Questions to Consider When World Building: Part II (The Macrocosm)

Dug this up from my creative writing class…

Science/Technology/Biology

  • What is this world’s relationship to light/dark and the 4 elements?
  • what is the level of scientific discovery compared to the reader’s world?
  • What areas of science have been developed in this world?
  • Is there overlap or conflict between science and magic?
  • How has scientific knowledge affected human biology and life cycles? (i.e. medical advancements, mutations, life expectancy, etc.)
  • How has scientific knowledge affected the place of this world in the larger universe?
  • How do the inhabitants of this world view science and/or technology?
  • How advanced/behind is the technology compared to the reader’s world?
  • What areas of technology have been developed in this world? (e.g. agricultural, communications, transportation, medical, military, etc.)
  • Has science or technology been at the heart of a major conflict?
  • Who has access to what technology? Why?
  • What technology is abundant? What is scarce?
  • What resources are available to build the technology?
  • How is technology used at different levels of society?
  • Does this world suffer from illnesses comparable to the reader’s world?
  • What kind of injury/illness is common to this world?
  • How is injury/illness viewed?
  • Who has access to medical treatment and why?
  • How has science/technology changed procreation?

Space-Time

  • Does this world exist on Earth or another known planet?
  • Is there space travel involved?
  • Does the setting of the story encompass the entirety of the world?
  • Do the inhabitants of the story world know of other worlds?
  • Does the story take place in an (re)imagined past or future?
  • Is this a world parallel to the reader’s?
  • Does this world borrow from Earth’s known past? (i.e. mimics a known era like Medieval, Renaissance, Victorian, etc.)
  • Where in this world’s own history does this story take place?
  • How much of this world’s history must be known to the reader?
  • How has this world marked the passage of time?
  • How does this world view itself in the space-time continuum? (i.e. does it known its place in a wider universe)

Geography/Topography/Climate

  • How big is the world?
  • How much of the world is traveled in the story?
  • Is the geography comparable to Earth? A Particular area of Earth?
  • How has geography affected development? (e.g. proximity to water, expanse, stability of land masses, etc)
  • What is the topography of the world?
  • How has the topography affected development of communities, technology, culture?
  • What are the climate zones?
  • What types of weather systems are there?
  • Are there seasons? If so, what is their cycle?
  • How has the climate affected development? (e.g. agriculture, life cycles, contract with other communities, etc.)

Flora/Fauna

  • What is the basic natural setting of the world? (e.g. desert, forest, ocean, glacier, etc.)
  • How has this natural setting been developed?
  • How has this natural setting been affected by development?
  • How do story world inhabitants view/interact with the natural world?
  • Are the plants the same as Earth or another known planet?
  • What are the similarities between these plants and those known to the reader?
  • What are the differences between these plants and those known to the reader?
  • How has topography and climate affected plant life?
  • How and where has science or technology intervened in plant development and growth?
  • What are the similarities between these animals and those known to the reader?
  • What are the differences between these animals and those known to the reader?
  • How has topography and climate affected animal life?
  • How and where has science or technology intervened in animal development and growth?
  • Have plants and animals been experimented on? Cross-bred?
  • Have plants and animals been affected by magic or other supernatural forces?
  • Are plants and animals being used by magic or other supernatural forces?
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