Making a believable world for your characters to live in is just as essential as making three-dimensional characters and bunny-free plot. So today, I’m going to give you all a list of sites that I found had good, thought-provoking questions on them to ensure you know where to start when building your world.
Before I begin, though, I will say this: while world-building is important, it’s equally important not to get lost in this new world of yours. Start off with the aspects that most directly impact your characters and plot, and then move from there.
1. “Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions” on swfa.org
A thorough guide to world-building. I wasn’t able to go through all the links, but the writer of this page makes sure you have a good list of questions all compiled in one place. And, as the author says, the list is not comprehensive, but it does serve as a good starting point. He also notes that you do not need to answer all the questions, which goes back to my original point: don’t get lost in the magic of creating an entirely new world. Especially if you’re only planning on writing one story in it.
2. “Basic overlooked worldbuilding questions” on The Right Writing
As the name of the post implies, you might not think the stuff on this list is important, but it is. Without a basic understanding of the fundamentals of your world, it’s easy to write a story that isn’t quite as realistic as you’d like it to be. Remember that the more details you figure out about your world, the more realistic it will seem. (The trick is finding that happy balance between too much detail, and time wasted, and not enough detail for that realistic effect.)
3. “Tips on World Building for Writers — How to Make Your Imaginary World Real” on Writer’s Digest
This Writer’s Digest makes an important note: be careful not to add too much world-building within your first few chapters. When writing, you have to determine when your reader will need details to understand what is going on, and when details are best left out. The post also includes a lot of questions, many of which are likely quite similar to those found in the first link, but this post has some good tidbits of information. For example, a list of things generally found in society. Finally, the author notes that a complex society is a believable one.
This one is different from the first three. Obviously, it lists seven tropes found in sci-fi and fantasy that have become overused. While I disagree with the “Faux-Medieval Europe” point to a certain degree (especially if the author is simply using Medieval Europe as a starting point, as a spark for inspiration and little more), I do think the writer here has many good points about what not to do.
Okay, so this might be on the same blog as the last one, but it’s a good way to end today’s list. The writer of this post makes a great argument: don’t just figure out the most obvious stuff. Always try to think about the things your reader might take for granted.
We have just under a week left of Camp NaNoWriMo and I’m slowly closing in on my goal. As I’m nearing the climax of the story, I’ve got a grand total of 14,625 words out of 17,500. Best of luck to your own projects!