Questions tagged [world-building]

This tag should be used for questions about the act of creating elements for your own fictional world that you will use in your creative writing. If you are considering asking a question about world-building, please consider asking it on StackExchange's launched site dedicated to this specific topic, worldbuilding.stackexchange.com.

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2answers
38 views

A typical American food a grandma could cook that would spoil if left outside the fridge over night [closed]

This is oddly specific and I'm not sure this is the right place for it but I'm writing something set in a contemporary American setting and I need a typical American food a grandma could cook for a ...
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1answer
76 views

How do I introduce concepts of a world in a way that makes sense and doesn't overload the reader

I recently started writing a story set in a fantasy world. However, I'm having trouble introducing certain concepts of the world. For example, the world this is set in runs on a different time system ...
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1answer
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How would one generate static electicity in medieval period? [closed]

My magic system require a source of elemental magic, fire spell would consume the energy from the caster body, so throwing fire ball would eventually tired the caster out. Now electricity would also ...
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Making the mutants in my setting more unique?

Okay, so I’m writing a post-apocalyptic story, and what’s a post-apocalypse without mutants? So, I decided I’d create a few. There’s just one problem. So, after reviewing my writing for them, I feel ...
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How do I write “fantasy counterpart cultures” without being accused of cultural appropriation?

In my book series, the various planets of the galaxy are inhabited by different cultures, most of which are based on or inspired by, at least to some extent, by real-world cultures. For example: ...
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Creating a unique spin on a nuclear apocalypse?

Basically, my story follows a group of 6 people (and 1 mutant human) exploring a barren wasteland of what used to be the USA. The world they inhabit was created through a nuclear war, that led to a ...
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1answer
148 views

Is it too cliche to use multiple fantasy creatures at once?

I've been planning out a novel for a while and the main concept is that the main character is Elf/human/robot hybrid with superpowers and is set to defeat an opposing Elf when she arrives in her world....
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1answer
161 views

Realistically writing culture shock for this character?

I wanted help writing a character for my setting. Basically, in this story I’m writing, I have a character named Christina. Basically, she lived in an underground bunker, in a post-apocalyptic world, ...
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Korean sensitivity reading for a modern fantasy world

I've been working on a YA/adult contemporary fantasy novel for a while and I had some questions about sensitivity reading. The world featured in the novel is entirely new but it's inspired by ours. ...
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4answers
148 views

Building a Fictional World upon a Real Setting [closed]

To save time with world building an focus on the tale, is it justified to borrow heavily from a real world setting and take enough liberties to allow creative freedom? Can this be done without ...
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4answers
162 views

How to care about the characters more than the world?

I have a very well-built up world with politics, religions etc, that I've built up over the course of my writing. But I have recently realised that I care more about the world than the character. I ...
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Fiction Advice: Country's Children [closed]

I had an idea for a setting. I don't know if it has been done before. What I thought of is that a government would collect children. I am not sure if I should have the children be distributed to ...
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Would you advise against having a fictional continent as the setting for a Science Fiction story?

Let me elaborate. In things such as Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings (so, high fantasy), fictional continents are quite often the setting. I don't recall ever seeing this in Science Fiction. My ...
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Would it be bad taste or honoring to name a Starship after historical places, ex: Pompeii?

In my book, Earth is gone and are all the counties and a majority of the population and cultures. A small population is left and they make a home on another planet. Now, just under 200 years later, ...
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I have a habit of subverting certain tropes out of hatred. How can I overcome its negatives without losing the benefits?

I have a deep-seated hatred for certain tropes and a special way to deal with them. Now, this is a loooong demonstration. I have serpent men in my setting. Note though, the correct term is lizard ...
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How to maximize reader comprehension if worldbuilding is complicated?

Parts of my worldbuilding are critical to the plot. If readers don't understand the world, they won't understand the stakes for the protagonist and the failure conditions. Edit. Please don't assume ...
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1answer
107 views

Hierarchies and Role Titles - How do come up with them

I'm looking to see what everyone has used in the past to come up with hierarchies and position titles for your novels. For example, instead of using "President", "Prime Minister", "Pope", "Bishop", ...
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Searching for an author with unpublished fantasy writing for my mobile game [closed]

I would be extremely grateful for any advice on how to search for or reach an agreement with an author. I'm a solo indie game developer, unreleased. My game is a fantasy random gacha hero collector. ...
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3answers
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Will an unrealistic character be out of place among other realistic ones?

Most of the characters in my story are well thought out and have realistic motivations and backstories, as I think most people agree that believable characters are important in writing (if you’re ...
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Character and world building in less than 2000 words

Is it possible to build a new character and/or world in a science fiction under a tight word limit? What aspects should be covered and what avoided? Also are there some similar previous examples to ...
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5answers
348 views

The concept of “Exotic Culture” and the necessity of a new world

A personal point of view on the necessity of a new culture in fiction "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away", "Pandora", "Dune", "Middle Earth". All quite ...
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8answers
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Is it a good idea to leave minor world details to the reader's imagination?

As a writer, I used to write short stories and poems. As a reader, fantasy is my favorite genre. And I am currently working on my first novel, an extraterrestrial fantasy thriller. When describing ...
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5answers
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What techniques authors use to keep track of their cast?

There is a problem as stories progress (especially in never-ending web novels) where the cast of characters keep growing. Some webnovels I follow are in the hundreds! Is there a technique for authors ...
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14answers
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What's the point of writing that I know will never be used or read?

Writing can be a very difficult, frustrating, stressful and effortful process. It can also be very isolating to the writer. Given that writing is a form of communication, what is the point of ...
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Balancing setting, theme, and character arcs: how to deal with a setting that carries emotional weight but is left behind?

