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EDIT: If you like this journal entry, check out The Sarcastic Guide to Writing ebook… for exclusive content on world-building, character, and dialogue!

Capital City:
Colors: (An example would be red, white, and blue)
Symbol: (An example would be stars and stripes.)
Races: (The races that inhabit the area, whether or not they’re native.)
Government: (Feudal system, caste system, oligarchy, parliament, democracy, plutocracy?)
Religion: (Monotheism?  Pantheism?  Atheism?)
Resources: (What does the country export?  Import?  Make?  Is famous for?)
Description of Major Cities: (I do this to get a feel for the areas the characters will be visiting.)
Quote: (What someone from this area would talk like, or talk about.)
History: (Everyone comes from somewhere.  People just don’t up and appear on islands and such.  I mean, even Native Americans walked across a land bridge way back in the day. Europeans came from Romans and Greeks and Celts and Gauls and more.  Very few people bother to look at this aspect of world-building, and they really should.  Even if a civilization has been around for two thousand years and are elven dragon riders, they came from somewhere.  Even if their mythology says they crawled out of the earth: they came from somewhere.  Examine it!)
Physical: (The ethnic description of your race: skin color, hair color, builds, dress)
Mannerisms: (The likely way someone behaves if they’re from this place.  Because believe me, a fur-wrapped barbarian behaves in a very different way than a Greek statesman.)
Weather patterns: (Tropical?  Stormy?  Cold?  Earthquakes?  Climate in general?)
Magic: (How it is treated by the country.  Whether hated and feared, harnessed for industry, or nonexistent within it’s borders, if magic has a presence in your story you ought to look at how it affects the larger picture than just your heroes and their journey.)
Language: (This is kind of a big one for me, because I’m always very careful to point how and why my characters can understand each other, especially if they are from different countries. Language in the real world is a hell of a barrier, but even if you have a Chinese dragon, an Arabian unicorn, a French knight, a Mayan princess, and a Japanese ninja, they can all talk to and understand each other without explanation. Double I-call-BS-points for someone from another world or time!  Anyone who has ever toured Europe can tell you why this is complete bull.  Take a closer look, especially if you’re modeling anything after medieval Europe; only the Church had a universal language: Latin.)
Cuisine: (What do people from this country eat every day?  On festival days?  As delicacies? Taboo?)
Leisure: (What do people here do in their spare time?  For fun?)
Transport: (How do people move things?  Armies?  Crowds?  Goods?  Animals?)
Weapons: (What weapons are manufactured here?  Commonplace?  Rare?  Forbidden?)
Greetings: (What is considered an acceptable greeting?  In formal setting?  Among friends? Family?)
Customs: (The habits of a people that make them unique.  Google it if you’re confused.)
Superstitions: (Knowing the power irrational explanations have over a populace can sometimes be good story material.)
Beliefs: (Do I really have to explain this one?  This alone can be your story.)
Rituals: (Birth? Coming-of-age?  Marriage?  Death?  Justice?)
Festivals: (What do people celebrate?  What are considered holidays?  Why?)
Education: (How are children taught?  Skilled workers, like architects or brewers?  Is there public education?  Higher education?)

