You can find ideas for building Story Worlds in different places on the internet.

ki
kiinkiin
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:29 am
Platform: Windows

Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:35 am Post

I cobbled this list together over a year or so and find it quite helpful. I hope you do too.

I have it loaded in my template (see Tips & Tricks) where I can just run my eyes down it and let the various ideas light up both my brain cells. For example, the hero, comes to the threshold of the villain's world and has to contend with a river full of crocodiles and strange, grasping vines. A wandjina spirit emerges from the water and asks the hero a riddle ... (and so on it goes).

These are just imagination triggers and ideas to help build an imaginary world. But 'story detail' is an art. If it is just laid in as a list it can kill your story then and there. Detail needs to be part of the living, moving, sensible, emotional world of the story. Detail should be used as a device to reveal plot and character. A leader who dresses the same as others but also wears less of the 'things and baubles' of office is a 'story light switch' that illuminates and says something about that person's character. A brief description of his clothing also provides inferential detail about his character and role as a leader.

That's how I use this list - as a bunch of light switches to illuminate my 'story world'.

Geophysical
geography (terrain, mountains, rivers)
continents
oceans
atmosphere (density, colour)
temperatures
weather systems
other world physics (living in fluid flows, volcanic ash)
occupied or abandoned planet
magnetic field effects
outerspace hazards (asteroids)
inner world hazards (earthquakes, tides)
centrifugal and centripital forces
gravity effects
vegetation (wierd vines and strange fruits)
animal evolution and types
ecosystems
scale

Beings
sense capabilities (see hear and smell different things)
beings of different sizes and adapted shapes and colours
reproduction
excretion
nurturing habits and instincts
mobility (legs, flight, swim)
racial intermixing
rest and recovery from exertion
intelligent oddities (dragons, whales, dolphins)

Historical
History, relevant backstory,
Cultural taboos, ways of doing things
Beliefs,

Kinship
family tribal and societal taboos
tribal identity
kinship marital systems (monogamy, polygamy,
inter-tribal and inter-racial marriage codes
rituals (births, weddings, deaths, coming of age)
status
fueds (vendettas)
inheritance
succession
religious tolerance
symbol system

Sociological and Governance (maybe these could be seperate items)
Infrastructure interdependence of social and economic
Social organisation,
Main cultural forces (commercial, political, religious, media made)
Social roles/ gender
Citizenship (rights, denial of rights, rights of refugees, non-citizen aliens)
Customs
Institutions (libraries, courts, schools, hospitals, churches)
Utilities (dams, power, transport, water, defenses)
Government (how derived?)
Stability/Change
population density
habitable space
State of Civilization (stone aged, advanced technology)
Language/s
National self image
Social trends (aging, culling, war, peace)
Racial mix (migratory patterns)
waste disposal
policing and law enforcment
legal systems (presumed innocent or guilty)

Resources
energy reserves
fuels
technologies (advanced, primitive)
food sources and types (crops, fruits)
water
scarcity (food, water, salt)
minerals
precious gems
building materials
forest woods
soil
management of resources
harbours
roads

Economic, Trade, Industry
currency
organisations (banking, stock exchange)
cartels
cities
encampments
tribal trading
demand and supply
taxation
infrastructure
primary and secondary industries
interdependence of systems (national, global)

Defense
enemy (type, how many?)
defence devices (tanks, ships, sand galleons)
military types and numbers
intelligence gathering
war

Science, Technology
binding physical laws
time binding (time travel)
metallurgy
power sources (magic, electricity, magnetism)
communication devices (digital, semaphore, courier)
key inventions
trends
scope and scale (nanothech, cloning, singularity, gaia)

Philosophical, Ideological
clash of ideologies
ideas
prevailing philosophies
determination of ideas (loners, religions, power elites)
freedom of expression

Training, Education
exchange of ideas
purpose (education for individual knowledge or industry)
hunting, survival, social roles, ettiquette
serving others

Arts, Crafts
forms
artefacts
useage (utilitarian to decorative to aesthetic)

Sport & Entertainment
liesure
value of sportspeople
origins (olympics)

Literature
myths, heroes and hero tales
influences (as in the Greeks and Shakespeare on English)
story traditions (oral, written, recorded)
reflections of cultural values

Psychological & Behavioral
character’s psychological backstory
normal
abnormal (DSM IV)
growth dynamics (Spiral Dynamics)
individual and group safety valves
brain function and malfunction

Prevailing Dynamics
adaptive and historical forces
variables, chance, accident, circumstances

Relevant world building resources
lists
library resources
URLs

It would be great if others could add to this list. I suspect different genres would evoke different topics.

ac
acollins1979
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 05, 2019 8:47 pm
Platform: Windows

Sun May 05, 2019 8:54 pm Post

Keeping a long list of variables like that which you can assign different values to for each new story is a great way of avoiding writer's block. However, do make sure to keep expanding your variables list, lest your style become predictable and boring.