Writing

101 Questions to Ask Yourself When World-Building

worldbuilding

Take a deep breath. Hold it. Now let it go.

breathe

World building, if you don’t already know, can be very overwhelming. There is so much to think about for this world you envisioned in your head. So, I created a list of questions I think are essential when creating your very own world. Now, some of these questions may not get answered, but they’re to give you something to think about.

Deep breath!

And begin . . .

Overview

  1. Name of world?
  2. Number of continents?
  3. Name of continents?
  4. Countries? States? Districts?
  5. Names of countries or states or districts?
  6. How is the land divided up?

Governing/Ruling & Status

  1. Who rules each section or is their only one who rules everything?
  2. Type of government?
  3. Who is the high power or are there a group of people?
  4. Who is at the bottom?
  5. What is the status rank?
  6. Class? Lower, working, middle, upper?
  7. How do the high powers treat everyone else beneath them?

Jobs

  1. How do people make a living?
  2. How long do they work each day?
  3. What are their wages like? Fair, unfair?
  4. Work conditions? Good or bad? Describe.

Marriage

  1. How old do couples start getting married?
  2. Reasons for marriage? Political, wealth, love, family?
  3. Traditions of the wedding day?
  4. Do marriages last?
  5. How does your culture feel about divorce? Adultery? Infidelity? Polygamy? Polyandry?

Family

  1. How big is the average family?
  2. Do children follow in their parent’s footsteps? Do they have a choice?
  3. Do family members take care of the elderly members in their family?
  4. Who takes care of the children if the parents can’t or are dead?
  5. Is there typically a family pet?
  6. Do families live together? As in cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents all under one roof.

Trash & Sewage

  1. Where is trash thrown?
  2. Is anything recycled?
  3. Sewage system?
  4. Condition of towns or cities?
  5. Who cleans up?

Festivals & Holidays

  1. Yearly celebrations?
  2. What kind of holidays do people celebrate?
  3. What specifically happens during a town/city festival?
  4. What are the special events that take place? Competitions, Pageants, etc.?
  5. How long do people celebrate?

Food

  1. What is commonly eaten?
  2. Where does food come from?
  3. How is it prepared?
  4. Is the majority of what people eat locally grown or not? If not, where does it come from?

Religion

  1. Who do the people worship?
  2. Are their cults?
  3. Sacred places?
  4. Temples, churches, places of worship?
  5. Are their gods or goddess myths or real?

Natural Disasters

  1. What do people do when there’s a natural disaster? Stay at home? Evacuate?
  2. Where would they go that was safe?

Language

  1. Does everyone speak the same language?
  2. Do people have different accents, idioms, etc. in different areas?
  3. What are some insults or comebacks or even bad words people use?

Geography

  1. Create a map. Where are the mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, deserts, oceans, am I missing anything?
  2. Names for these geographical regions?
  3. Any myths about these regions? Haunting forest? Monsters in the mountains? Sea monsters in the rivers?

Dress

  1. How do people dress?
  2. Where to their clothes come from?
  3. Where are their clothes made?
  4. Where do their materials for clothes come from?
  5. Who makes the clothes?

Health

  1. Are people healthy?
  2. What are some of the worst diseases or common sicknesses that spread throughout the population?
  3. How are people treated?
  4. Who treats them?
  5. Where do they go if they are sick?

Education

  1. Are there schools?
  2. Are the poor as educated as the rich?
  3. Do parents teach their children at home?

Materials

  1. Where do building materials come from?
  2. Who makes/forms them?
  3. Is there metal? How is it crafted?
  4. How are materials shipped or carried to other cities?

Transportation

  1. How do people get around?
  2. What types of transportation do they use to travel far from home?

Weather/Time

  1. How’s the weather?
  2. Seasons? How many?
  3. Do they keep a calendar of the year?
  4. Do they keep track of the hours of the day?

Animals

  1. What are the common creatures of your world?
  2. What are the rare ones?
  3. Any dragons? There should be. Dragons are awesome.
  4. Which animals are captured and trained for hard labor?
  5. Which ones are eaten?

Gender Roles

  1. Is there equality?
  2. Do both genders have the same rights?
  3. Is one considered more superior than the other?

History

  1. How is history told? Through telling or books?
  2. What important events happened in the past that are still remembered and retold?
  3. Who are the important people to remember? The founders of the town or city or landmark? Heroes?

Crime

  1. What is crime like? What is the most horrible crime to commit? What is the least horrible crime to commit?
  2. Who sees to it that people are following the law?
  3. Where are criminals taken and judged for their crimes?
  4. What happens to the criminal when found guilty of a crime? Killed? Sent to jail?

Other

  1. Are there certain groups who are discriminated against?
  2. Can anyone be whatever they want?
  3. Are people free to speak their mind?
  4. Is there art and culture?
  5. What type of music is popular?
  6. What are some popular places to relax or hang out with friends in the city or town?
  7. Are there any actions people do that are seen as completely rude or disgraceful?
  8. Do people dance? What sort of dances are popular?

Now let it out.

What did you think of the list? Was it helpful? Is there any more I should add, I’m sure I forgot something? Are you feeling over-whelmed? I am . . . Deep breath.

Also, don’t forget to take part in the Character Poll!

4 thoughts on “101 Questions to Ask Yourself When World-Building

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