Shared Story World Design – Overview

Starting a shared world is definitely a challenge, might be daunting, and is hopefully rewarding. Depending on your goals, launching a world can be a relatively minor affair or involve months of preparation. [please read ‘What is a Shared Story World?‘ before continuing!]

Regardless of the nature of the world, reviewing the following considerations before getting too far down the road may save you time and money, as well as spark new ideas for your world. Bear in mind, however, these considerations are a starting place, not a final destination. Not every consideration will apply, and each world has its unique aspects.

And this is not a one-time exercise. If you map out these considerations at the beginning, it’s highly unlikely your original plan will ultimately be the one you implement over the long run. Like any project, your world will have its share of surprises – both good and bad – requiring adjustments along the way, if not outright improvisation.

But then, that’s one of the key differentiators of a Shared Story World, right?

The following considerations presume that you will be launching a world that exists primarily online and that you want to have a commercial element to it (e.g., you hope the world will provide revenue):

  • Funding
  • Genre-specific properties
  • Target v. Potential Audience(s)
  • Mediums
  • Scope of participation (characters, stories, geographies, mediums, etc.)
  • Technology (services/apps/platforms)
  • Submissions Criteria/Guidelines
  • Submissions Process
  • Editing Process
  • Canonicity/continuity
  • Legal (copyright, trademarking, rev share, remix, terms, medium-specific terms, etc.)
  • Commercial (IP, merchandising, etc.)
  • World Bible/Wiki
  • Community (communication, interaction, roles)
  • Marketing (pre-launch)
  • Marketing (post-launch)
  • Piracy Policies
  • World Stewardship

I’ll explore these considerations in more detail in future posts, but this list gives you a lot of items to consider before you launch a Shared Story World or are looking for ideas about where to take your existing Shared Story World.


2 thoughts on “Shared Story World Design – Overview

  1. Scott,

    Excellent mission and approach. I appreciate the connection you’re establishing immediately between creative output (IP) and monetization. This echoes conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues about building creative careers, that is, making a living through our craft. I am definitely looking forward to the movement you’re spearheading here– kudos!


    1. Thanks, Victor!

      Although I include non-commercial IP in the shared story world model, the really intriguing opportunities lie in the commercial shared worlds. I’m hoping to explore these opportunities (and peel back some of the challenges) through this site.


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