There’s a lot of detail that needs to be managed, a lot of nuance and content that readers will probably never see. Stack Exchange Network. King, emperor, high priest, president … someone has to be in charge. Help me understand the required level and relevance of “worldbuilding context” in questions that can be answered with real-world science I want to ask in the context of the now-infamous gerrymandering question, which got removed because it did not do enough worldbuilding. Is the working class well off and comfortable, oppressed, rebellious or broken spirited? Stack Exchange network consists of 176 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers. A city under siege is a prison that contains thousands. Helpful questions to create superhero settings. How is one magician stronger than another? The guest? When worldbuilding, consider: The Deep Past: What happened way back when that fuels the present economy, environment, culture, etc. Is magic a specialist, elite skill or is it used easily by commoners? It only takes a minute to sign up. If it’s a gas giant, what’s the atmospheric pressure like in the inhabited … You're responsible for figuring out who and what exists, how days are spent (and how long is a day, anyway? This culture is approximately at the very early Renaissance levels of development. Consider the climates of your world, and where your story takes place. Is the water generally clean enough to drink? Three exercises in worldbuilding and extrapolation. :) The First Big Questions. Travel will be restricted either by decree or practicality. What benefits do you gain from being a member of a guild? Where are we? Culture-making checklist - neitherworldstories.blogspot.com; Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions; Astronomy If your world is more Earth-like, take a cuisine appropriate to your climate and adapt it to your world. ... be working with some parallel version of Earth as we know it. In a previous article — called Worldbuilding on the Crossroads — I wrote about a technique writers can use to quickly create cultures for their worlds. Below, I’ve included a sampling of questions: 20 Questions for Worldbuilding. Nice post. Are there publicly run communications systems? What is the total population (of the planet / the country / the city, etc.). Are these gifted individuals looked upon as boons to their communities: protectors, sages, visionaries? As related to the question of rulership, you need to address how the bottom rung of society lives. Due to the nature of these questions, they are not intended to have brief answers, certainly not yes / no. Are there questions that must be asked or avoided (how’s the family, how’s the business, never talk politics or religion, etc.)? But I also understand how frustrating it can be. You can lend permanence to a setting by making the buildings ancient but still functional. The Dark Side), societal structure (slaves and free), and politics (the trade wars) play huge roles. I’m in the midst of a HUGE world building experiment and this is good food for thought. The worldbuilding process is an important aspect of many genres of fiction writing, especially sci-fi and fantasy writing. As the god of your world, you need to know everything about it—its physical characteristics, the rules, who lives there, the culture, etc. At the society level: jousting tournaments, plays and opera, sports, and gladiatorial games. How seriously does the culture take the responsibilities of host and guest? Thank you. Basics ; What are the physical characteristics of this race? Magic is a complicated topic in fantasy, one that will be a defining characteristic of the work. Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know – An excellent overview of the world’s religions that will inform your quest to invent a realistic fictional one. This… And I know biology. I’ve recently started fleshing out a culture I’m building from scratch, and this will prove most useful. Worldbuilding is an aspect of storytelling that writers either love or hate. I go into quite a bit of detail on the subject of how magic and science interact, but suffice it to say that unless your story is about primitive hunters, killing with their bare hands, you have some technology in your world. They also have their own list of resources, many of which are also included on this page. Are the laws of nature / physics different to earth? There is no limit to the creativity you might employ in devising a non-human race. Worldbuilding Questions! Also, while we have tried to categorise the questions to make them easier to manage, this categorisation is neither perfect nor comprehensive, and in somecases is downright questionable. Architecture tends to track will with the advance of civilization. Do they need to worry about heat, cold, or both? Email Insiders club members get: the J.S. If your world is more Earth-like, take a cuisine appropriate to your climate and adapt it to your world. A: Are there different human races, whether or not there are non-humans like elves or dwarves? However you decide to craft your world, there are a number of worldbuilding questions you can answer (if applicable to your story) in order to help you along: Decide where to start . Posted October 12, 2016 by Jennifer Ellision in blog , Writing / 4 Comments Once upon a time, I was a baby author, daunted by the task of world-building for my fantasy novel. Want Insider Exclusives? You can have your characters eat seaweed and rice wrapped fish, but the moment you call it sushi you set your story in Japan. What's its topography like? Are there slaves, serfs, peasants? This is a short PDF that includes my worldbuilding tips, a questionnaire to help you brainstorm, prompts to help you focus your brainstorming, and recommendations to avoid infodumping. Yeah, you probably won't want to complete all of them. One of the best parts of science fiction and fantasy is the worldbuilding. What topics of conversation are controversial? However, humans developed hundreds (if not thousands) of languages on Earth, so the one language per race trope is a bit simplistic. A downloadable book. Is there theatre? A key part of creating interesting worlds is creating diverse cultures that vary in some way from our own norms. Utopian politics have their place, more often it’s useful to have the friction and conflict of intrigue and rebellion. A: How do magical beasts fit in? by J.S. What environment is the main story in? Describe them. Are they looked upon with scorn and fear, to be driven off when found. $2.99. by Patricia C. Wrede. Are there professional guilds / institutes/ etc? For artists, writers, gamemasters, musicians, programmers, philosophers and scientists alike! 