World building is either one of the greatest things to write in a story or it’s the worst. To help you stay on track and knock out any issues, check out this Top 10 World Building Tips!

  1. Location, Location, Location – The world is a beautiful wide place but we’ll never know what your world looks like if you don’t tell us where your protagonist lives. Are they by the sea? Do they dwell in the desert? Are the woodlands the place that they call home? Every location has it’s pros and cons. When shaping your world, try to visualize where the protagonist is established. You don’t have to wax poetic about every flower on every tree but nail down the big stuff. If they live in the plains, are thunderstorms and powerful winds a concern? If they are by sea then do they participate do they play on the dunes? If they are by a large forest, have they been told all their lives to be afraid of the beasts that dwell there? Your protagonists home base is important beyond words. It is the baseline in which they will judge everything else.
  2. Money? What is Money? – Love is all you need but money pays the bills. How does your world’s economy work? Do they use paper bills and coins? Is it credits? Is it trade only? How are people paid and what are the general costs of things? You don’t have to create an entire economy on the spot but it is something to keep in mind once you have characters in need of supplies.
  3. People and Conflicts – If history has taught me anything, it’s that people can start a fight over anything. If there are people fighting, the most important question to ask is why? And never forget that the conflict, no matter how big or small, there will always be a group trying to bridge the gap. Are those people still welcomed into their community? Does it cause further conflict? Are they making any headway at all? Everyone wants peace but it’s usually on their terms, think about how your conflict will or could end. Is it an equal on both sides or does one come out on top?
  4. Courting and Sweet Romance – Every part of the world has a different idea on what constitutes as a good mate and proper dating etiquette. How do your young lovers meet each other? Are there balls to be introduced into the dating pool? Is it you catch someone’s eye and then you hang out? Do you have to wrestle a legendary monster to be able to date? How do they know that they are now a serious couple? Is a marriage proposal done by the gifting of a beautiful ring or is by tackling a task together as a couple?
  5. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder – The human standards of beauty have shifted over the years and everyone has their own definition of beautiful. What is gorgeous to an Elf might be hideous to a Dwarf. The same goes for any person or creature or race. Beauty is highly subjective. Thin isn’t always in, muscles aren’t always attractive, intelligence could mean nothing if they don’t know how to defend themselves, and no one could want a witch or a wizard who doesn’t know how to fly a broom. What are the standards in your world?
  6. Weapons – The basic form of weapons doesn’t really change. A sword is still a point sharp thing that can stab people, a hammer is still a hammer, and a mace is will still leave all those sharp painful holes in your head at the end of the day. What doesn’t really change is how people use these weapons, how they decorate them, the preservation of them, and how they are treated when they are broken in battle. Does a broken blade still get fixed but treated as a token of a mistake? After the battle is won, does the hammer find it’s home over the mantle? Is the mace passed down through the generations? Are specific animals reserved for certain weapons? A hawk can only be put upon a bow just like a bear is only put on the handle of a hammer?
  7. Family and Friends – If there is one trope that I love, it is the Found Family Trope. Nothing makes me smile like seeing a total group of strangers come together and essentially adopt each other. What kind of emphasis is put on families and what does the normal family look like? Is it mom, dad, brother, sister, and then you? Or is it mom, mom, brother, and you? Dad and Dad? Only Mom? Only Dad? The best Aunt ever? Are the kids raised by the grandparents while the parents are out fighting evil? Or is it more of a communal where everyone raises everyone?
  8. Death and Mourning – Life happens and so does death. People die from a wide variety and people and cultures react in different ways. Is a suicide condemned or is it treated as a warrior losing a battle? Do people sequestered the sick and elderly away to avoid seeing the inevitable future or is it embraced along with their eventual deaths? When a person dies are they cremated or buried? Is there a designated mourning period or when a person dies is it forbidden to speak about them?
  9. There Are No Therapists – If you’ve noticed anything in the fantasy world, it looks like there are no social services. Kids are left to their own devices to fight off the worst evil in the land, people are regularly traumatized but never get any help. PTSD is common for soldiers and civilians alike. You would think with so many social problems and mental health crises that some form of mental health resources would be made available but nope. Nada. Not even an option. The characters have to deal with their own issues by themselves without any help. Not to say that it can’t be done but when there’s a demand, a supply will be made available. How is mental health handled in your world?
  10. Democracy, Theocracy, and all the Acys -Whether your world is run by an equal vote for everyone, by their religion, or the aristocracy, the world has to be run by something or someone. Like everything else in life, each government system has it’s ups and downs and there is always some group that gets the short stick of everything. Does your character belong to the upper class and is free from the strive that the lower class experiences on a daily basis? Is it possible for a member of the lower class to rise up? Or is there a system in place to keep them in their place?

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