Storyworld Architecture 101
Since I’m claiming the title “storyworld architect,” it occurs to me I should probably explain what I mean by “storyworld.” No, it’s not a blanket fort made out of old books — though that does sound pretty cool. Nor is it just “the world in which the story takes place.”
A storyworld is bigger than any one story. It is, in fact, a whole universe of potential stories, comprised of all the stories that could be told using its setting and characters.
It’s this potential that makes a storyworld so valuable. When some of that potential is realized, it becomes a story that’s part of a larger, cohesive universe. Even when an aspect of the storyworld remains as mere potential, just mentioning its existence adds depth and intriguing details to the audience’s experience. (What were these “clone wars” of which you speak? What’s a “Kessel run”?)
In other words, a storyworld is an iceberg. Its stories are just the parts we see.