80 Questions for Worldbuilding (A New Subscription Perk!) The first person to discover a creature is either a scientist or an ... 20 Worldbuilding Questions (slightly less daunting) […] Episode 42: DON’T PANIC – Three Patch Podcast - […] 20 Worldbuilding Questions … Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Worldbuilding Questions and Ideas for Six Planet Types Worldbuilding is a massive undertaking. What is the relationship between the different species? So take these questions, prompts, thoughts, etc. At the personal level: Card and dice games, gambling, and literature. That becomes a biological given. Are there topics that can only be raised by the host? How much land is temperate, equatorial or polar? Is your world a place of information and knowledge, or propaganda and lies? Living in a harsh environment and shrugging it off by ingenious building is a sign of a more advanced people. There are two basic types of authors when it comes to worldbuilding: those who plan and those who make it up as they go along. Food names also carry that implication. When speaking with pride about their country, […] It produces the beings you're writing about. Culture is how biology responds and makes its living conditions better. What sort of clothes do people wear on special occasions? Does the culture value strength or compassion more highly? How much influence does religion have in daily life? Is there one monolithic religion that dominates all others? Use this list of questions to firm up the scaffolding behind your story—a great exercise for writers of speculative and historical fiction. Sign up to join this community. Or it could be as simple as using the world we currently live in as a foundation, then tweaking it with a few historical, physical, or social adjustments. If you want to create a culture that worships evil, research notorious cults. Some notes... Due to the nature of these questions, they are not intended to have brief answers, certainly not yes / no. Who dislikes/suffers from/disapproves of this change? What is the system of government? To get started, go to My Workspace, click the New button, and select the Worldbuilding Survey option. Do people marry for love or other reasons? Who enjoys/benefits from/favors this change? I have a background in archaeology, and as well sayanthropology as well, since the two disciplines share certain principles. People will buy what they don’t have nearby and sell what they have or make in abundance. Fear of spies will make outsiders less welcome. In an oppressive society, the rulers will see all the benefits from this. Is it common or reserved for the wealthy? Water Geography – Pretty much everything you need to know about the geography of water when you’re mapping your world. While the impact of events on a culture is part of Worldbuilding, you could easily write a thesis on even the smallest change and how it . The upset to society can provide friction between those who have to obey the new laws and the ones who now have to enforce them. Do they have access to World building is the art of convincing a reader that a fictitious place exists. Which resources are abundant? Lily J on April 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm This is just what I needed to read! Stack Exchange Network. How about rivers, mountains, volcanoes, impact craters? 1. The political structure of a society ripples out across the land. It’s an Earth-like world, but any or every aspect of culture or location names or monarchy names etc. “Worldbuilding” is a term you’ll hear from a lot of writers — especially when you’re talking about the science fiction and fantasy genres. I have a tendency to using multiple POV in a story, so I like knowing what else is going on in society. Is it this or another solar system? Fine tuning the physical and cultural landscape of your setting? If you’re not looking to make an anti-deity statement, include at least oblique references to religious institutions or practices existing. Strictly speaking, anything that happens in that universe "builds" it, so "worldbuilding" is only used to describe the invention of fictional details for some reason other than the convenience of a currently ongoing story, up to and including simply engaging in worldbuilding for its own sake. Yeah, you probably won't want to complete all of them. could be altered. Creating fictional worlds means writing about people – and often that means cultural institutions, especially religion and philosophy. Are they the ones doing the ruling? Culture is a vital part to realistic worldbuilding. If you have suggestions for more questions to add, please comment below. This helps. Normally there are a few particular cultures that interest me at a given time. You may wish to shuffle them around to suit your specific requirements. Democracy? It produces the beings you're writing about. What does a basic pauper’s meal look like? ... be working with some parallel version of Earth as we know it. Morin | Oct 22, 2013 | Worldbuilding | 4 comments, Author at work: now is the time to ask yourself these world building questions. A society in decline lets buildings and infrastructure fall into disrepair, while a thriving one will create new and better, seeking to outdo the old standards. Leave a comment and share with others! This task is easier when the world already exists, but what if you’re creating one from scratch? Are we on Earth or another planet? Which are scarce? Are there questions that must be asked or avoided (how’s the family, how’s the business, never talk politics or religion, etc.)