Now, I’m no expert when it comes to writing, but I’ve been stalking writing advice blogs, mainly on Tumblr for years and they’re pretty much people just like me who have picked up on things as they go along. They really helped me and now I kind of want to do the same! I’m currently working on a new project that requires a lot of world building so I thought I’d post all the useful links I come across and the questions that help me, in the hope they help you too!
Most important questions:
- Is there magic? If so, what do people think of it? Is it seen as a blessing or is it basically the mark of the evil spawn?
- Name of the world and most influential countries (what is the political situation in those countries)? Also names are really hard to come up so I use fantasy name generators but then usually splice them together. So the prefix might Phixi and then I might take the suffix dor from somewhere else. My theory is this makes it a bit more original and the generator might not spout the edited names at other people. I usually use this one, but this also looks useful.
- Religions? (Which may seem irrelevant to your magical/sci-fi world but religion powers arguments and wars and inspires people to fight. So I’d say it’s an important point.)
- What kind of technology level is the world at?
- Whats the solar system like? (Maybe not the most important question, but giving your world like three moons can make it quirky, especially if there’s a history related to them.)
- Are there any iconic myths and legends? Or depending on your technology level, are there famous cartoons or actors? Musicians?
I find the most useful thing to do is just look at our world objectively. America is pretty much in the news every day, Donald Trump. There’s pretty much no escape. Religions causing wars. What matters most to people and what is that based from? We are a product of the world and so your characters should be too. A good world will create characters almost for you.
So I’m going to go country level now, maybe city too. Basically I’d pick the country you’re thinking of mainly setting your story in and filling it in from there.
- Similar to earlier questions, but religion in the country. How widely believed is it?
- Also similar. Tech / science level. Does this conflict with the religion?
- Iconic figures? Are they political? Entertainment related? Athletes? Academic?
- What’s the political structure like? What do people think of it? How does it effect their daily lives?
- What are the laws on weapons, e.g. fire arms?
- What’s the crime level like and why is it like that?
- What’s the education like? Is it easily accessible to all the people?
- What’s the favourite drink? (I am personally driven by caffeine so I consider this a very important question.) Here’s an awesome generator for drink names. I kind of try to go further than just name though and do some rather weird google searches in to what else has caffeine like qualities. Apparently oregano extract does, who knew?
I’ll probably have more to add later but that’s it for now! Good luck with all your writing endeavours. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole writing as of late.