Normally when I write, I need to have a starting point when it comes to creating characters and worlds. I’ve found that nothing works better for me than questionnaires! I’ve shared the resources to great questionnaires I’ve used in the past (such as https://www.novel-software.com/theultimateworldbuildingquestionnaire ), but I really wanted to develop a list of my own that I could stick to without extra questions that could just serve to bog me down or provide procrastination opportunities. This list of mine is still in the works, but I thought I would share it with you in case you needed a starting point (or a guide to help you flesh out your story setting more)! Without further ado…
- Does your world experience seasons?
- What is the weather like?
- What plants are native to your world’s climate?
- Are the physics in your world similar to earth? Why or why not? If not, what’s different and how will that affect your world and characters?
- What natural resources and materials are available?
- Are there bodies of water (oceans, streams, lakes, etc) in your world? Can people swim? Are the waters clean? Anything magical about them?
- Famous landmarks?
- Are there mountains? Volcanoes?
- Fantasy creatures? Describe them.
- Normal creatures (i.e. humans, squirrels, frogs, etc)?
- Are there multiple species living in your world? Describe them.
- Who rules your world? Monarchy? Patriarchy? Senate? Democracy? Religious Leaders? Why?
- Were there any wars that shaped history?
- Historical figures of note?
- Is your world peaceful, chaotic, war-stricken?
- What education is available?
- Is there a police force? Guard? Watchmen?
- What languages are spoken?
- What are the modes of transportation available?
- What technology is present?
- Is there plumbing? Electricity? Machinery?
- What are common family structures?
- Do people marry for love or other reasons?
- What does a typical wedding look like?
- What does a typical funeral look like?
- Do people hunt? Fish? Farm? Where does their food come from?
- What foods are eaten? Local dishes? (Check out Supercook for help with this! I love it!)
- What are well-paying or powerful jobs?
- Common jobs?
- Low-paying/undesirable jobs?
- What religions are present? Are there temples or other places of worship? Forbidden religions?
- What does the currency look like and what amount does it equate to? Is it similar to the USD or other methods of currency around the world or different?
- Is magic prevalent? What kinds of magic? What are the rules of magic?
- What media forms does your world have? Board games? TV and movies? Books? Radio? Plays/theatre? Dance? Singing?
- Are there sports in your world?
- What are common legends, folktales, and stories?
- What holidays and festivals are celebrated?
- Any curses or rude gestures or insults unique to your world?
- What are some common superstitions?
- Controversial or forbidden topics?
- Are numbers significant in your world? Do people believe in lucky or unlucky numbers and why?
- Good and bad omens?
I hope you found this helpful! What questions might you add to this list?