No matter if you create a story within a real or fictional place, you need to know some things about your chosen place to create an as genuine setting for your story as possible. As a means of help you can use some of the questions below when developing your story. Write down the name of your chosen place at the top of a paper (physical or virtual) and use the questions below as a guide to explore your chosen place. Use them as a means to brainstorm, do research, or just to get inspiration.
- What does the landscape look like? (Mountains, moors, lakes, oceans, a desert, a rainforest, perhaps another planet?)
- What’s the climate like? (Hot, cold, windy, rainy, does it change depending on what season it is?)
- What kinds of plants grow here? (A tip: if you have chosen a real place you can Google plants that grow there, and if you’re creating a fictional world you can get some inspiration by searching for plants that grow in a specific climate that match your fictional place.)
- What kinds of animals are present? (Here you can also Google what animals are found in your chosen place if it is real, or search for animals found in a specific climate to use for your fictional world.)
- What kinds of clothing are in style? (This is specifically important if you write a historical romance, or another story set in a historical place, but it can also be important if you create a fictional world and want to enrich the cultures.)
- What types of food are common? (Remember that many places in our world have their traditional foods, and if you’re creating a fictional world you can have traditional foods as well.)
- What moral and religious values define the character’s world views? (If you are creating a fictional world you can draw some inspiration from our world as well as create something entirely new and different.)
- What language/languages does your characters speak in this world? (If you create a fictional world with made up languages you can write down what those languages sound like when spoken, and/or you can even list some words in those languages if you’ve come that far in the creating process.)
- What forms of long-distance communication are used? (Cellphones, telegrams, homing pigeons?)
- What modes of transportation are available? (Horse and carriage, palanquins, trains, cars, airplanes?)
I hope these questions will serve you well in the process of building the world of your story.
What other type of questions do you use when researching and/or creating a world for your stories?
Want to know more? Check out the book How to Get to Know Your Story’s World with Worldbuilding Questions:
Perhaps you want or need to get to know your story’s world better?
How to Get to Know Your Story’s World with Worldbuilding Questions is filled with questions you can use in order to explore your story’s world, no matter if it is a real or a fictional place.
In this book there are questions for you to uncover the aspects of your story’s world: questions on geography, culture, history, technology and infrastructure, etc. All of these questions are meant for you to get to know your story’s world so deeply that you will be able to portray the world as organically as possible.