Long story short: What is difference between this site and Writers?

Because if I make list like this:

  • Build a fictional world
  • Such world does not to be scientifically accurate (magic, aliens...)
  • (Hopefully) lets use such world as a plot device or ... well the world where the story takes place

It feels to me, that everything above could be also asked and answered on Writers

Several related questions I kinda do not know where should be ideally asked:

  • My hero is about to go through Alien encounter. Any idea on plausible (scientifically accurate) aliens and where they could be from?
  • How could we go from "now" to utopian future to make it plausible story?
  • What technology could my hero develop if they lived 500 years ago?


  • $\begingroup$ This is at least partially answered here as well: meta.worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/214/… $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Oct 17, 2014 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ And while I don't use Writers myself I'm fairly sure from looking at their help center that most of those questions would be off topic there. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Oct 17, 2014 at 16:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @TimB: Not just most. All of them. $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Oct 18, 2014 at 7:45

2 Answers 2


Questions about specific plotting are off-topic on Writers as "what should I write?" questions. Here's the distinction from the meta overview:

Generating Plot Ideas:

Asking to brainstorm ideas tailor-made for your particular story is off-topic; that’s too specific to your own work. But identifying a general scenario which naturally presents plotting difficulties is on-topic.

Source: Is a "Help me generate plot ideas?" or similar question on topic?

As noted, questions about general scenarios are on-topic there, but mustn't be too broad. "What kind of world would enable such-and-such future technology?" won't fly. "What are some realistic ways to handle a ransom drop?" might1 -- or, a little closer to WB home, "what are some realistic ways to put my commercial spaceships in the line of pirate attacks?".

But even where the scope seems to overlap, the focus on Writers is writing, while the focus on WorldBuilding is building the setting. Anecdotally, questions on Writers that stray too far into plot- or character-development, even if technically on-topic, will have more trouble there.

1 The question that this post was about was ultimately closed and deleted (in 2012). Here is its text, for reference:

How can my kidnapper get away with the money? [closed]

In my story I have a guy who kidnaps kids and hold them ransom. After the police pay the ransom, he makes off with the money and kills the kid. What's a plausible way my guy can get the money and not get caught?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I think it's great to have the input of a Writing moderator on this. :) $\endgroup$
    – user
    Oct 17, 2014 at 19:01

The key, I think, is that questions that belong on Worldbuilders.SE are about the backdrop of a story. Things asked here relate to how the world itself works in regards to physics, civilization, culture, and (fictional)history, rather than plot points or dialogue or acts or story arcs or that sort of thing.

Some examples:

Is it possible for a developed society to practice human sacrifice as a ritual?


Writing “X, Y, and Z” vs “X and Y and Z.”


Can two civilizations on nearby stars develop independently but be at a similar technological level?


Need A Way To Avoid Excessive Use Of Subject When Refering To Character

To Summarize:

Writers.SE deals with the technical and stylistic aspects of writing a good story (Or even a good research paper), while Worldbuilding.SE deals with the nuts and bolts of how a world or setting fits together in a plausible way.


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