Julie Ann Dawson

Julie Ann Dawson is an author, editor, publisher, RPG designer, and advocate for writers who may occasionally require the services of someone with access to Force Lightning (and in case it was not obvious, a bit of a geek). Her work has appeared in a variety of print and digital media, including such diverse publications as the New Jersey Review of Literature, Lucidity, Black Bough, Poetry Magazine, Gareth Blackmore’s Unusual Tales, Demonground, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and others. In 2002 she started her own publishing company, Bards and Sages Publishing, which produces speculative fiction and RPG products. In 2009, she launched the Bards and Sages Quarterly, a literary journal of speculative fiction. She has served as a judge for the IBPA's Benjamin Franklin Awards since 2012.


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This self-study course is based on the course syllabus I created for a workshop on world building I first held at Suny College in Brockport, NY. Over the years, I've used this information in a variety of workshops to help writers identify weaknesses in their settings and assist RPG designers with their setting development.

As an RPG publisher and speculative fiction writer, world building is an essential part of what I do. Whether it is creating an entirely new campaign setting or launching a fantasy novel, a functional, believable world is necessary to ensure that your audience is willing to suspend belief long enough to appreciate your efforts.

This course is designed to address the unique issues that confront RPG designers and speculative fiction writers. This process is just that, a process. It is not an outline nor a step-by-step set of directions to create a universe. There already exist dozens of resources to take you through the actual mechanics of world creation. Instead, consider it a way of thinking. This course offers a simple, easy-to-follow methodology to employ as you begin your journey into the realm of world building

Content from this course originally appeared in our World-Building 101 digital supplement, which is available for sale on and other online retailers. 

As you go through the lessons, you will be directed to specific tasks. Note that there are no right or wrong answers in the task questions. The purpose of these tasks is to help you develop your setting. 

If you have specific questions or want personalized advice on your setting, you can go to the Discussions tab and start a new topic. By using the Discussion tab, other students who may have similar questions can benefit from the answers. If you have specific questions that you would prefer to discuss privately, you can use the Tasks associated with a specific lesson to post your questions. I can then contact you directly to discuss your question.

Course content

  • Developing a Clearly Defined Logic

  • In The Beginning

  • Developing Your Logic

  • Building a Civilization

  • Creating the Crunch

Interested? Enroll to this course right now.

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