MY WRITING PROCESS: WORLDBUILDING

The writing process is filled with joys and challenges, and one item that fits under each of those categories is world building (for any type of fiction).





I like to start my world building with a small stump of an idea that I hope will grow into a massive tree of knowledge that answers my readers' questions about the world they've been thrust into. At least that's how I envision my process. Much like a tree, the branches will expand and a world will be formed from the answers to these questions as you begin your worldbuilding process. Here's how to start.


Government

- Is this a monarchy? Democracy? Oligarchy?

- How are leaders chosen?

- Is there a military? What does that look like?


History

- How did this world come to be?

- Did it used to look like our world, or has it always been like this?

- How has the main character's family history/ancestry played into the overall history?


Customs, Occasions, Holidays

- What are holidays like?

- What is celebrated?

- How did these celebrations begin?

- What are occasions or customs like? (i.e., religious dinners, culturally-observed celebrations?)


Every Day Life

- What is a typical day for the public like?

- What are the townspeople like?

- How is the town setup? Are their markets, banks, etc.?

- What is the cultural ideal of beauty and how does that shape your characters' insecurities or charms/luck? - What are the cultural norms? How do they shape your characters' fears or dreams?


Race

- What are the different races, ethnicities, species?

- This could include fantasy creatures: elves, fairies, ogres, etc.

- What are their prejudices?

- How did the prejudices begin, and why?


Class

- Is there a caste system? If so, how is that setup?

- What divides the classes? Income, location, race, etc.?

- How did the caste system begin?


I recommend building a guide book. Call it what you want: a codex, the tome, your bible, whatever. Either way, keep the notes handy to guide you along as you write. Even better, if your novel becomes a longer published series, the thick binder of notes itself could be made into a reference book for your readers to enjoy.

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