Whenever I world-build I start with the basics. First I need a solar system. You can take the easy way out and just use our home system, or you can build your own. If you wish to build your own, these are the steps you’ll have to follow to create a fairly scientifically accurate system:
- Determine what type of star will be the sun for your system. See my blog entry here for more information on how to do this and what this will mean for your solar system: Worldbuilding Series Part One – a star
- Once you have your star, you can focus on your planets. Read this for more information: Worldbuilding Series Part Two – the planets. To help you build both your star and planet, I’ve created a template for your world-building needs: World-building template
- Part of the process in creating planets involves the planet’s geology. This post focuses more on terrestrial planets, but it does highlight some guidelines for gas giants as well: Worldbuilding Series Part Three – Planet Geology.
- Now it’s important to focus in on the atmosphere of planets (if they have one) and their natural cycles. Here is my entry on this: Worldbuilding Series Part Four – Atmospheres and Natural Cycles.
- The features of the planet will play a large role in the development of the sentient species’ culture and their evolution. This post highlights how to create features on the planet and how this process works: Worldbuilding Series Part Five – Geomorphology. It may be useful to take a look at my map-making post in order to create a map of the surface of your planet.
- Finally, the sentient species themselves. If they are humans, this simplifies matters, and you mostly have to worry about how humanity adapts to the planet you created. This post discusses the effects of environment on a culture: Effects of Environment. You’d also have to consider the dynamics of diversity, which I highlight in this blog post (focusing more on a future earth dynamic but can be applied to humans migrating to new worlds as well): Diversity – Race. If you are creating a new aliens species, this blog post discusses some of the factors to keep in mind and offers some suggestions on how this can be done: The Science of Aliens.
- Another important factor to consider is how language can influence a culture and its development. I discuss how language intersects world-building in this article: Languages and World-building. To help you create your language, examine these posts: How I craft a Language part 1 and How I craft a Language part 2.
All of the above are important points to consider when world-building. Other important facets involve the following (I am slowly developing posts to discuss each in depth, so stay tuned!):
- Politics and Government
- Diplomacy and Espionage
- Daily Life
- Technology and Research
- Cities and their infrastructure
- Philosophy and Cultural Values (See this post: Thoughts on Philosophy within World building )
In time, I will create links to each section above and host some world-building questions. I’m currently developing a list for science fiction world-building inspired by the lovely fantasy world-building question list compiled by Patricia C. Wrede. This is taking some time, so stay tuned for when I upload to the site here! Also, the above list compiled by Patricia C. Wrede is very much usable for science fiction writers — just focus on the questions that deal with creating a world and a culture and when you encounter the magic questions alter them to technology.
Another important aspect of worldbuilding is maps. Creating maps of your world and of your cities can be incredibly helpful with visualizing your world. For an example, I often create a zone map for my cities. Here is a detailed post on how to create a map: World-build: Maps
In order to assist with the finer details of worldbuilding, I am writing primers and/or discussion posts about various communities of people. I will post them as I write them below: