Worldbuilding is crucial to every story and every genre. You could be working with a modern-day city with everything already mapped out for you, or you could be building an entire world (geography, politics, social customs, etc) from the ground up. It does not matter. Without the setting, all a novel is is a storyline and characters wandering aimlessly through empty space. The world in which your story is set orients your reader and more often than not, draws them deeper into the tale you’re telling.
Every good fantasy and science fiction story relies heavily on the world that it is set in to help readers understand why events are occurring, why the conditions were perfect for them to occur at the exact precise moment that the characters were introduced. For example, what would the Harry Potter series be without Hogwarts and Diagon Alley? Who here read that series as a kid and did NOT pray that their Hogwarts letter would arrive by owl, even if you were already past the age of eleven? (or is that just me?) Without the beautifully crafted setting and laws of magic that J.K. Rowling carefully researched and lovingly wrote into existence, would that series be what it is today?
Worldbuilding isn’t easy. Good worldbuilding is even harder. It takes a good amount of effort to do it right. And it can be hard figuring out where to start. When I started working with the concepts for Chasing Fae, I didn’t exactly know where to begin. Actually, worldbuilding was the main reason I had never attempted a fantasy novel before. I didn’t believe that I had all of the creativity required to bring something original to the table.
Then I discovered this.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers website has a limited amount of resources available to current and budding writers who are not members of their associations, and this list of worldbuilding both saved my life and inspired me to create. It breaks down the aspects of creating a world and diverse societies into easy to decipher categories that each have a plethora of questions geared towards making writers really think about the universe that they are creating. Now of course, this list is insane, and it is by no means necessary to answer every single question in order to consider your world “complete”. But it is a useful guide in showing you where to start and the types of things that influence any universe and that you should consider incorporating.
In this series of posts, I will go through this questionnaire and break down the sections to give some commentary on why various things are crucial to worldbuilding and offer some personal insight into the process. I hope you all will bear with me (!) because it is a very interesting topic and the breakdown will be worth it to anyone having trouble with worldbuilding.
Until next time! <3