? Questions to get you thinking so you can better develop your countries and their cultures, whether they're fantastic fairytale kingdoms or futuristic space colonies. Generally you can gloss over laws, but there are opportunities to introduce conflict in unjust or ridiculous laws, or even just laws that have recently changed. ), and what these beings believe about everything from religion to politics to pineapple on pizza to medicine and everything else under the sun(s). Did the people evolve on this planet or come from elsewhere? Our worldbuilding tool is packed with surveys that can help with the heavy lifting. For countries, the larger the population, the more cities, the more bureaucracy to keep it all running. Most games come pre-packaged with their own fauna and magic systems. It’s more than clothes and language, though those are important for making them look and feel distinct from one another. Are some foods poisonous to certain people? Buy the Kobo ebook Book Food, Culture, And Worldbuilding: 50 Questions For Creatives: Way With Worlds, #5 by at Indigo.ca, Canada's largest bookstore. What are the seasons like? wondrous worldbuilding — Questions for your developing magic system... 1.5M ratings 277k ratings See, that’s what the app is perfect for. Are there many restaurants? Is there tectonic activity? Apply all the questions to magic if it’s in the story. each month on Patreon. by Amelia Wiens. Are there older generations that think these new trends are ridiculous? FREE Ultimate Character Questionnaire PDF. Is education available to all or only certain groups? Checklist: Building a Culture Is this generally an earth-like world? It’s all about what you and your story need. Your world may be packed with people, such that there is little wilderness left. Other Gaming/Pop Culture Questions (29) Pokémon Biology Questions (93) Pokémon Design Questions (195) Pokémon Move/Ability Questions (66) Pokémon Movies or Anime Questions (20) Pokémon Worldbuilding Questions (115) Spotlight Series (2) Unova Pokédex (71) X Nuzlocke (24) A guide to creating news and media in your fictional worlds! A: Is this generally an earth-like world? World building gives the writer a clear understanding of what their world looks and feels … Planners sit down and work all the details out beforehand, determining the geography and history of their world before starting the first draft. High or low. How big is the gap between rich and poor? The first person to discover a creature is either a scientist or an explorer; the second is invariably a cook. Meaning: Why we’re alive. Different levels of citizenship? Country & Culture Development Questions. Are the laws of nature and physics actually different in this world, or are they the same as in real life? War-like people will make city-building decisions with defensive considerations as well. Are there continents and seas? If so, then there is some culture out there that considers it either a staple or a delicacy. Worldbuilding HOW I DO IT First, your environment. It will probably surprise no one that worldbuilding is my favorite part of writing fantasy. What natural resources are available in different regions? If your characters arrive at a farm seeking aid, will they be taken in, or chased off as threats? You can "toss a coin to your author" to buy me a coffee (or two!) Are we in the past, present or future? Bear in mind that in an old world with few people, the settled areas will be only the choicest, since there is little competition. SteveWrites. And if you like this resource, you might want to check out our Ultimate Character Questionnaire or our Plot Outline Templates. If so, then there is some culture out there that considers it either a staple or a delicacy. How’s the gravity compared to Earth? Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions: By Patricia C. Wrede. It has initially been published in German back in 2015 and has enjoyed thousands of visits and more than 800 PDF downloads since. What is a gesture of respect (bowing, saluting)? Element: Consider … Creation myths: Explain the creation and destruction of the world. Elaborate. Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, geography, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers. Worldbuilding is the process of constructing a fictional universe. A: How do magical beasts fit in? Are there organized religions? Thank you! What was the cause of the most recent war? Other Gaming/Pop Culture Questions (29) Pokémon Biology Questions (93) Pokémon Design Questions (195) Pokémon Move/Ability Questions (66) Pokémon Movies or Anime Questions (20) Pokémon Worldbuilding Questions (115) Spotlight Series (2) Unova Pokédex (71) X Nuzlocke (24) News, Media, and Worldbuilding: 50 Questions For Creatives. Having a setting explicitly devoid of both deities and worshipers makes a statement. Basic questions. Even at a simple level, seeing how people adapt their buildings to their environment tells you a lot about them. It sets its users apart from the rest of society, because the laws of physics no longer apply equally to everyone? Does the government provide social assistance? What took place during their reigns? Country & Culture Development Questions. Are different groups of people educated separately? Who holds the most power? Is it an “alternate Earth”? Worldbuilding HOW I DO IT First, your environment. 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