I mention World Anvil a lot. World Anvil is one of my favorite worldbuilding tools, and I think there’s a lot to love about it, but today I want to specifically review five of my favorite World Anvil features. (I wasn’t compensated in any way to write this article. I just really love this tool.)
This is a relatively new addition, and it’s so helpful. The world meta section gives you a place to lay out the tone, themes, scope, and rules of your world, as well as the inspiration for it and what your long-term plans are for this world. It’s a great tool for getting you clear on your goals with a world and giving you some focusing details to base everything else off of. Plus, it gives your readers an idea of what to expect from this world and your connected future projects.
The Linking System
World Anvil’s linking system works so smoothly. You can link to any article from any other article as you’re writing, keeping everything connected and easy to navigate, and it’s as simple as tagging the article you want to link to! You can even link to articles you haven’t created yet by typing in a name and then specifying what template you want to build from (e.g. “@The Scarlet Wraith(Character)”). It’s super simple and makes it super easy to keep things together and keep an eye on what you haven’t developed yet.
The To-Do List
Speaking of things you haven’t developed yet, World Anvil’s to-do list feature is great. Any unwritten articles you link to from another article will automatically pop up here; plus you can add items on your own by putting in a title, what template you want to use, and notes of any details you don’t want to forget when you write the article; and you can also add existing articles to the to-do list from within the editing dashboard, along with any notes you want to remember for later. So if you’ve written most of an article but you’re missing a couple of fields and don’t want to forget? Add it to the to-do list with a note of which fields you wanted to come back to! Plus, it has a prioritization system so you can see your most important ideas (or the ideas you’re most excited about!) right at the top.
The Public Interface
This one is less about functionality than about style, but I love the look of World Anvil articles. All of their themes look great, there’s a good variety for different genres and tones, and it’s really easy to make great-looking articles. Quotes look great, you can add images wherever you’d like, there are sidebars, headers, etc… I haven’t used WA’s design capabilities to their full potential, but I’ve seen them used in some really creative ways, and you don’t have to know all the tips and tricks to still have good-looking articles that readers will enjoy looking at.
Linked Map Pins
World Anvil’s map tools are super cool. Apparently you can layer maps (which I haven’t had a chance to test out yet, or else it would probably be on this list), but the simplest and yet coolest thing is the way WA’s map “pins” work. Not only can you attach pop-up descriptions to marked points on your map, but you can also set them up to link to full WA articles! So if you want to give a brief description of a given city or nation that you can see just by scrolling over it, but also give readers access to a fuller look at that location, you can set up a pop-up description and also tell the pin to link to an article about the city or nation! (Or oasis, or mountain, or fortress, or ruin, or sea, or…) This is just another way that World Anvil facilitates easy navigation around your worlds.
There you have it! My personal favorite features in World Anvil. If you use WA, what are your favorite features? If not, which of these features sounds the coolest to you? I’d love to chat with you in the comments!