Just in case you’re wondering: yes, I really do fill all of this stuff out.  As a matter of fact, I think that too many world-building templates out there are way too big and convoluted, the kind of thing sure to give world-builder's disease to your story.  I have a physical journal and a working text file, and split the template between the two of them and eventually get things done.  This isn’t just inane busywork. If my world-building is completely brand new because the story is, on average I take anywhere from three to six months to world-build.  But by the time I’m done, I can assure you that my characters, arcs, and plot are all filled out, too.  World-building gets the juices flowing and will solve a massive amount of your plot problems (the only known cure for writer's block is world-building and character-building.)  And yes, all of this is writing before I even begin to write.  My working text files tend to be about 30 pages long after everything is done, in addition to my journals, which can be about 20-30 pages, too.  (I usually have multiple countries and multiple characters in addition to other notes.)  I’m not saying everyone should do this.  I’m only showing you what works for me.
  • Listening to: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
  • Reading: The Passage - Justin what's-his-face
  • Playing: Not playing Left 4 Dead. *tear*
Add a Comment:
138cm Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hello! I absolutely love this template! May I post this on another platform? I might adjust it and add a few additions to make it more detailed. I assure you I'll credit you and link to this post.
Droemar Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2018
Sure, if you could link back that'd be great!
j142g857c Featured By Owner Edited Jun 24, 2017  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you. This is helpful in organizing all the tiny detail I so prolifically generate as I build my story. I just read your last paragraph. Tell me more, if you will about that three to six months of worldbuilding before you start.   I'm new to writing but have lived in my own head fantasy for decades.
Droemar Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2017
I'd recommend Stephen King's On Writing; I kind of took a page from his book, so to speak. He says enthusiasm for an idea runs out in about 6 weeks, so if you don't finish the rough draft by then your enthusiasm wanes and the possibility of finishing kind of falters.
I've found that to be fairly true about my novels. Prewriting takes care of a lot of obstacles that slow that potential momentum: things like 'Oh wait, what's a random name for this walk-on character that fits with the world? Wait, how would the government feel about the heroes doing this? What's my plot again? What are my character's arcs?"
For me, prewriting is like preparing for a rockclimb. Maybe there are experts out there than can run right up a mountainside with no gear. But I need to check and recheck all of my gear to make sure this difficult climb is as easy on me as I can make it.
Vexisss Featured By Owner May 14, 2017  Student General Artist
Definitely using this on my map if that's okay with you!
Droemar Featured By Owner May 16, 2017
Vexisss Featured By Owner May 16, 2017  Student General Artist
Thank you!
ChatLunatique Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Finally! Why did it take me so long to find this?  Now I have a guideline and no more excuses to not to organize my stacks of foolscap and post-its into a proper world design.
Thank you!
BornOnTheNinth Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017
You should make a template for writing fictional religions.
wiccanangel12 Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2016  Student General Artist
Thank you so much for this, it was exactly what I was looking for!
DarkcanxD Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2016  Student Digital Artist
This template is really cool. I have already tried it out with one of my fantasy countries and it is really helpful.
xWolfie36x Featured By Owner Edited Jun 15, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
Featured on the home page of

Thanks for your writing tips! :D
Droemar Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2016
Thanks for the feature!
MaxFeathers Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2015  Student General Artist
After many, many attempts at world-building and several months later I find this goldmine.
You are awesome. 
RayneXero Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2015
10 pages and 4674 words later, my template for the major country in my novel is done XD
Anceo Featured By Owner Edited Sep 8, 2015   General Artist
Good and simple guideline for world building but there are two things in that description I don't use.1.Magic because I prefer science fiction.2.Complete creation of constructed language(conlang) but different people speak different language so I place few description about their languages.I have no interest in conlang at all.
gulnan Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks, this will be a lot of useful!
AzrielMoha Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014
WARNING! Carry on reading! Or you will die, even if you only looked at the word warning!
Once there was a little girl called Clarissa, she was ten-years-old and she lived in a mental
hospital, because she killed her mom and her dad. She got so bad she went to kill all the
staff in the hospital so the More-government decided that best idea was to get rid of her so
they set up a special room to kill her, as humane as possible but it went wrong the
machine they were using went wrong. And she sat there in agony for hours until she died.
Now every week on the day of her death she returns to the person that reads this letter, on
a Monday night at 12:00 a.m. She creeps into your room and kills you slowly, by cutting you
and watching you bleed to death. Now send this to ten other pictures on this one site, and
she will haunt someone else who doesn't. This isn't fake. apparently, if you copy and paste
this to ten comments in the next ten minutes you will have the best day of your life tomorrow.You
will either get kissed or asked out, if you break this chain u will see a little dead girl in you
I'm am so scared of this stuff so I'm so sorry
Droemar Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014
Seriously? I'm a sending a dead little girl to your house.
AzrielMoha Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2014
I'm sorry dude
ParadoxJester739 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Oh my goodness, I'm making my own setting for roleplay/story and this helps an incredible amount, thank you for putting this together!
The-Shellcat Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Mwahahahaha! This is going to be fun :D 

I know you have the book but thank you for keeping still free.
When you just want one chapter and not the entire thing it can be a pain in the butt...

thank you :)
buenodavista Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2013   Traditional Artist
Ahh, this is so refreshing! this is what I live for: world-building, character templates, all of it is addicting and IMPORTANT. They're the building blocks, I can't stand reading a story that has little to no premeditated development. Hastily thrown together BS.
I live for the creating stages as much as I live for the storytelling. I plan on buying your book someday, it's not only a great resource but it is incredibly spot on and what every aspiring writer should read.
DMRMan Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013

I have to tell you thank you. This is exactly what I have been looking for. I am a future video game developer and have been working on several world builds but have been having a hard time putting everything into one concise section. I have been reading through your journals and I have to say you have some truly wonderful advise.

