Writer Workflow Guide

World Anvil has a wealth of features, so many, in fact, that your first exploration of it can be intimidating! Worry not, writers, this is the tutorial for you on how to use World Anvil’s toolset in the way that best complements your projects.

This tutorial is written with the assumption that you are writing industry standard, long-form, prose and scripts. Even if you aren’t, read through this anyway—it likely has a lot of what you’ll need to get started! If we don’t have you covered, leave a comment below and we’ll see what we can come up with for you!

Now, let’s dive right into it. I’m going to assume you’ve only just made your account and came here looking for guidance. If that’s not the case, and you already know your way around, feel free to jump ahead to Managing Your Content, I’ll meet you there!

Getting Started

Orientation

Alright, let’s take it from the top!

World Anvil is a platform for writers, artists, game masters, roleplayers, and world builders. Each tool within it is designed to be used by most, if not all, of those. If you ever find yourself saying “wait, this doesn't seem like a writing feature!” you may have stumbled across a feature geared towards another type of user. Don’t let that dissuade you! World Anvil is rife with examples of users putting the tools to work in ways we would never have dreamed!

World Anvil is divided into the Presentation Interface and the Authoring Panel. At this very moment, you are on the Presentation Interface of the World Anvil Codex. This is the part of the world meant for others to read. The other side of it, the Authoring Panel, is the editor I wrote it on, and what you likely caught a glimpse of before coming here.

The Authoring Panel is divided into the Sidebar, the Navigation Bar, and the Page Contents.

Click on the highlighted regions of the image below to explore the Authoring Panel.

An intro from the Founders


The Sidebar, on the left, allows you to access all the different tools.

The Navigation Bar, at the top, is a quick way to access Artemis, the Codex, the Discord, your notifications, and your account.

The Page Contents are where you’ll spend most of your time doing your work!

Speaking of work, let’s get you a workspace, shall we?

Advanced Navigation

You can also navigate using the Artemis Dynamic Search. It puts everything at your fingertips!

Click here to learn more.

Managing your Content

You can dive into any aspect of World Anvil, but since we're sticking to a Workflow, let's begin by organizing a bit of structure!

Everything in World Anvil is organized using Categories and Articles. These are comparable to Folders and Files on your computer, albeit with a few added benefits! Categories may be used to organize beats into chapters, chapters into books, or even books into sagas. They also have some additional options for showcasing your content that we'll cover below.

Categories

athena category creation small.gif

To create a Category, navigate to the Articles & Categories Manager interface of your world. use the Add a new category pannel on the left column to quickly create a new category. You can get more information on how to use this interface in the Guide to the Articles & Categories Manager.

How you name and organize your categories affects how visitors to your world will traverse it. Your world's front page loads with all categories collapsed, so the top-most level of your category hierarchy is what they will see first. What would you want to see, as a visitor?

Don't be afraid to experiment. Don't expect perfection on the first try. Ultimately, your best feedback is going to come from your readers and your gut instinct. Name things in a way that would make you want to click them if you were visiting your page as a stranger.

My own setting, Ethnis, is for both RPGs and Narratives, so I created a category called The Narrative Universe and added a category underneath for each story. As you can see by the screenshot, I also nested in some categories for Characters, Organizations, and Locations, as well as a category for storing my chapters in.

There's much more you can do with categories; we'll loop back around to them under Advanced Tactics.

Example

Ethnis ToC

Once you've created your categories, we can start populating them with articles, which are your content.

Articles

Anything you want to write about or take notes on should go into an article (although you can also use the Notebook for ideas or quick notes). Let's take some of your writing and make an article out of it, shall we? Don't worry if you don't have any writing ready—you can get some easy filler text here.

Head on over to the Create page. You can reach this by clicking your World's name in the Sidebar of the Authoring Panel, then clicking the button that says create.

This will bring you to a page with a tiling of article templates. Each template is chock full of fields to prompt you on the related subject matter. Hover each tile to learn more about it, and if you're ever confused, you can stick to the Generic Article template! Keep in mind that you do not have to use every field in a template—if you don't fill it out, it won't appear on the presentation!

There are two templates catered to Writers: the Plot template and the Prose template.

