Worldbuilding – A Detailed Guide

Hi guys! As promised, I am going to post my knowledge of worldbuilding today. I absolutely love worldbuilding. It is one of my favourite things to do when starting a new story. I had a lot of fun building up a realistic world for my new upcoming novel (The Myth of Kalvartr) and now I shall share everything I know. : )

Firstly, organization is a must. Keep your ideas separated. I use journals and grouped papers for my research. It gets really messy if everything is just mushed together in one big pile.

Okay. After deciding how you want to organize your stuff, you can move on to the categories of worldbuilding. I’m sure different people have different categories, but these are mine:

  • – History
  • – Society
  • – Religion
  • – Food & Dining
  • – Greeting & Language
  • – Ethics/Values
  • – Legal System
  • – Government/ Rulers
  • – Daily Life
  • – Weapons/ Armour/ Clothes
  • – Medicene
  • – Education
  • – Business
  • – Foreign Relations
  • – Architecture/ Natural Resources

It is important to understand all of these things when designing a fictional world. If you don’t know things about your world, how is anyone else supposed know? You can add more if you’d like, such as a magic system. My story does not involve much magic, so I left it out.

Let’s take a closer look at each category.

History: You must decide how people arrived in their province/country/world. If there is magic, where did it come from? Does your world have records from the old days? Was there ever any conflict between one country and another?

These are just examples of questions you can ask yourself about the history of your world. Feel free to continue on with even more questions. Expand and grow your knowledge of your world.

Society: What kind of time system do you use? What family structures? Do different races live together? Do they all speak the same language?

Religion: This factor plays a huge part in most fantasy stories and is an important part of worldbuilding. Let’s start with, are there gods in the first place? If so, how many? Are they good or evil or both? Is there rivalry between gods? Are the gods tied to birth, death, marriage, or other cultural events?

Food & Dining: Do the poor and rich eat together? How do royals dine? What food is present in your world? And what types of food are present in each country/ province? Are there poisonous foods? Are certain types of food not allowed to be eaten in certain cultures?

Greeting & Language: How are commoners and royals greeted? What are ways of showing respect? Is there a common tongue? Do different races have different names for various places?

Ethics/ Values: Which words are swear words? What is considered valuable in society? Do different races have less rights/ different values/ taboos? What is considered rude?

Legal System: What is the punishment for crimes? Is torture legal? Can everyone buy/ make weapons? Who deals with the criminals? Can people hire lawyers to defend criminals? Is there a court?

Government/ Rulers: What type of system is used? Which governments are allied or enemies? Do some people have less rights than others? How is a country’s respect measured? Who gives support to the country? Who protects the people?

Daily Life: What items are hard to obtain? How is waste/ garbage disposed of? What method of time keeping is used? How do certain races feel about foreigners?

Weapons/ Armour/ Clothing: What types of armour are available/ made for different types of people? Do people normally carry weapons around with them? If you have magic in your world, are there also magic weapons? What do people normally wear? Are dyes for commoners or just royals?

Medicine: How are people treated? Is magic used? Is it expensive? Is there a midwife for birthing? Are there schools to train healers/ doctors?

Education: Who provides it? Is it costly? Is it far away? Universities/ colleges? Is education common in society? Does everyone know how to read?

Business: Are there trading companies? Guilds? What type of money is used? What kind of goods are available to buy in small villages/ cities? Are trades passed down through families? If not, how do they learn their trades?

Foreign Relations: Are neighboring countries friendly with one another?  Are there envoys? Are there treaties? Are there smugglers? Which rulers or lords are related? Which countries are connected by marriage?

Architecture / Natural Resources: What building materials are used? How large are houses for different classes of people? What type of heating is used? What is inside common houses? Where are farmlands/ mines/ hunting areas located? Is there conflict about who gets what?

You can also expand upon war, creatures, customs, and various other things. Try to be as creative as possible, but remain realistic. It is a good idea to completely separate races and provinces when deciding what each one is all about. Then you can start to intertwine them together.

Hopefully this post will give you some ideas for your own fantasy story, and help you with your worldbuilding. : )

~ Sandra

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5 thoughts on “Worldbuilding – A Detailed Guide

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. I’m also doing up a list of how to do worldbuilding, but going from a science fiction point of view. It can be used for fantasy, though. Check it out on my blog, if you like.

    Like

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