Our worldbuilding meme, originally designed for and inspired by our worldbuilding panels. Brainteasers and questions for Worldbuilding Wednesday, Nanowrimo, or even just for fun with. For use with worlds new and old!
Either fill out and post answers to questions one or two at a time, or reblog for your followers to put numbers in your ask! (Or you know. Do what you want. No meme is the boss of you.)
(go here for more pre-nano fun!)
Thanks to our attendees, Alex and Chris, for some suggestions.
The name of your world:
- What does the name of your world mean? Where did it come from? Who calls it that?
- Who inhabits your world? What is the dominant species? What are other important species? What do their features look like, and what about the world gave them those features?
Life, Space and Time
3. If you were to watch an animated movie set in your world, what style would you want it in? What facets would you particularly want to show off in the art (certain cultures, landmarks, etc)? If you had a live action movie, what location would you want to film in?
4. Think of three natural disasters that could occur in your world. Have they occurred before, and what impact did that have? What will happen if they occur again?
5. A zoo, aquarium, or wildlife reserve gets set up featuring the flora and fauna of your world. What would your locals choose to display and highlight? What couldn’t possibly be contained or controlled by the locals?
6. Some of your locals dig up a fossil on your world. What is it of? What do they make of it?
7. List two different environments on your world, including the geographical location, physical landmarks, and climate. If you cannot come up with more than one environment (here’s looking at you, Tattooine) explain your reasoning behind why your world only has one.
8. How long are the days in your world? The years? Are they even called days and years?
9. If you are working with a world based in reality, what kind of location or environment is your speculative element attracted to? (Kappas being attracted to the everglades, a sci-fi totaltarian regime being attracted to a run-down modern city). If you are working with an entirely new world, what kind of real location or environment would attract your local cultures or conflicts?
Culture and LIfestyle
10. Theoretically, the Eskimos have 300 words for snow. What is so important to your world’s culture (or one particular culture of your choice) that there might be many names for it?
11. What is considered the most precious object in the word? What is it useful for? Is it vital for survival, or is it an arbitrarily important object?
12. Some ancient parts of the world viewed eras not necessarily in terms of centuries or years, but by rulers (the Ming dynasty, etc). How does your world view transitions in time (the equivalent to the turn of a century, etc)?
13. Many cultures have cultural sublties in how they address each other, such as saying Ms as opposed to Miss or using Japanese suffixes based on age or rank. How do your locals use language to refer to each other? What is the most respectful way of addressing someone? What is the most offensive thing someone could say?
14. Say someone was to offer food or another energy source to a local. What would be their favorite? What would they expect? Would any foods particularly flatter or offend them?
15. What is more important to your locals – dressing in a “fashionable” or culturally significant way, or dressing in a practical, environmentally suitable way? Which times would they prefer the other? How does this change over different areas in your world?
16. How would a local in your world explain where the world came from? What type of “bogeyman” story would a local in your world tell their child?
17. Let’s get sexy. How do locals reproduce on your world? Is that act practiced for any reason besides reproduction? Is there another act that is as physically and emotionally intense, enjoyable or taboo as sex? What do some of your locals think of sex /this act?
18. What is an example of a typical “family” or living unit among your locals?
19. What is considered the most serious crime a local in your world could commit? What is the most severe punishment a local could be subjected to by their society?
Religion, Politics, and Economics
20. Some worldbuilders say that the most important elements that drive sophisticated worlds are economics, religion and politics. Give an example of each of these things from a part of your world. If there is no example to speak of for one, how did the world develop so that that facet is absent?
21. Many stories tell of a world oppressed by a cruel government or monarchy, while other societies have a fanatic, almost commercial love for their leaders or royalty. What type of leader figures does your world (or groups of people in your world) have, and what is the “commoner’s” relationship with them?
22. What kind of currency is used on your world? If there is a physical currency (as opposed to a barter system or some other kind of non-physical exchange), what does it look like? How did it come into place?
23. If you were to design a propaganda poster or campaign for a current issue in your world, what would it say? How would you design it? What would a poster for a different opinion on the issue be like?
24. What kind of gods or forces have your locals worshipped, either in the past or present? What do some of the most devout locals do to worship?
25. Religion and mythology tend to burrow their way into the vernacular even atheists use. What would be the equivalent to “for Christ’s sake” or “By Zeus!” in your world? How commonplace or offensive is this? What kind of other swears are there?