LESSON Worldbuilding Focus Points

Discussion in 'CREATING WORLDS & SETTINGS' started by Minibit, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. There are hundreds, if not thousands of things you can do when creating a new world. From as specific as designing a clothing store to as broad as mapping an ocean.

    Sometimes it's fun to create things for the sake of creating them, but for this guide, I'm going to explain my personal method for figuring out which areas of a world need to be fleshed out the most to create a colourful story setting

    1. Figure out the plot.
      If you know the path of your story - at least to a vague degree, you know the path of the characters. The places that will be in the story are the places that need the most attention; don't spend too much time on the desert if the hero's journey goes through the rainforest!

    2. Out of the places visited or likely to be visited, decide which are the most important.
      I don't mean important to the world's people, or to the culture, I mean important to the story. Personally, I decide if something is important to the story by asking questions
      - WHERE will the characters go?
      - WHAT will they use or seek?
      - WHAT elements of the world are relavent to the story's CONFLICT?
      - WHAT elements of the world are relevent to the conflict's RESOLUTION?

    3. Find resources and exercises for fleshing out the focus points
      There are lots of great exercises for just that here in the Guild! The Toolkit has some great resource links, too!
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  2. This is solid advice.

    I would like to add that, depending on what you're using the world for, it also might not be necessary to flesh out every area in advance, and indeed, may be best not to. If you're making the world for something like a tabletop game such as D&D or Pathfinder, you may only need to flesh out the starting areas. You can draw a vague map or come up with names for areas that they could go to if they ask NPCs or use character knowledge, and then flesh it out as needed depending on where they decide to go. As much as I love world-building, planning too much in advance when working with a group of players that may not go the direction you expected can lead to frustration for some people.