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How To Start Your Own MCU

Building a shared universe right

By BlankmarksPublished about a year ago 3 min read

One of my goals in life is to create a shared universe of stories. One where people can get lost in and enjoy. I’m only at the first step so I have to ask this question a lot recently.

How do I even start a shared universe?

I imagine I’m not the only one that wants to build a world like this. So this post so to help organize my thoughts and help those in my position.

So take a short journey with me to learn how to start a shared universe.

What’s the Focus on the Shared Universe

Looking at successful shared universes, I found that they focus on 1 of 3 things.

• Character (MCU and Monsterverse)

• Lore and Worldbuilding (Gravity Owlphibia and League of Legends)

• One-Shots (Final Fantasy)

The examples do touch on more than one but when looking at them overall the focus becomes clear.

The MCU does have background lore but the focus is on character development overall.

Amphibia focuses on character but that show is one part of the whole. As a whole, the focus is on building the overall universe. The stories being mostly isolated helps with that.

So when mapping out your shared universe keep in mind what kind of focus you want.

Character is best for more tightly connected stories. They endure the audience to a set of characters they’ll follow through most of the main story.

Lore is best for more loosely connected stories. They encourage the audience to find connections. Each story can be more self-contained and unique too.

One-Shots is best for barely connected stories. They allow for the most creative freedom along with the strengths of Lore.

But this makes it harder to build up to anything substantial. More risk of world-building mistakes.

No Avengers Endgame for One-Shots. A one-off crossover with little build-up is fine though. Dissidia and World of Final Fantasy come to mind.

The next thing to decide on is a theme or arc.

Common Theme or Arc

This depends on how big you’re going to make the universe. Fewer stories will make creating a theme way easier.

So Character focused shared universes work best for this. A common character arc you can follow from beginning to endgame.

One-Shots don’t work well with common themes and arcs since it limits creative freedom.

But if you want to do it regardless, it will reward you with extreme payoffs at the end.

For theme, the best advice is to make it very broad. This will allow for some creative freedom down the line.

After doing that write down potential sub-themes that connect with the main one.

Every story you write after the first can take on one of the sub-themes. In the end, all the themes support the main one and strengthen the overall message.

Here are some videos on theme that I think may help you out.

How To Find The Theme Of A Story - Jeff Kitchen

SYMBOLISM THEMES AND MOTIFS Terrible Writing Advice

But let’s back up a bit, what story should start this shared universe?

Choosing Your Starting Story

This all depends on your focus.

Character focus needs a starting story like “Iron Man” or “Godzilla(2014)”. The character needs to be integral to the overall story too. The main character of your overall story.

Lore focus needs a starting story that thrives on the interesting world. The characters don’t have to interact with the ones from other stories immediately. But each story should further build the whole.

One-Shot is a free-for-all. Write what you want, the beginning doesn’t need to matter that much right now. You can make it more important later when your ideas become fully formed.

Think of “Final Fantasy 1” and how games down the line increased the importance of those events.

This is not an exact science so I’m sure you can combine these methods. Like a character story that weaves in interesting lore.

It depends on your needs and the stories you have planned in the long run. So take the time to think this through.

Conclusion

Those are all my ideas on how to start a shared universe. To summarize:

• Choose your Focus

◦ Character

◦ Lore

◦ One-Shots

• Create your common theme or arc

• Choose your starting story based on your focus

Tell me what you think of my ideas in the comments. Anything I can improve, did I miss anything important?

I want to help both you and me to create new interesting universes. This is one of those important steps so I want to get it right.

With that, I’m done.

superheroespop cultureliteratureentertainment

About the Creator

Blankmarks

I’m Blankmarks and I love magic and fiction. I’ll write about various magic types and concepts not only for fun but to help writers create new magical worlds. I'll also post short stories, writing tips, and more.

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