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World Building

July 16, 2018

World Building


Yup, this is HARD. But every writer has to do it at some point. Whether it is thinking about the natural world on Earth right now, today, or writing something history based – either in the past or the future. Are there other planets, and do aliens exist? And have you thought about supernatural elements.

Every book has a world.

And every world in a book needs to be logical, to have consistent rules and just plain make sense. Even if your world is magical or otherworldly… there should be rules to your world that will help the reader believe.

You need truth. Does your book universe make sense?


I am still working on this. I always work on this, but there are a few tricks to help bring it into focus whether you are planning, plotting or jumping straight into writing.



  • Write an interview with a character from that planet/world and ask them questions about their world.
  • Write a character sheet for the universe/planet, asking some of the following…
    • Planet origins. (Was the planet settled by explorers? Did the inhabitants evolve from animals? Were they created/put there by aliens or gods?)
    • Are there islands/land masses/continents?
    • What is the weather like?
    • Are there different nations or one central government?
    • Is there a Prime Leader? (President/Minister/King/Emperor)
    • Is there a central religion or many, and what is it, what do people believe in?
    • How advanced are the people?
    • How do families work?
    • Do people work? Have careers?
    • How long do people live?
    • Have they ever had a world war?
    • Are they violent/peaceful/scientific
    • What are the schools like?
    • What are the homes like?
    • Is there plant life? What is it like?
    • Is there animal life? What is it like?
    • Physical attributes? (eyes, ears, nose, antenna, arms, legs, Teeth? Tail? Skeleton, senses?)
    • Technology level?
    • How do people travel from one place to another?
    • Do they have space travel? What are other worlds/planets like?
    • Speech? (Different languages? Can they communicate with each other and other worlds?)
    • Supernatural elements (Is there magic, creatures, mutations?)
    • What do the people value?
    • Any other questions – add as many as you like.
  • Think about your main character. Where do they come from? What do they believe in? What are they afraid of? Write a character profile for each character in your story. (This can help you to create your world – to think about the bigger picture).
  • If magic is involved… How do people use magic? Why do they use magic and are there rules to the use of magic? Who can use it? How do they learn to use it? How does society work? How does magic break/not work/stop working?
  • If the supernatural is involved… How are creatures created? What sustains them? Do they believe in something or someone? How do families work? How does society work? How do Supers die/lose their abilities?

I’m sure there are many more tricks or activities you might use. (I’d love to know what they are, if you feel inclined to share).

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