How to Start Worldbuilding

A great story has a great setting surrounding the plot. How do you create a believable, consistent world for your story?

The genre of your story will determine how in-depth you need to worldbuild to create a believable setting. Sometimes a barebones, “basically earth with different cities/countries” or “actually earth” will suffice. If you’re writing fantasy, though, you probably need to create a new world or at least rules for how the fantasy elements interact with the world. “Earth plus magic,” for example, has a lot of possibilities.

The questions you should ask:

  • Is this earth? If not, you’ll need to decide if your story takes place on a planet or just a country/region of a planet. You may not need the whole planet, but you could name it and create vague areas. Only put the detail work into the areas you’ll be using.
  • If this is earth, what year is it? How has earth changed between then and now? For futuristic fiction, decide on some general events and changes that have taken place. Flesh out the ones that will affect your plot. Have a timeline in case you need to make more history.
  • Do you need or want to create a language? Who speaks that language? Define the people group or context for the language. For example, in the Middle Ages most written work from educated people was in Latin. The Catholic Church services were in Latin. At that time, Latin had a specific context even though the majority of people did not speak or understand it.
  • Are the people human? If not, how are they different? How are they similar? Are there humans in this world? Will there be humans in this world? If you have multiple species consider how they interact with each other and why.
  • What religion do the main characters adhere to? What religion(s) are common among the people in the city/country/region/etc? Do they believe in god(s)? Are the god(s) real in this world? What are they like? What are the religious practices or rituals, if any? Religion plays a huge role in culture and has a large influence on people’s lives.
  • Who is in charge of the government or power structure? Are either of those present? Do the majority of people like the officials? Why or why not? Do the main characters like them? Why or why not? Have the officials influenced the city/country/etc positively or negatively? How?

These are some basic starting questions. As you create, more questions and their answers may come to mind. Feel free to create as much or as little detail for your world as you want or need.

Just don’t get so caught up in it you forget to start writing your story.

Journal: 24 February 2017

This is a new series comprised of past journal entries I wrote followed by some current thoughts about it, if I have any. The reason for sharing a particular entry will vary. Some may be recorded story ideas, interesting events from my past, or some weird or fun thought I had that I wrote down.

Image result for knockerballIdea for a species that is overprotective of children, so makes them live in knockerball-like aparati (the plural of aparatus). Time passes and the species develops severe germophobia. The “knockerballs” increase in tech and soon allow the individuals to do everything, like the chairs in Wall-E for the humans. The species hates interacting with others outside of their bubbles and having actual contact with them — this culminates in a population crisis of some sort because so few members of the species actually reproduce.


Image result for wall-e

I had this idea with two of my friends at a get together where we played knockerball. Parts of the idea were mine, parts of it weren’t. I really like this idea, and wanted to co-write something with those two friends, so I should reach out to them and see if we could do that.

Halphbloods (Species Description)

An interesting fact about this species: I initially created them for a comic but didn’t develop them very well. That comic has since died/been canceled and I decided to repurpose the species and flesh them out better.

(the derogative name will not be related to English, so will be filled in later)

Characteristics:
human-like body, fangs or sharp teeth, multiple possible skin colors, different colored scleras and irises, male or female, multiple hair colors, pointed ears

Found on:
Lekreanfyr, Fohrtiil, Craoxien, Arshilkrin, Ortenfeil, Slyrpfyrn, Yrfsholgh, Irqulnirn

Social habits:
mature at about 20 earth years, often couple with a halphblood of the opposite sex, but may interbreed with other species, prefer relative isolation until mature

Lifespan:
50-120 earth years, possible more or less with interspecies breeding (for example, if a halphblood were to interbreed with a quarzyl, the resulting offspring might live to 300 earth years)

Housing:
often drab colored exteriors, elaborate architecture in and out, bright colored or shiny interiors, sleep in beds of various materials depending on what’s available and personal preferences

Clothing:
large, loose shirts in varying colors, pants in varying but more limited colors, don’t often wear shoes unless circumstances demand it

Familial structure:
mother cares for young until about one to two earth years, the offspring live a short distance from parents until they’re about five earth years when they go on a long journey to find a desirable place to live–this location may change once they’ve matured and coupled

Children:
mother carries a single baby halphblood for six earth months, the baby eats semi-solids as teeth finish coming in which takes two to four earth months, after which they eat like adults; the mothers don’t produce milk, so there is no nursing stage

Hierarchy:
based first on purity of bloodline, then color combination of scleras and irises from darkest colors to lightest, then skin color from coolest to warmest

Abilities:
can interbreed with any non-aquatic species inhabiting the same planets (generally the halphblood has to be female, but if the other species can also interbreed, it could go either way), can see small details far away, can hear far away or whispered conversations

Quarzyls (Species Description)

Some details relating to names are pending an edit so they conform to the language used by the people rather than English.

(Derogatively called Scars)

Characteristics:
human-like body with longer, more flexible limbs, taller and generally lighter than humans, not very muscular, long fingers and toes, soil colored skin, male or female, thick and heavy hair

Found on:
Irqulnirn (Irqulnirn’s ecosystem is dependent on quarzyls)

Social habits:
mature at 15 (Irqulnirn) years, couple with another quarzyl generally within two (Irqulnirn) years — bisexual species, not particularly social, don’t prefer isolation, like living in groups of 10-20 quarzyls

Lifespan:
80-150 (Irqulnirn) years, excepting tragic accident

Housing:
one story, squatting structures, drab exteriors, slightly more vibrant but still plain interiors, mat-like beds after 2 (Irqulnirn) years, most of house one large room, smaller rooms with plant-based doors for bedrooms

Familial structure:
one parent keeps house while the other makes money, keeping house includes gardening, children go to schools centering around applicable life skills from very a young age

Children:
both genders “lay eggs,” but two quarzyls must make one complete “egg” together; incubated in plant matter for 3 (Earth) months, hatch and eat plant matter; one egg at a time, a couple can lay up to fifteen eggs per lifetime

Hierarchy:
based on lifespan of ancestors, then skin color, and then mastery of life-giving abilities

Abilities:
nurturing plants and soil, creating life (plants, in most cases, but occasionally animals) from other non-living things, and sustaining and prolonging life — this is how Irqulnirn is able to support life while having such distance from N’Zembe