Book Review: On Writing and Worldbuilding by Timothy Hickson

I like to think of myself as a competent writer when it comes to storytelling. Though I may feel this about myself, objectively it will be left to my readers to determine whether or not this is true. This has been a line of thinking that has plagued me ever since I finished writing the first draft of my first book and I imagine it is something that plagues many authors out there. Always aiming to improve upon one’s writing and storytelling ability should be the focus of any good author. What is the point of writing if not to tell more compelling and wonderful stories with each new book written? It’s why I’ve come to find writing channels on YouTube so invaluable when learning to become a better author. To hear from others what makes for good storytelling, what resonates with audiences, and more importantly what doesn’t is vital information that can be hard to come by otherwise. One channel I’ve come to enjoy, Hello Future Me, has recently come out with the book On Writing and Worldbuilding Volume 1 by Timothy Hickson. I’m happy to say the book is as wonderful as his channel.

Just like the channel Hello Future Me, On Writing and Worldbuilding focuses on storytelling concepts and how to develop them in a way that is satisfying to the audience. What really helps to illustrate the lessons are the plentiful references used throughout the book. I hope you love references to Avatar: The Last Airbender as much as I do as it’s a great resource for explaining good writing and is used plentifully here (if you haven’t actually seen it, go watch it. It’s one of the best stories out there). Timothy Hickson goes in-depth in each section on how an author can go about strengthening aspects of their story. He breaks it down in easy to digest tidbits that are quick to reference. I cannot explain how useful that is while writing. When in doubt it’s easy to pinpoint exactly where he has talked about it. I especially loved the chapter regarding exposition as it’s easily one of the most difficult parts of a story to perfect. I honestly feel I have a much better understanding of this incredibly challenging yet necessary storytelling mechanic after having read the chapter on it.

What I also really appreciate about the book is the tone of the lessons here. None of it comes off as preachy or demanding, rather the way its written helps to encourage the reader to consider why it helps to strengthen the story. It comes off almost immediately that these are lessons to consider and reflect upon rather than take as gospel. There’s a playful voice to the writing that helps to keep things light and easy to follow. What I love most about this is that it becomes fun to read as a result. I found myself chuckling at some of the footnotes.

I love this book and how useful it’s been for me in writing book 2 of my series. Worldbuilding can be an incredibly monumental and intimidating task to complete. I found that there were always so many questions and doubts when I consider what makes for a mysterious yet logical world for where my story takes place. I highly recommend that any fellow aspiring author pick up this book and give it a read.

Verdict
10/10

Amazing references and useful knowledge all new authors should hear.

Check out the channel here! It’s pretty fantastic.

You can purchase the book here!

Hope this helps! 🙂

– Raphael

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