While worldbuilding, I often found myself wondering, “Do I have enough information to continue writing? Too little? How much worldbuilding is too much?” It’s a pretty common worry amongst first-time novel writers. I see similar questions a lot.
The definitive (read: canned) answer seems to be, “When it hurts the progress of your novel; all the planning in the world won’t matter if you never finish your novel.”
((A comforting thought: You don’t need to know every minute detail before you start writing. But the major ones are very important. Especially to fantasy.))
Those answers used to be good enough for me. But they left me doomed to wonder if I had thought of everything without having to rewrite my whole novel halfway through. I didn’t want to find out the hard way if everything I invented out of thin air was going to work well with my plot, but a rewrite was a plausible, scary possibility.
Enter ‘Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions’ by Patricia Wrede–an excellent checklist for the aspiring worldbuilder. I am so glad I came across this internet gem! Any worldbuilding issues I didn’t manage to think of on my own seemed to be covered here. I loved this list so much, I saved every question to a word document to access them anywhere.
It’s simple to use: Peruse the questions, think about the answers. If you have no idea about how to answer something, just copy and paste the troublesome question into a word processor to think about later. If you can answer a majority of the questions, you’re probably in good shape!