“Without A Good Question, A Good Answer Has No Place To Go” — Clayton Christensen
Some of the best worldbuilding questions come from not knowing where to start. Building a world is a lot like other seemingly insurmountable tasks. It often seems impossible to get started, even if you know you need to start.
So, where do you start? Well, much like many other things in the worldbuilding process, you can take inspiration from something that already exists.
Act Like a God
Now, you’ve heard of creation myths. Every religion, society, and culture has them. From Gods breathing life into the world to ancient birds diving under the oceans and bringing the land up with them. There are dozens of creation myths and they all share one thing in common.
Every single myth has something that is created from nothing. The Christian God made everything in 7 days by forming it all out of emptiness, while the Greek creation myth starts with a bird laying an egg in a void.
The egg splits apart to become the Sky (Uranus) and the Earth (Gaia) who fell in love and created gods, monsters, and humankind together.
The Australian aboriginals believed that their world was created when ancient heroes walked across the formless land and raised structures and put order to the chaos.
So on and so on, every group of people has its own story.
You need to do the same.
Appreciate That You Are Building Something From Nothing
Instead of panicking over whether your idea is good or not, or getting bogged down in all the details creating a story demands of you, instead just build one tiny detail. You don’t have to have all the answers, just get started and create something.
Think about your worldbuilding questions and then tackle them head-on, because only you can answer them.
For example, if you are wondering what the gods of your world will look like, then doodle them out or write a descriptive paragraph.
There, you’ve created something. Now create something else.
You have your gods, so think about the types of people who worship them. Maybe you’ve created a lord of rivers, so do you have a society that thrives on fish? Perhaps they make offerings and hold festivals to make sure the river always flows and brings the fish to them.
Or maybe the people thrive on trade and pray to the river god to keep the seas calm for their trading ships to travel from port to port.
Now that you have trade as a possibility, what are your people trading, and with whom?
It doesn’t matter where you start with your questioning. It just matters that you start.
It’s All A Bunch Of Questions
As you saw from the above example, worldbuilding is a lot like knocking down dominoes. All you have to do to tip one over is to create the first great idea, and then the questions start flowing.
Some of the best worldbuilding questions can come from letting your mind expand and take in the possibilities. That’s why I believe there are no bad worlds, just ones that can be developed a bit more.
Getting started with worldbuilding is as easy as asking questions and allowing your mind to take in all the answers. The world is supposed to grow and change, and who knows, maybe the ideas you think are crazy will be the ones that cause you to have a bestseller someday.
So, don’t be afraid to ask questions and allow your creativity to shine. Like with everything else in life, start with one topic or idea. Then allow yourself to start on a journey to the rest of the story.
That’s when your world will start to build itself up into the setting for an incredible story.
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