World-building is an important exercise, even outside of speculative fiction. Authors need to decide where to set their story, and if they use a fictional town or city, it still has to feel real. Still, for me, I find more work goes into the world-building when the first step is “decide what world I want to use.” (This is true for both fantasy and science-fiction, of course.)
For those looking for a good place to start with world-building, Patricia Wrede has made available her list of questions. Questions cover everything from climate to education and the calendar, with magic, religion, medicine, and politics along the way. I have never actually answered all of her questions, not even all of the questions in any one section. However, I have used them as a starting point to think about what some of the issues are that I want to get clear before I write.
Some people don’t do their world-building first; they start writing, look at what they’ve put into place, and look at implications.
However one builds worlds, the hope is for a coherent, cohesive whole at the end, one that allows the reader to sink into the world. What are some of your favorite books for that immersive feel? If you write, how do you go about planning your world?
This is a post for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is epic fantasy, and blog posts will cover authors, books, tropes, themes, or anything else I can think of to fill the alphabet. Check out some of the other bloggers participating or follow my blog by e-mail if you like what you’ve read.