Before we begin, let me first say that this chapter will mostly apply to just sci-fi and fantasy writers, since other genres don't involve the need to construct a whole new world. It may still be interesting, however, if you're needing to create your own fictional country or town for your story!
Building a whole new world can be fun, but it's also hard! There are so many aspects we often don't consider before diving in to the creator role.
1 - Plan before you begin.
-Like I just said, world building is extensive. I wouldn't expect you to create as you write the story. You can always add in details that you think of as you go along, but the majority of the creating needs to be done before you begin with the story! Otherwise, how would you know where anything was going to take place? How would you know the different dialects of various characters or the different roles of that particular world?
NOTE: As always, exceptions can be made. I've read accounts of authors who just dive into their stories and figure the world out as they go, but I find this to be difficult and uncommon. If you know for a fact that this way works for you, then go for it, but remember that there are a lot of details you are relying on yourself to come up with on the spot!
2 - Think logically.
This might be obvious to you, but then again, a reminder is good every now and then. There will most likely be different levels of social status, different cultures integrated in the towns, etc. Is there magic involved? Well how is this possible? Is it an alternate universe or was magic brought in?
Everything about this world should connect logically in some way. Even if you're involving mystical creatures or made-up technology, there will still be common sense involved.
3 - Roles and Royalty.
With pretty much any civilization, you will have different social levels. Even in alternate universes, these kind of systems seem to get set up. Even if there's no government, there are still people who hold more power or are wealthier. There will be different levels of education and various work positions, all of which pay more or less and have varying levels of honor in doing them. These are all things to consider in your world, when assigning characters different positions or statuses.
What part of the world they're from may play a part in this as well. If they're from a less prosperous part of the world you've created, they could be the leader of this place they're from and still have less education and riches than people from another place.
4 - Technology.
If you've created an alternate world or universe (for example, the Star Wars galaxy), I don't want to see mentions of cell phones, twitter, iPads, etc. This is an entirely different place. Even if they have similar devices, like phones, they probably would have been called different names.
This also applies to futuristic novels. If this takes place hundreds of years in the future, do you think they'd still be using an iPhone 5? I doubt it.
Have fun with this! If you are working on worldbuilding, make it something unique. Don't just copycat earths inventions and give them new names, but make up some of your own! Maybe in this new world, they've found a way to use telepathy. Maybe there are floating mini-tv's. Use your imagination, and go at it!
On the other hand, if the world you're working on is not very advanced, show this in different ways than just excluding any mention of phones or something. Show them working on lesser advanced forms of these things. They can still be trying to come up with stuff.
5 - Weapons.
Along the same lines, if your technology has advanced, then so must your weapons! Unless there is a logical reason for them reverting back to swords, they should have some highly advanced weapons in the future! Also, in alternate universes, figure out their most basic form of a weapon (here on earth, it may be a knife) and their most complex (What might that be on earth?). If your character is poor, they may only have that basic weapon (equivalent to a knife), while the enemies may have the advanced weapon.
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