TiddlyWiki as a Worldbuilding Tool

Tiddlywiki is the single best worldbuilding tool I have ever encountered. Let me tell you why.

What is Tiddlywiki?

TiddlyWiki is an HTML-based wiki maker. You can download the tool, or you can work in a browser. TiddlyWiki content is divided into a series of components called tiddlers. Each tiddler is stored inside an HTML division that contains the source text and meta data in wiki markup.The document is saved as a single HTML file.

How does it work?

TiddlyWiki is designed to be constructed and read non-linearly. Once you’ve added a new tiddler, you can connect it to previous tiddlers via hyperlinks (and if the formatting is all correct, TW will even do the link for you automatically). You can also navigate through the wiki using tags and the search function.

Worldbuilding with TiddlyWiki

These features make TiddlyWiki a fantastic worldbuilding tool, especially for a world builder like me.

I write linearly, but I don’t worldbuild linearly. In fact, I don’t always worldbuild in advance — I find it too easy to get lost in the meta and forget about the actual book! This means I come up with ideas rather haphazardly, and often on the fly.

TiddlyWiki lets me add short, sweet segments as I think of them, and connect them to ideas that are already present. I can move through all my material organically, so that the Tiddler on hyperspace flight is linked to the Tiddler on wormholes AND the Tiddler on the ship the Lady Luck, which is a ship in possession of a hyperspace drive. Plus I can click on the tag “fake science” and see all the articles about wormholes, hyperspace, alien biology, cybernetic implants, etc. etc. etc.

It’s in one file, which means easy to store, back up, and share across devices if necessary, but it’s structured, meaning I’m not reduced to searching some monolithic word document for keywords, and failing to find what I want because I forgot whether I spelled the name of that star system “Anuradha” or “Anhuradha”.

So basically, I love it.

Right now, I’m only using it for Salvage (maybe you could tell by my examples), though I’m sure it could be helpful for all my novel-length (or multi-story) projects. I will probably make one soonish for both Princess and the Miri/Oren universe.

Plus, it’s easy. I’m not the most tech-savvy of people – I do okay, but “general internet literacy” is about as far as I get – and I’m lazy. I don’t want to make my own wiki. I don’t want to have to format and link and create pages, and I don’t want to worry about privacy settings. TiddlyWiki is great for that, because it has minimal features (but the ones it has are great), it’s easy to use, it’s not actually online, and dummies like me only have to push a couple buttons to make the GLORIOUS WORLD BUILDING WIKI OF THEIR DREAMS!!!

Ahem. Yes.

Now You

Does this sound like the sort of tool that would be helpful to you as a worldbuilder? Why or why not?

And if you have an alternative system that really works for you…I want to hear about it!

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2 thoughts on “TiddlyWiki as a Worldbuilding Tool

  1. WOOT! I can comment! *twirls you around*

    I love love love wikis as worldbuilding tools. They’re really best when used by very organized individuals, though, because it is super easy to link to information one way, then another and totally lose access.

    The one thing I’ve found, though? Is sometimes I make drastic changes and it’s really difficult to go through each page to update them. I’ve more abandoned wikis than is truly sane. XD

    Like

    • YAY I am so glad that works 🙂

      I usually try to do some notebook-based prep work before I get to the wiki point, to hammer out the biggest picture stuff, but I don’t doubt one day soon I’ll want to make a drastic change anyway. It will probably be a headache :/

      Like

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