It takes some serious courage to create a whole world that is filled
with people, places and stuff happening. When I started my world-
building bible (or Carol as I call her) I did some half-assed research about what should do into it, thinking that I could just make up the
other details as I went along. Please, don’t do this.
*Sigh* I did do this. I figured out some basic races, my magic
system, a class system and even a religion/origin story. I felt on top of the world.
I quickly discovered (NB: Not quickly enough) that I had some massive gaps in my world, it was missing the depth that
makes fantasy so engrossing. Epic fail.
So where did I go wrong? Below are five categories that I should have planned before putting fingers to keyboard.
Problem One: Economic System
I did not think about how money functioned within my world. At all.
I knew what the money was called and that was all I thought I needed. I was wrong. So, so wrong.
To be fair at this point my main character has no money, at all, ever. She lives on the shanty-fringes of the city with her mom, and scavenges from the scraps of the
wealthy to find food. When I started world-building this didn’t seem like a huge
issue. But it was.
People need jobs right? Well in my world-building book, apparently not. I had not thought about this until I was faced with the realization that nobody in my world had a job… nobody. I couldn’t explain the vast wealth of the Nobles or why my
poor were so poor. So back to the drawing board I went.
Some questions to have actual jobs for your characters:
So other countries exist right? And they have different locations and climates? Chances are that they can grow or produce things that your current city/country cannot. This often leads to trade (or war/pillaging depending on your cultures
values). I did not think about this. Instead I created an isolated bubble in which my country lives.
A few questions to answer to not have a sucky bubble-country:
Problem Two: Transport and Technology
Again, as my main character gets around on foot most of the time, I did not think this one through. But transport is vital in a world. It controls
movement, trade, and even communication. Add technology to the mix
and well… I had some serious inconsistencies floating around.
Science and Technology
On Friday I will post part two which covers: Causes of societal conflict; Cultural and
religious customs; and Daily life.
I hope you found this helpful and that you can learn from my mistakes.
Until next time: do whatever keeps you writing.