Honors Program

Spring Showcase Presenters

Sean Godfroy

Title: “The Art of World-building: How to Construct Your Own Reality”

Major: English              Minor: History

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mary Ann Cain (English)

External Reviewer: Dr. Damian Fleming (English)

Honors Program Council Liaison: Dr. Suzanne LaVere (History)

 IMG_5894

Sean Godfroy is a senior in the Honors Program pursing an English major and history minor at IPFW. He has been a Dean’s List student for the entirety of his enrollment at IPFW, and received the Sylvia E. Bowman Award for 2013-14. Sean is pursuing a degree in English to further his goal of becoming a published author, seeing it as a valuable way to hone his skills. Through a combination of peer-reviewed papers at school and small online side projects, he has spent the last several years trying to refine his work in preparation for a large scale project. He hopes to publish a story that can walk proudly alongside the many books that inspired him in both quality and success. Sean has worked in the COAS Publications Office as an intern since last September, and in the Writing Center as a desk worker and consultant since the year before. He held the position of Senior Content Editor at the IPFW Communicator during the 2013-14 school year.

Abstract

The process of creating an entirely original fictional world is involved and detailed. It requires a host of decisions about the physics, technology, society, and geography of the new world. The author must create a map, compose a comprehensive history, and develop dozens or even hundreds of characters, places, terms, and other elements. Much of this information is never revealed to the reader, or even more than briefly mentioned in the story itself. Even so, this information is crucial for the development of the story. Creating these elements requires not only imagination, but also a firm grasp of multiple disciplines like history, sociology, anthropology, and even physics or chemistry. Creating a world is a research-intensive task and only becomes greater as the world grows in size and complexity. Tolkien’s Middle-earth and Martin’s Westeros developed worlds that were thousands of miles across with histories that cover hundreds or even thousands of years. Both are filled with places and events that shaped their worlds, but are never discussed within the story itself. This is the essence of world-building. An author must know every detail of their world in order to show it to the reader. Without the world, there is no story.