When writing a story, how do you find a good balance between the significance of different elements, such as plot, themes, and bold settings and characters, and the character arcs? In my case I have ...
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9answers
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How can my story take place on Earth without referring to our existing cities and countries?

I come from worldbuilding.stackexchange because people suggested I post my question here: My story shall take place on Earth with the human race as the dominant species. I imagine the technological ...
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Should I include an appendix for inessential, yet related worldbuilding to my story?

I'm of the opinion that a story should stand on its own; any worldbuilding that is necessary for the plot and story to function should be part of the story. However, at the same time, the world I ...
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2answers
110 views

Exhaustive research vs artistic license?

I'm working on a post-apocalypse novel set all over the world. I'm fairly flexible on where some of the events take place, but there are often specific requirements on the look, layout, general region ...
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6answers
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How to build suspense or so to establish and justify xenophobia of characters in the eyes of the reader? [closed]

I am asking this as a general thing, be it a race that is never seen but heard about (which is fairly easy,) but much more so for a race that the reader becomes well acquainted with, especially one ...
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7answers
661 views

How do you build a story from a world?

I have some material for a "world" (more fantasy than sci-fi at this point). I've noodled around with this world off-and-on for ages but have never had a story to put in the world. I have some brief ...
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11answers
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Avoiding cliches when writing gods

When writing fictional polytheisms, it's tempting to draw inspiration from the existing ones. In ancient religions (I'm mainly thinking of the Greek/Latin, Egyptian and Norse pantheons) there are ...
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1answer
180 views

How can you make up a convincing dialect?

I often need to introduce one, if not several, made up dialects. We're talking about fictional worldbuilding: so any real world dialect is ruled out. They can be used as a source of inspiration, but ...
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2answers
180 views

Would using Real alphabets on fantasy maps/emblems make any sense?

I'm trying to make flags for all my fictional countries. On some of these flags, it makes a great deal of sense to use a crest, similar to the real flags of Andorra and Spain. A lot of these crests ...
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14answers
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Are wands in any sort of book going to be too much like Harry Potter?

I am trying to write a magical system, and I love the way that wands are like gunfire and how you flick and attack and it's instant. No weird hand movements or long unwieldy staffs or canes to use. ...
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4answers
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When an imagined world resembles or has similarities with a famous world

Arguably this might belong in worldbuilding.stackexchange.com, but the question has to do with a fiction story and its relation to other fiction in the real world. I have a plot which involves an ...
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4answers
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How can I introduce the names of fantasy creatures to the reader?

In the story, these fantasy creatures are everyday animals that most people in the story already know. How can I introduce them in an natural way that instantly makes readers remember their names? The ...
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4answers
280 views

How to create place names that feel like they belong to a culture?

As somewhat of a follow-up to my previous question: How to create a consistent feel for character names in a fantasy setting? Once I have named the characters in a given setting, how do I create ...
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8answers
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Writing rule which states that two causes for the same superpower is bad writing

I've read somewhere that there is this writing rule stating that, for some superpower, it would be less believable if two completely different settings are present in order to obtain the same ...
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4answers
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How can my story describe a world and a society without relying on individual characters?

I'm working on a story which is focused on the conditions of its world and its society and I want to tell the story of its people as a collective, the problems they create and have together and the ...
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3answers
367 views

How do we write a story about genocide committed by a fascist government without falling into the “Nazi Germany” cliché? [closed]

Too often, when people make a story about genocide committed by a fascist government, the story often devolves into a Nazi Germany cliché, especially when the story is set in a modern or futuristic ...
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1answer
245 views

Map-making software

I'm looking for free software, preferably open-source, that would allow me to create maps for my story. I guess what I need is a tool that would allow some measure of 3D modeling. Features I would ...
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2answers
169 views

How many elements can you focus on during worldbuilding?

Possibly related: How can I get readers to accept more than 1 "buy" in worldbuilding? Worldbuilding is a tireless art; that's what our brother site Worldbuilding-SE is for, and why as a ...
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How can I get readers to accept more than 1 “buy” in worldbuilding?

An alternative "Occult Universe" I open my occult detective novel in what is ostensibly a "noir" style, but through worldbuilding I attempt to show that the story is set in an alternate occult ...
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1answer
69 views

Should we write a long prologue if the main component of our novel is the original world building? [duplicate]

So I want to write a book that's set in a very different and otherworldly world, so I thought about it and I was wondering if it was ok to put a lot of things into context. However, I think I went a ...
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5answers
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Fictional races and fictional racism

Possibly related questions: Should I add racism in my book's world or have my world have no racism? Is accurate human nature required for good writing, even in fantasy scenarios, or with ...
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2answers
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Should I include an appendix to reference words of an in-universe language for a fantasy novel?

Context I am currently working on a fantasy novel in which one of the main characters is a nobleman and scholar, studying exotic languages as part of his higher education and translating documents ...
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1answer
4k views

Symbolism of number of crows?

After having read a few books with themes of witchcraft in them (ie. Terry Pratchett's Carpe Jugulum), I have come to want to use some of the symbolism found in those books in my own writing. What I ...
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8answers
4k views

Dead children in pre-modern setting

The reality of pre-Industrial Revolution times was that about half the children born died before age 5. It would be a mistake to think that parents cared less - we have multiple written records ...
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How do I respectfully write black characters in a 1930s Arizona setting?

I'm writing a cartoon script aimed at a children/young-adult audience (similar to the audience of Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, and Over the Garden Wall). It deals with the daughter of a Bonnie-and-...
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2answers
333 views

How do I tackle religion and mythology correctly? Without offending religious people [closed]

Update -- notes on April's Edits -- I added [[square brackets]] when I wasn't sure if my rephrasing clarified/changed the original asker's meaning too much. Please do edit my edits! I'm hoping that ...