Sometimes you just need a builder

4 min readFeb 15, 2024


Here at BackStory we spent quite a bit of time analysing how story writing is done by the majority of people. We realised there can be a better way of doing things than the mainstream way, but that’s for a different post.

What we discovered is that in a multi-franchise fictional world, the one thing you need above all else is good continuity. Imagine a situation where a group of authors, hyped up on excitement and brimming with creativity, are let loose to run riot over a world and its history…

It could result in the most creative world you’ve ever seen, but most likely it would end in absolute chaos, and leave the world with a million plot-holes and bad continuity.

We came to the conclusion that a new role was necessary to make sure that storylines fall neatly into place and accentuate and augment a world’s history instead of destroying it. So we introduced the role of builder.

What does a builder do?

The most common question we get asked when we introduce the role of the builder is just that, what exactly does a builder do? So let’s break it down by understanding exactly what goes into a story’s development.

Finding a storyline to work with

Due to the way that we procedurally generate worlds and their histories, most of the time, creatives are finding storylines rather than creating them. In a world’s team, the builders are often referred to as the Loremasters.

Builders are members of the team who spend an inordinate amount of time studying the history of their world, and naturally become very well acquainted with what’s going on.

When the team is looking to develop a storyline of a certain type they will often turn to the builders and ask where exactly in the world’s history such a story might sit nicely.

Maintaining continuity

When the creative juices are flowing it’s sometimes easy for authors on the team to get a bit carried away. No judgement, we love enthusiasm, but the storyline being developed needs to play nicely with the world.

Consider the following situations:

  1. Another storyline has already been written that utilises the people, places or events that this storyline is going to engage with.
  2. A spin-off storyline is also in the works at the same time by a completely different team.
  3. A year or two down the line another storyline is developed that preceeds or succeeds the storyline currently being developed.

All of these situations need to be taken into account when developing a storyline in a multi-franchise world, but the onus should not be on the author or editor of a storyline to think like this.

We introduced the role of builder to help solve this problem. While, strictly speaking, it is the role of a world’s management team to be thinking in this way, they pass the buck onto the builder as a kind of representative in the story’s team.

Linking content

One of our fantastic features for stories is our auto-generated time-sensitive wiki pages. When a reader is reading through one of our stories, the story’s development team can add links to wiki pages that provide more exposition.

This feature needs to be carefully used so that spoilers aren’t presented to the reader which ruin the reading of the story. This job is delegated to the builder because they have intimate knowledge of both the world’s history and the content of the story.

Adding data to the world

One of the most important roles of a builder is adding data into the world. This is mainly done by adding new characters and sometimes new events. Why is this an important thing to do? It all comes down to the concep of multi-franchising.

In a multi-franchise world there is always scope to add new storylines. In fact, this is exactly what a multi-franchise world is all about. Lots of different storylines all existing in a single ecosystem.

The key takeaway from understanding a multi-franchise world is to remember that storylines are not necessarily added in an In-World-Time (IWT) chronological order. Storyline A could be set in 1000 IWT, while storyline B could be set 500 years earlier, or even 20 years earlier.

Adding data that is developed for a storyline into the world’s datastream is crucial. Remember that storyline A is developed by one story team, but storyline B could be developed by a whole different group within the world’s team.

So that’s a little bit about what a builder does and why they are so crucial to BackStory worlds. If you love fiction and want to be involved in its creation, but you’re not an author or an editor, being a builder might just be your thing.

If you have an eye for detail and you can think laterally and map out in your head what events are happening where and when you could be a fantastic builder. What’s even greater, is that builders can earn sales commission for their work, just like authors and editors!

Do you want to be a builder in a BackStory world? Get in touch with us and let us know.




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