Book Recommendations for Worldbuilding Help

So, does anyone have any good book recommendations for worldbuilding, in any categories of world creation, maps, culture, creatures, beings, political units, etc? I have the start of a collection of them, and I’m always interested in new ones. Note that all the ones I list have at least some things in them I’ve found useful, even if it’s basics.

Available at Amazon:
Creating Life: The Art of Worldbuilding Book 1 by Randy Ellefson: Looks at creating creatures, beings, and some elements of culture.
Creating Places: The Art of Worldbuilding Book 2 by Randy Ellefson: Looks at creating worlds, continents, countries, etc. including basics of mapping.
(Note that both the above do have a potentially irritating amount of references to the author’s website, but they can be useful.)
Way With Worlds Book 1: Crafting Great Fictional Settings by Steven Savage: Looks at basic philosophies, essentials, magic & tech, religion, sex, species, and characters.
Way With Worlds Book 2: Details and Discussions by Steven Savage: Looks at heroes, villains, & author’s pets, utopias & dystopias, conflicts, communication, tools & techniques, skills, and originality.

Available on Smashwords
Pantheon Building by Julie Ann Dawson: Looks at creating gods and religions, for both stories and RPGs
Worldbuilding 101 by Julie Ann Dawson: Looks at the basics of worldbuilding for both stories and RPGs; based on a workshop that she holds.
Both the above are short and were created more for RPGs, but can be useful for fiction worldbuilding as well.

Does anyone else have any other good picks? I’d love to know about some others! What elements of worldbuilding do they concentrate on?


Storyworld First by Jill Williamson is the best!


The Language Construction Kit by Mark Rosenfelder is an essential resource for constructed languages. Very approachable, very practical, it’s a great book.

The Advanced Language Construction Kit and The Syntax Construction Kit, by the same author, build on the LCK and dig deeper into the subject. (I haven’t personally read the Syntax Construction Kit, which came out fairly recently, but Mark Rosenfelder/zompist really knows his stuff, so I trust him)


Also, The Planet Construction Kit, also by Mark Rosenfelder. I haven’t read it (yet), but his conlanging books (including The Conlanger’s Lexipedia, since that one hasn’t been mentioned yet) are pretty awesome, and he treats conlanging and worldbuilding as going hand-in-hand. I trust his worldbuilding material is up to par, too.


Thanks for the recommendations - have added them to my wish lists!

1 Like

Thanks - I’ve added this to my wish list as well!


I found Guns, Germs, and Steel to have some interesting theories to that can help merge geographic and societal worldbuilding. It’s dry, but good for laying things out.


I haven’t used these myself yet, but a writer friend of mine has them all and loves them. This is one of them but there is a whole series you can get dealing with different topics:

The Emotional Thesaurus


I’ve been using The Worldbuilder’s Guidebook for Dungeons and Dragons. It works pretty well for me so far. But I’m definitely going to check out some of the others in this thread. I can always use some more help and the more books I have the happier I am.


If you want to tolkien your way through world-building and create a language…

The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building by David J. Peterson. He’s built languages like the Dothraki language for GoT.


Thanks for that one, naava. I’ve been looking for something by this man. I think he’s brilliant for having built the Dothraki language from just a few words in the books. Hopefully, it can help me to have some success with the languages I’m trying to build.

Oooh, yes, a good book. Now if only I can sear into my memory the whole phonetic/anatomical element, I’d be all set…