World Building – Initial Steps and Some Helpful Resources

For some people, it’s a very daunting task. And it is a big thing to do if you’re creating a world from the ground up. I have found that, most of the time, you can generally base your world off of Earth settings and be mostly okay. But… what if you’re doing a sci-fi, fantasy, or alternate universe / reality setting where you really want to shake things up or turn the world on its head? Things get a bit more complicated but they’re still quite manageable, especially depending on the scope and scale of your story. If your story only takes place in a single city or even on a single continent, you might not have to delve too deeply into the sheer breadth of information an entire world can have. Oh, you’re still more than welcome to. It behooves you to do so in order to better understand your people and how and why they act the way they do. 

If you’re like me and not particularly artistic outside of the realm of words, then drawing a city / continent / world can seem challenging. It still is for me. I often use the old fashioned method of sketching out the places I envision on a drawing pad and erasing things numerous times… lol However, there is hope! You can find various other sites to help do some of the heavy lifting for you. Recently, I found a couple pages that can help with the various stages of the world building process.

RanGen has a plethora of world building generators to give you lots of information to play with, whatever your needs are. Modern settings, medieval settings, entire solar systems, and even down to currency, plants, and species as well. I will definitely be coming back to this one to help with my latest WIP (work in progress), considering it will have a myriad number of planets / worlds to visit in the future.

https://www.rangen.co.uk/world/worldgens.php

While not as user-friendly or comprehensive / detailed as the previous link, and with lots of confirmation pop-ups (for me anyway), SpringHole is another generator site that you could use to help fill in the blanks and give ideas if you’re struggling. 

https://springhole.net/writing_roleplaying_randomators/locationgens.htm

When I first started writing, I jumped into the world without knowing much of anything about it except for who my characters were and generally what they were going to do. As I’ve continued writing, my worlds have become more alive and varied. I still maintain the Earth based ones are the easiest to play in, but the ones you create yourself are by far the most rewarding – if sometimes frustrating in the process.

The one thing I haven’t seen much info on for world building is actually gravity. Again, in most cases, this isn’t a large concern since your characters will likely not have to even think about it. If you’re doing a multi solar system science fiction jaunt though… this becomes a real concern. I did find an interesting forum that addressed this issue : https://worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/243/what-factors-determine-a-planets-gravity and it’s an old but interesting read. The primary takeaway for the TL:DR (too long didn’t read) crowd is:

Only two factors impact gravity: mass and size. Alternatively, density and size (since density is mass divided by volume, a measurement of size).

The bigger the mass, the stronger the gravity…

The bigger the size for a given mass, the smaller the gravity, since you are farther from the center of mass…

-Envite from StackExchange

So again, referring back to my current WIP, while I haven’t actually gotten to them yet, I have planets that have varying levels of gravity and they directly affect the denizens of the planet. Conversely, those same species that leave the planet experience physiological changes as well the longer they are away and for each successive generation.

Home world Moladhi

  • Have more feathers and plumage
  • Have the ability to fly as a result
  • Much lower bone density and overall weight
  • Taller than off world Moladhi

Their home planet is relatively large with low gravity (.6 that of original Earth)
In addition, their diet is closer to a true herbivore and many of the plants have special enzymes that deter the uptake of calcium further enabling them to remain light enough for natural flight. These same plants though produce an abnormally high amount of keratin, enabling advanced feather growth
Consequently, they are also quite fragile creatures. Their bone structure is prone to breaks and if they leave their planet, their physiology will begin to change due to a lack of necessary nutrients and the weight of gravity, artificial or otherwise.
Very rich Moladhi are capable of traveling in space with enough of their natural dietary requirements and a controlled gravity and environment, but the average Moladhi that leaves the planet does so with the knowledge of losing some or all of their original traits.
Moladhi born off world bear the standard traits of those who have moved away and are no longer considered true Moladhi by home worlders.

Off world Moladhi

  • Feathers are for bare covering and decorations only – they look more like fur from afar
  • Heavier and sturdier than their ancestors so are less breakable
  • They can’t fly at all but they have extraordinary jumping abilities
  • The strength they would have had in their arms for flying has been transferred to their legs instead
  • Due to the compression of gravity, they are also shorter than the average home world Moladhi

I look forward to the day I get to explore this world for sure! My characters will get there, but the story I’m working on right now is an Origin story and it will take them a little more time to become the established space farers I need them to be before they get to that point.

So, long story short, world building can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. The more time and effort you spend on it, the more it will come to life for you and your readers, but if it’s too overwhelming, especially in the beginning, feel free to lean on established norms. Just because you’ve established a fantasy or science fiction setting doesn’t mean that EVERYTHING has to change. XD So just have fun with it and keep pushing forward. Everything will come together eventually.

That’s all for now, but thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ve enjoyed the read. ^_^

**Additional resources as I come across them:

For possible answers referring to: Does the mass of a planet affect the size of living organisms?

For possible answers referring to: Would humanoids from high gravity planets be smaller than us?

**Current background music when writing this post.

**Header image pulled from: https://veronicasicoe.com/2014/04/26/top-5-worldbuilding-must-haves/

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