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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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0answers
45 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
51 views

Would using the Latin alphabet on fantasy maps/emblems work?

To clarify, this is not using the language of Latin, nor any real world language that uses it, just the characters of the Latin alphabet. I'm trying not to directly create languages/alphabets, as it ...
14
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13answers
7k 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
votes
4answers
940 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
votes
4answers
213 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
997 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
votes
4answers
163 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
279 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
147 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
votes
2answers
129 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 ...
6
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3answers
201 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
vote
1answer
59 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
votes
4answers
255 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 ...
7
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2answers
74 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
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
21
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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
votes
5answers
366 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
votes
2answers
258 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
votes
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
votes
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
86 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
139 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
131 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
859 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 ...
22
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14answers
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 ...
16
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
218 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
vote
2answers
94 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
402 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
80 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 ...
20
votes
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
5k 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
78 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
144 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
107 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
votes
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
304 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. ...
65
votes
22answers
20k 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....
12
votes
10answers
448 views

Writing Unequal Societies (Without Supporting Inequality)

Historically, most occidental cultures (and many other ones) were strongly biased against women. Women were effectively barred from the vast majority of occupations - sometimes actively, and sometimes ...
17
votes
8answers
2k views

How do I know which elements I can use from the work which orginally inspired me?

I recently read the Blood on the Stars series by Jay Allan and really enjoyed the idea of a post-Golden Age human civilization that has splintered into factions and is now at war with itself. I ...
3
votes
3answers
316 views

Writing a Good Travel Narrative

I'm currently struggling to write the first portion of my science fiction story that involves two characters traveling, and I was wondering if you guys had any writing resources to recommend. My goal ...
25
votes
6answers
5k views

Is it Ok to make up places if I want the reader to think it’s set in the real world?

What I’m doing is making a story in the medieval times and I wanted to make up a village and have my characters be there and travel around there but do I have to make everything around there in the ...
8
votes
4answers
664 views

Cutting down story length without leaving out locations

I'd like to write a story and I have plenty of elements for it, up to and including a set of locations, characters and events, as well as some loose sequence for those. This is still a planning phase,...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

What liberties can I take with the monarchies in my own world?

Could a writer make up his own rules, for a monarchy he created, in a world of his own making? My question is whether I can completely disregard the rules and regulations of real-life monarchies, ...
2
votes
3answers
223 views

What editor can I use for world building that has a tree-like structure for my files?

I'm looking for a simple editor to start getting into world building and story writing which is working out fine in Microsoft Word. However, I'm finding it difficult to continue without any structure. ...
1
vote
7answers
218 views

Is it okay to include world-building facts by “telling” instead of “showing”?

I know we need to show and not tell, but is it still okay to sometimes tell instead of having to show it? For example, I wanna let the reader know that humans in my story are actually the same species ...
29
votes
7answers
6k views

How to tactfully inform readers of differences in the book world to the real world?

I want to write a fantasy novel, but there are a few issues that I have with the way that I should write it. One of my questions lies in the problem of how I, the narrator/book-writer, can inform my ...
5
votes
3answers
168 views

Writing a letter from the future

I'm writing a letter from the future to my dear friends, posing as the child they're about to have. The main aim of the letter is to be amusing, but also to give some perspective (you don't need to be ...