self-edit your manuscript.

Free story building tools are available at  

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