World-building: how far do you go?

Whenever I start writing a novel or short story I do a little bit of world-building. I usually start with a map and develop names for countries, major cities, bodies of water, and mountain ranges. Then I start plotting them on the map and take a look at what relations they could have with one another.

For example: does country A have a peaceful border with country B, or do they constantly war with one another? Does this river have an affect on this town or this economy?

Then I usually get into style of government, leaders, and brief histories that I can tie into my story.

How much world-building do you do before you write your novel? What types of questions do you ask yourself regarding world-building?


Author: Chase Charaba

Hello there! I'm Chase, an ambitious, aspiring young novelist and YouTuber who hopes to get a novel published one day. I'm also trying to produce the highest quality YouTube videos by constantly learning new ways to film and edit. I've been involved in journalism for 5 years, including 1 year as co-editor of a national award-winning high school newsmagazine and 1 year as the co-editor of an award-winning college newspaper. I write mainly epic/high fantasy, but I also mess around with science fiction, horror, and realistic fiction.

2 thoughts on “World-building: how far do you go?”

  1. World building can be complicated, depending on the world! I’ve attempted fantasy with magic world building, then just ‘alternate’ styles of this world. Usually I start with the town my characters start in and work out from there. So… how does the town govern itself? What is their source of income, or how do they survive as a town? Then we get into the country and the bigger world… if I have to. For fantasy the whole magic system I have to create as well.

    Usually for a first draft I just focus on what is semi-required to keep my story going, if my characters don’t leave the country I may not develop much outside of it until I have to. Probably not the best way to go… but sometimes you just need to start writing the story and see what you’ll need.


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