6 Worldbuilding Questions You Haven't Heard
Worldbuilding is important because it’s what pulls your reader into the story, fully immersing them in the world. Without a well-crafted world, the story feels 2D. Just think about the concept of falling into a book page; worldbuilding is what makes the reader lose sense of their surroundings and starts a movie playing in their head. Every detail you give your world adds dimension to make the story feel more real. Imagine that plot and characters are the fundamental components of a meal like carbs or protein, and the worldbuilding is flavor or spice you add that really makes the world enjoyable.
There are so many worldbuilding questions out there to help you “flavor” your novel, most of which you’ve heard before or already thought of, right? Well, not these. Let’s get into it.
Here are six worldbuilding questions you’ve never heard before.
1. What do each of the colors in your story symbolize? Think about things like which colors people wear to weddings or to funerals.
2. Which natural resources in your world are scarce? For example, in Avatar, unobtainum is the scarce metal that the humans are after on Pandora, which is the reason the main conflict begins.
3. What curses or rude gestures does your story’s inhabitants use?
4. What does the sky look like? Both at night and during the day. What do the stars look like? How many suns or moons are there?
5. How do people eat? Do they use silverware? If so, what kind? Do they eat at round or square or high or low tables? What do people sit on while they eat or do they not sit at all? Do people eat in groups or do they eat alone? How societies eat says a lot about the society as a whole.
6. What are the animals like? Which animals are tame and which are wild? Another thing to think about is which animals are native to the region that your story takes place in, and which exist outside of it. Are there mythical creatures? Are the sizes of any of the animals altered like small elephants or big ladybugs?
Bonus question: If your world has magic in it, what defeats that magic?
Use these questions to deepen the elements of your world. Make it so that your readers can’t help but trip and fall into your narrative, getting lost in the storytelling as you guide them between the pages.
Even if you answer these questions and the responses never show up in your story, that’s alright! Remember the iceberg theory when worldbuilding; 90% of your creation will never be seen by readers, but a deep understanding of your world will make the 10% that does surface that much more impactful!
Written by Sara Lubratt
Sara is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English with a Creative Writing Specialization at Southern Methodist University. In 2017 she attended NYU‚ Äôs Writers in Paris program. She has previous experience in social media and marketing.