Questions to Consider When World Building: Part V (Supernatural Creatures and Ghost Rules)

Creativity & Writing

Supernatural Creatures in Reader’s Real World

  • Is there such a thing as magic in this world?
  • If there is magic, who has it?
  • If there are people with magical abilities, where does it come from? (inborn or acquired)
  • How widely known is the presence of magic or supernatural creatures in this world?
  • Are there vampires, werewolves, incubi, succubi, deities, fae (all “little people” including pixies, brownings, sprites, etc), zombies, ghosts, witches, hybrid creatures, immortals, angels, demons, mutants, aliens in this world?
  • Are they known to the general populace?
  • What is their relationship with the general populace?
  • If their presence is supposed to be secret, how do they keep it?
  • Do they have an internal hierarchy or power structure?
  • How do the internal conflicts of supernatural species affect the rest of the population?
  • Is this species in conflict with humanity?
  • How does this species view humans? Do they value human life?
  • Are there humans with extra abilities such as telekinesis, telepathy, levitation, camouflage, psychic abilities, energy manipulation, healing powers, etc?
  • If yes, where do these abilities come from?
  • How are these abilities discovered?
  • How are these abilities viewed by others?
  • Is there a governing body responsible for either supernatural creatures or humans with superhuman abilities?
  • If there is more than one supernatural creature type or human with superhuman abilities type, what is their relationship?

How to Develop Ghost Rules

Decide who has the special skill/who is the supernatural creature

  • Are they born with it?
  • Is it acquired?

Decide whether you will stick with the canon of pre-existing lore for that creature

  • Will your vampires be pale and nocturnal? Or will they sparkle?
  • Will your werewolves be able to control their change?
  • Are your fae full-sized or little?
  • Are your zombies slow-walkers or fast moving?

Decide how the laws of the universe apply

  • Can magic create something from nothing or only alter/enhance what already exists?
  • Can ghosts move objects? Manipulate technology?
  • Are there parallel dimensions? If so, how do they interact?

Decide on the parameters of the skill/ability/supernatural-ness

  • If vampires are strong, all vampires are strong
  • If angels can interact with humans, is it all humans or specific humans and why?
  • If ghosts can only move things when they are having strong emotions, that doesn’t change

Decide on mortality

  • Can these beings be killed?
  • If there is a way to kill them, does it apply to all of these beings?
  • How difficult is it to kill them? Is that consistent?
  • Is there special skill, or weapon required to kill them?

Decide on knowledge levels

  • How much does the being/super human know about their origins?
  • How much does the rest of the populace known about the being/super human?
  • Is there a keeper of knowledge? And who decides access?
  • Who in the story will convey knowledge to the reader?

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