Welcome back to another post in my worldbuilding series! Today, I’m going to be guiding you through building the history of your world. We’re going to cover both the broad history and the specific history of the setting of your story, if applicable.
Now why history? Why think about your world in perspective from the past when your story is set in a present time?
Every event that occurs throughout the course of your story is based in something that happened prior. Whether on a smaller or larger scale, the conditions of your inciting incident occurred because the pieces all lined up at the precise moment. While maybe all points and questions don’t apply, many will help you shape your world and your story simultaneously.
Remember that we’re working off of this link.
First, we’re going to start with ancient history. We’re looking at where the beginning of written record began and what kind of old tales and historical legends are available. These will give you a basis of how much time civilization has existed as well as some historical events that impact your story.
Then we’re going to actually backtrack and revisit a little further back in history: the beginning of civilization. This question is more to track the spread of people across an area. Where towns and cities built up and why. Proximity to natural resources would be necessary, but what about magic? Did magic affect the way people migrated and settled down?
We then move on to one of the most intriguing parts of a world’s history: relationships. If you’re working with a world that has different countries or realms or kingdoms, what are their relationships to each other? You will need to establish alliances, rivals, and trading partners. Relationships between entities such as these could be very crucial to the way your story pans out, especially those planning on introducing a war. If wars play a role in your story, what conflicts in the recent past have left hard feelings amongst participants?
Don’t forget to think about what languages people speak! Whether it’s one or multiple, you could potentially create development of various cultures and how they have spread out across your world over time.
The next set of questions will only be applicable if you’re working with specific countries or kingdoms within a larger universe. It’s based primarily on comparing one to all of the others. How accessible is this area to outsiders? What kind of resources does it enjoy? What kind of weaponry and defense systems are in place? That specific question is important for establishing the balance of power in an area. Where are the closest rivals?
History is made up of important figures as well. Are there any specific historical heroes or villains in your story that may come up? I know that in my story, the beginning of modern day Fae history starts with the sacrifice of an incredibly powerful Fae queen.
The last questions consider resources and trade, which I will go into more detail with in a later article on the economy.
I hope you all have continued to enjoy this series of worldbuilding specifics and will continue to follow the series. Comment below with any and all questions about worldbuilding!