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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Sci-Fi - Preserving information [closed]

I'm conceptualizing a sci-fi short story. In it, the main character will find an obelisk type object which has been half-buried for who knows how long. Well, the answer is about 20,000 years. The ...
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183 views

Why do authors invent fictional countries on earth in their novels and how do you keep the lie up?

Why do authors invent fictional countries on earth in their novels and how do you keep the lie up? For example, if you talk about neighboring countries, don't these neighboring countries also have to ...
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What's the best documents for storing information about world-building?

In what format should you store them and is there a name for these type of documents? Scripts encompasses everything that unfolds about a scene with a focus on the actors dialogues, but I have never ...
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2answers
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How to integrate a unique world setting in the main story?

I'm writing my first novel which is set in an alternate universe, a place which is set on Earth but in a different ecosystem where story can get affected by nature and might take the reader to ...
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6answers
201 views

Does This Geopolitical Power Balance in my Setting Make it Look Like I am Promoting Colonialism?

Background The book series I'm working on can basically be summed up as a science-fantasy series that starts out leaning much more on the fantasy end of the spectrum but moves more and more towards ...
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Can I leave out details I don’t understand?

I have a situation where a character is locked in a cell for about two week’s time. This is a medieval setting. For plot reasons, the character is chained to a block in the middle of the cell. The ...
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2k views

Dealing with annoying quirks: Long names

In the story I am currently writing, the culture has an obsession with unique names for each individual person. For some poor saps, this means ridiculously long, quintuple-hyphenated names. Of course, ...
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2answers
74 views

What's a high-tech way to open a door? [closed]

This is probably one of the most strange questions I've ever asked. But what is a high-tech way to open a door? I'm at a part in my novel where one of the MCs who we'll call A, are breaking a ...
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3answers
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What Is The Key To An “Alien” Culture?

Today I am asking for something I've been stumped on: what is the "key" to an alien culture? Allow me to explain: I am currently writing a novel about a stuck-up, prejudiced, bratty girl in ...
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Going back in time [closed]

If i were to have a character go back in time, could there be a rule for having only one world exist? So if she goes back in time, the other world would be destroyed? Could that potentially happen, so ...
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2answers
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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
80 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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3answers
108 views

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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11answers
7k views

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
153 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
177 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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2answers
181 views

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
152 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
186 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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2answers
59 views

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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4answers
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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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3answers
155 views

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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2answers
189 views

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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3answers
215 views

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
116 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
235 views

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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2answers
172 views

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
398 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
4k views

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
199 views

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
5k views

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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3answers
249 views

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
6k views

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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4answers
2k views

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
2k views

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
695 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
5k views

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
237 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
191 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
9k views

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
1k views

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
2k views

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
303 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
1k views

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
205 views

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
383 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 ...