Navigation

Create Page Navigation
Click for fullsize

Plot Template

Plot templates are great for tracking what happens in a story. They can be nested into each other to form increasingly granular components of storytelling—sagas containing books containing parts containing chapters containing beats, or however you wish to name and stack them. The prompts of he Plot template are robust—I recommend just creating a Plot article and reading the options within!

Prose Template

Prose articles come with a unique presentation optimized for readers.

Click the Prose Article Template. This will bring you to an editor for a new Prose article. Along the top of the editor is a series of tabs that allow you to configure different aspects of the article, but let's keep our focus on the Prose tab, which is the first tab in the series and the one appears on first load.

Title your article, put some content in the box marked Prose, and save the article. If you leave 'This is a Draft' checked, the article will remain inaccessable to anyone but yourself and your Co-Authors, so be sure to uncheck it before you save if you want to share it!

And just like that, you've created an article.

Sprucing It Up

Spruce up your article by going to the design tab and choosing a cover image for it.

You can also format your text with BBCode and, if you're a member of The Worldbuilder's Guild, you can add a lick of paint to your whole Codex with CSS Formatting.

Categorizing your Article

If you were to go to your front page at this point, you would see that your Prose article is filed under "Uncategorized" in your table of contents. After all the setup we did for your categories, that's not what we want!

To fix this, go back to article editor and, under Navigation, set which category you want it nested under. For a faster, more fluid way to reorganize your world's hierarchy, go back to the article tree page and drag articles and categories around to change how they nest.

You may nest categories and articles under articles, and you may nest articles under articles, but you cannot nest categories under articles. Articles under categories can be collapsed, articles under articles cannot!

Linking articles together

One of the great strengths of World Anvil is its ability to link articles together quickly and easily. You can do this within text using the Mention System.

You can also set up a reading order from the Navigation tab of any article. You can set a next and previous article, and when readers reach the end of that article will have a nice little navigator that takes them to the next page. This is useful for linking chapters together!

And that's that!

Congrats, you now have the basics of how to upload and organize your content as a writer!

Of course, World Anvil has a wealth of other features. I suggest playing around and, if you find something that intrigues you, searching in this codex for a bit of writing about it. If you can't find anything, leave a comment on Request a Guide and I'll respond as soon as I can!

Stick around. I'll dive into some advanced tactics next.

Advanced Tactics—Making It Shine

In this section, I'll again be using an example from my setting to show you the potential of World Anvil. Do mind that the following image represents quite a bit of trial and error setting things up to look how I want. To replicate it will take time and a willingness to master some of the tools World Anvil has to offer, and to fully match it you will need a Guild Membership.

Sample Landing Page

Landing Page: All of the above is the presentation of a category. Within every category you can add content to help contextualize the category and what it stands for, effectively turning it into a landing page.

Structure: As you can see to the right, The Hive is a category under The Narrative Universe, and has a category underneath it for the RPG module and for the story of The Hive itself. Under the story is the 16 chapters of the story itself.

Book Covers: Within the editor of each category, off to the right under a collapse labeled Category Presentation Snippets you will find a few BBCode blocks. If you copy the Book Widget and post it anywhere in a category or article, it will show there, book-cover shaped. You can set the image it uses from the Display tab of that Category's editor. Above, I have embedded the two books in the description of the parent category. Now, when I want to introduce a newcomer to The Hive I only need to link them this page.


———Guild-Only Features———

rank-grandmaster
Category Layout
Click for Full

Grandmaster Subscribers of The Worldbuilder's Guild get several additional fields that they can fill out in a category, as well as full control of the layout of those fields, and of the existing fields, through a drag-n-drop interface.

Use this to create the exact-perfect landing pages for your projects and to showcase your accomplishments and stories.

Hive TOC

Monetizing

In a perfect world, money would not be a concern. Until we're in that perfect world, however, it's nice to have our creative works recoup the time and money spent on them, and perhaps even to be able to live entirely on the fruits of our creative persuits.

World Anvil has you covered, there. Guild Members have an ever-growing arsenal of tools at hand for monetizing their content. Let's cover some of them here!

Privacy Subscriptions Passwords

Other Considerations

Microfiction

Longform Fiction

https://blog.worldanvil.com/2020/02/07/get-started-with-world-anvil-a-world-anvil-tutorial/


Comments

Author's Notes

Special thanks to BlackThursday29GER, Ondo Alvellë, Agras, and Kahuna The Elder for the helpful feedback in writing this!


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