What is your process for world building for your writing?
Oh, balls. This is not an easy or fun question. You will discover my A-type personality and nerdiness. It can’t be helped.
For smaller projects, such as the fairy tales or short stories, it’s pretty basic. I don’t need too much detail. I need a general sense of where, when, and maybe society, politics, religious, monetary things factor into that.
For the big projects *cough* Echomancer *cough*, it is reather ridiculous.
I have a world.
Which is divided into countries (lantings). So now I need to decide on terrain, location, temperature, and for Echomancer, which species live where and in what population numbers. I mean pukka wouldn’t live near the coastal city of Ran, because they can’t swim; whereas cniphra wouldn’t live deep in the deserts of Bhrungara because they are made mostly of water. Race building is a different matter altogether, and a pain.
Then I need to figure out the relationship between each country with their neghbors as well as their inner workings. How do they select their leader (lantzar). What is each countries market like, how does money work?
Is religion important? Sexuality? Genders? Which jobs have the most esteem? What prejudices are there (there are always prejudices… I’m sorry, as positive as I try to be and have faith in humanity I really don’t think we’ll ever fully phase prejudice out. It’s like that episode of The Fairly Oddparents when Timmy wishes everyone was the same and some gray blob people said they were more gray and more blobby and therefore better.)?
I even have a world map travel list where I calculated the distances my characters travel, and by what means, to figure out how long it would take for them to reach each destination.
I have a lot of folders, binders, and papers of information, but I really like lists and research. This does not work for everyone.
I think the important, basic things to consider are where, when, senses, and society, at the most simple level.