10+ Questions To Ask When You’re Trying To Build A World

Don’t know where to begin? These questions help get the ball rolling!

We are all familiar with some very famous fictional worlds, think Middle Earth, Hogwarts, even Star Wars – these are fictional places that were made real, tangible, and believable based on the author’s ability to convince us of these realities. But how does a writer do this? Fictional worlds operate within a spectrum of physical and societal rules, making them believable and worth exploring. Authors create maps, lineage of language, even alternate universes and readers come to understand the confines of this world.

A good writer will consider how to create this world by employing logic and emotion, harnessing the power of our own imaginations in a way that allows us to engage and “live” in this fictional worlds. In this video, writer Kate Messner shares her own methods for creating a fictional world: she begins by establishing place and time, drawing out a timeline of history, past, present, and future to help ground events. She considers the day-to-day life of her world, the weather, food, relationships, and technology that is a part of the lives of her characters. Finally, she allows those characters to live in that world, and explores the conflicts that will emerge.

Creating a fictional world that is believable and relatable is part of the reason why the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling have enjoyed such success; their worlds and characters are based in a tangible reality, and we as the audience are also willing to suspend our disbelief and engage in that world. How do you create your fictional world?