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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14
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7answers
2k 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 ...
0
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5answers
148 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 ...
6
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3answers
202 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 ...
18
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9answers
5k 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 ...
11
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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 ...
1
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2answers
98 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 ...
5
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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 ...
12
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6answers
389 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 ...
21
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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 ...
7
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1answer
126 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 ...
5
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2answers
159 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 ...
15
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14answers
8k 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. ...
5
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4answers
977 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 ...
10
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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 ...
9
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4answers
239 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 ...
8
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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 ...
7
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4answers
182 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 ...
2
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3answers
337 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
157 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 ...
4
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2answers
147 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 ...
7
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3answers
276 views

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 ...
1
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1answer
62 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 ...
6
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5answers
635 views

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 ...
10
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2answers
116 views

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 ...
9
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1answer
2k 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 ...
22
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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 ...
11
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5answers
427 views

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-...
2
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2answers
284 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 ...
24
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3answers
6k views

Chekhov's gun, but it's just “useless” background info

We all know how Chekhov's gun works: in short, it's the "rule" that whatever is explicitly shown to the audience should be important later, otherwise you should get rid of it. Don't show us a gun if ...
8
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4answers
2k views

Storing WorldBuilding Information

I've been writing a story and world-building as part of the process. Now it has come to a point where I have lots of information about the world and I need to store it effectively for my own reference....
2
votes
3answers
99 views

Scene & Sequel in exposition or world building

I have been trying to practice the scene and sequel structure, including the use of MRUs and I find it alternately natural and frustrating. I understand that the goal of this structure is to keep the ...
1
vote
3answers
142 views

Fictional cultures and languages existing in the same area? [closed]

So I've got this fantasy planet X, where humanoid peoples Y and Z are at war on an island nation about the size of England, and they've been at war with each other for hundreds of years. They are two ...
6
votes
4answers
169 views

How important is the apocalypse in a post-apocalyptic story?

I am writing a story set after an apocalyptic event that has left only 0.1% of the world population intact. I originally wrote a zombie-like apocalypse but simplified it to a plague-like disease, as I ...
10
votes
5answers
876 views

In the background of the Future

As I've mentioned multiple times, I'm writing a military sci-fi novel. The focus of the story is war, and that happens far away from Earth. However, I'm starting with my MC's "normal", on Earth. It is ...
24
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15answers
7k views

Should I add racism in my book's world or have my world have no racism?

I've been writing a children's novel inspired by action cartoons, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, paganism/Wicca, mythology and Harry Potter. It's a very dark children's book I'll admit, but Harry ...
17
votes
7answers
4k views

Character is an expert on something I'm not

My OC Edward, who I thought of quite a while ago but haven't done anything with, is a professional cyber spy and hacker. He's employed by an organization (in the future, of course) that is basically ...
15
votes
7answers
3k views

Should I make up my own names for the days of the week/months

I'm writing a light fantasy book. I think it will end up falling into the YA genre. I'm considering making my own names up for the days of the week/months. The book is set in a fantasy world, so it ...
7
votes
2answers
237 views

Raising infinite questions without isolating the reader

I've been spiraling down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theory/mysterious event case study videos on Youtube lately, and have been inspired by an Internet scavenger hunt from a few years ago called ...
1
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2answers
97 views

What do you call a self-liberated slave?

In my story, Tsidia is a slave who managed to inspire people into making slavery illegal, thus setting her free. Is there a word I can use to describe her status in a way that highlights she was the ...
9
votes
5answers
559 views

How to write a good MacGuffin?

I backed myself into a corner and have to create a [TV TROPES WARNING] MacGuffin for a story. How can I create a good MacGuffin? How to make it interesting for the reader ? I don't know where to ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

Is it possible to get permanently scarred by the sea? [closed]

My story takes place in an archipelagus in world X, inhabited by people X. In the shores of the capital city of that archipelagus, there is a bay of deep, dark waters. It's supposed to be dark and ...
23
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6answers
4k views

Explaining made up card game

In my book I've made up a card game where I've already thought out the rules. Now I want some of the characters playing this game. My questions are: Should the reader know the rules? If I want to ...
27
votes
9answers
6k views

Do readers need to identify with fictional characters?

On the modern day many people complain about how models, actors are damaging to society because people can't identify with them. Males actors or models which are ''too'' muscular are considered ''...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

Help with reasons for rebellions against my oligarchic/Philosopher kings inspired empire [closed]

The government of this (fantasy) world is made up of a small group, randomly chosen at birth and representing maybe 0.5% of the population. The group are tutored in their homes with their families for ...
-3
votes
1answer
159 views

How could a galactic plague motivate a villain to conquer an entire galaxy? [closed]

A few years before the start of my book series, a galactic plague of a disease called BigPox is going to spread through the galaxy and inflict mass casualties, in addition to setting many of the ...
7
votes
1answer
115 views

How To Beef Up The Middle

I feel that in any book I read or write, the most common problem I encounter is a drag in the middle of the book. What are some suggestions of how to stay on target and intrigue my reader in the ...
14
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10answers
2k views

Which should come first, building my story or building my world?

I’ve always been writing, but never wanted to write something in a world I create. I already know what direction I’ll be taking my fleshed-out characters, but I’m still wondering whether or not I ...
5
votes
5answers
334 views

What if a concept on my story differs greatly from the common trope?

I'm planning of giving a -possibly very unpopular - interpretation to a very loved concept in the genre of my story and I wonder if this could be see as shocking or plain stupid by the average reader. ...
68
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22answers
21k views

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

In my story's world, witchcraft is a respected institution, with the most powerful practitioners being at the top echelons of society. Due to this, society traces its lineage through matrilineal lines....