World Building: History

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Developing the history for the world you’re creating is probably the aspect I have the hardest time with. But it’s also very important. The history of your world sets the foundation for events happening currently in your story.

While you do not need to have every tiny detail of your history hashed out, you should have a general idea of what took place in your world before your story starts.

For instance, if you choose a dystopian world, you should have an idea of what took place for the world to reach that point. If your world is magical, were there any significant events that took place that were caused by magic? Is magic accepted or feared? Harry Potter and Merlin both have magical settings, but very different reactions and understandings of that magic.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when building your world’s history:

  • What type of world do you have?
  • How did it reach that point?
  • Were there any major events that took place prior to your story?
  • Are there any historical figures who could impact the story or characters?
  • How has your world developed since the beginning?
  • How long ago was your world created? Five years? A hundred years? Five thousand years?
    • This is important for how developed your world and other aspects (technology, architecture, etc.) will be
  • If you world did have significant events prior to your story, how long did they last?

These questions are important to address no matter what type of world you are creating, though they are especially important in a fantasy world.

Your fantasy world is entirely your own and your readers have no knowledge or information about it. It is entirely up to you to show and explain what has happened prior to the story so they will have a reason to care about what is happening in your story’s present.

Now, like I said, it’s important to develop the history for your world, but it doesn’t have to be done all at once.

Significant figures will also be developed through the creation of people for your world. The layout and geography may be affected by certain historical events. Technology you have may depend on how long your world has existed. All elements of worldbuilding are intertwined.

This was a short one, but like I said, creating the history for worldbuilding is an aspect that even still confuses me a bit so I didn’t want to include too much here. Worldbuilding is a pace you have to set for yourself so we’re really just covering the basics here.

Usually I’d only post one of these worldbuilding posts once a month, but since I’m just soooo good at keeping on top of my own schedule (can you hear the sarcasm?), there will actually be another of these posts up tomorrow!

I’ll be talking about people and the different types of people and figures you might want to consider for your world.

Let me know what you thought! Are there are questions you ask yourself when developing history for your world?

Is there are certain aspect of worldbuilding you struggle with?

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