In a previous post, I shared 12 Questions To Get You Started With World Building and offered to show you a run through of those questions as an example.
Let’s see where our answers lead us:
1.) Where and when is your story set? Is it in a fantasy or futuristic setting? Past, present, or future?
Let’s start with real life as a base template, but add two or three years for some creative flexibility. Let’s go with sort-of modern day Philippines with slices from other asian countries.
2.) What kind of technology do they have? Transportation? Communication? Access to information?
Let’s say this universe had hover boards.
You can use this section to decide how it works (if you want to go that far), how much they cost to acquire, and other sorts of details as these could all add to the storytelling.
Let’s say hover board tech has been used to replace wheels but they’re pretty expensive. Their hardware are locked to ensure a maximum mph by law, works on certain surfaces (e.g. not glass, just an example), and costs a lot of money.
3.) Create a timeline of how the world came to be. What past events have shaped the way it is now?
Since this is the real world, we could forego this question or use it to choose when the real world starts to differ from our story world.
Given the current state of our tech nowadays, hover boards could be a popular pastime within a decade from today. We could begin by choosing when the boards became available (2015), popular(2018), and (if you want to go the scandalous route) got banned from society and had to go underground (2020).
4.) What rules are in place? Does gravity work the same way? What about society and its punishments?
We want it to feel just like ours so we’ll say physics worked exactly the same way.
Because the world is based off of ours, we can say that society is mostly the same, up until the part where they made hover board use for non-industrial purposes to be illegal, with a punishment of five years imprisonment (Why is it illegal and why imprisonment? Good questions. That’s for you to answer!).
Let’s spice it up further. Let’s say that illegally acquired parts can let you go beyond the mandatory safety speeds, allow one to ignore gravity briefly, or even forget the surface requirement entirely.
With that kind of setup, you’ve added a law-breaking element which now provides a useful source for conflict. Wanna make it worse? You can throw in a black market into your story that you could use as a plot device in your story for introducing characters or further complications.
5.) What kind of government does this world have? Who has power? Who doesn’t?
Just to make this easier, let’s say this was set in the Philippines and we’re a pseudo-democratic oligarchy. The power rests in the hands of the wealthy elite but the tides are turning with the advent of (gasp!) illegally modified hover board-assisted criminal activity.
6.) What do people believe in here? What does this society value most?
Let’s say we were seized by an all consuming materialism that glorified and placed the highest value on making expensive purchases and the flaunting of wealth. This stereotype could be the backdrop that caused the Robin Hood-esque hoverboard crime (can we call it vigilantism?).
7.) What’s the weather like?
Good question. It rains a lot in the Philippines, no? Do hoverboards work when it rains? Let’s say it does matter and moisture/wetness drastically affects the boards’ ability to do speed up or scale walls. It’s even better (worse?) when it happens during a scene where your protagonist is being chased.
8.) Where do the inhabitants live, work, and go to school?
Same old? We can leave this as is.
9.) What do they eat?
Chicken nuggets. They only eat chicken nuggets.
10.) How do they play?
This question can be fun. We can say hover boards are commonplace toys that everyone can have access to. Tumbang preso and patintero are just two of the games we could imagine a hover-related version for.
As a basic template or spring board, let’s say people have come up with a hybrid form of parkour that uses hover boards when scaling walls or gathering enough speed.
(In retrospect, that’s starting to sound like Air Gear, which I had a lot of fun reading.)
11.) How do they treat people? The young? The old?
We can leave this one as is. We’ve got enough tension from the class warfare as it is.
12.) What relationships do they have with the animals and plants? What do their animals and plants look like?
Since the story’s very techy, we can let the flora take a bow for now.
I tinkered with the order of the question by placing the technology question higher on the list since I already had an inclination towards it.
Switch things around or add your own questions to the mix. There’s no perfect way to go about this so don’t feel bound to a particular set of instructions.
That said, with our answers to the above, we’ve already collected a good amount of information to build a story with. Now it’s just a matter of deciding who our protagonist is and what they’ll be fighting for (which is likely material for another post later on).
Did this help you?
What kind of answers did you come up with? Drop me a line below!