Thank you for you help.

With Much Regards,
Bexteron1990 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is awesome and really useful. I'm writing an original story so this is gonna be very helpful. Thank you for sharing ^_^
The-Wafflord Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
Thanks so much, this is amazing!!!!
D1gital-ZER0 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Holy shit, you world building stuff is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Thank you very much!
Worthog117 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Looks awesome! I think i may use it!
Charanty Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
Who asked for the world building? I have a guide to it: [link]

Half-done but i'm too busy at the moment.
FullmetalZergRush Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2011
"Government: (Feudal system, caste system, oligarchy, parliament, democracy, plutocracy?)"

How about Republic, Socialist, Communist, Theocracy, Technocracy, etc.? :D
Tigers-Shadow Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2011  Student General Artist
O world-build obsessively and have more worlds built then written but I see some things on here that I didn't think of...Thank you.

I usually start with: How do they meet their basic physical needs? Emotional needs? How does this effect the rest of the world?

And go from there. This is a good checklist though, so thanks *bookmarked*
LunaMacato Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011
Thank you! This looks awesome.
Temni-Chan Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2011
I think someone once made a more detailed form using this, does anyone know who did that? ^_^;; I think it'd be easier than making my own checklist. Thankyou so much for posting it, this gave me a more holistic view to how my world should be designed
Adreago Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2010
I'm rather late to comment on this, but I couldn't resist.
What do you think about having a French person (Let's say Jean) and an English person (say Bob.)
So the story opens in Bob's perspective, now switches to Jeans. Should it be in English, except for speaking? Or be in all English in a translated state? Or something else?
And when Bob and Jean meet, should it still be English and translated English, or should it switch?
Just curious on your opinion on this.
And, while I do enjoy the Twilight bashing and Eragon warnings, you have to admit that they're doing something very right. The books aren't ALL what-not-to-dos. :)
Thanks for your posts, love them~ <3
Droemar Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2010
I'm not exactly sure what the question is, but I do know that any book, regardless of the language the character's speak, needs to be all in the same language as far as text. There can be snippets of dialogue and such that are in a different language are usually done in italics. But I have never heard of a book that switches from one language to another, unless it was some Middle Ages document. Certainly no book published today would put parts in French, parts in German, and other parts in English. (At least I've never heard of one that does it.)
Adreago Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010
hahah, thanks, I'm not always the best at explaining things. ^^
dehydromon Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks so much for sharing this! :D
I do have a lot of this stuff already done, but it appears there are several things I missed.
androidgirl Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2010
If we're setting our story in a fictional city in America, should we bother filling this out?
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2010
I think so, yes. I have a YA urban fantasy that gave me a lot of writer's block before I fleshed out the fictional city it takes place in. So my vote would be yes. Even if the city's not fictional, it would still do to have some notes on it.
WildGriffin Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2010  Student General Artist
You. Are. Amazing. :worship:

I've made character templates with detail like this, but never came close to building a good world one. 8D -runs off to see how her RPGs fit-
Lit-Twitter Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010
Chirp, great template, it's been twittered. :)

And names of characters I feel are should almost have it's own section, due to how it's influence by so many of the other factors from religion to history or even occupation.
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010
I do have a character template in the works, although for world-building I usually go through a baby name site, find a particular country or origin, and write down about 20 names for each gender. That way if I have a random character pop up, like a nun or a barkeep, they have names that fit the established culture. I recently finished a western steampunk fantasy, where all the characters in a pioneer-type setting were sent by a Mesopotamian-esque empire, so it was a lot of fun to have cowboys and sherrifs running around with names like Harsu and Tiglaf.
LiZn Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you! This should help me organize all of the information I have so far and point out where my holes are.
KaxantheDragon Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I didn't have all of these points that you have in your template, but I did had to ask my once co-author a lot more detail questions pertaining to his countries that he never thought of. He appreciated my help then, but when I mentioned you as being mighty helpful for the upcoming-author, he basically said he didn't need any help, that he was an author just fine without you... And here I'm thinking... Riiighhht... You're doing just dandy on your own than why are you asking everyone else, (who are just green writers in their own right) for help?... I tell you I never understand stupid people...
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010
Most of the time, people who claim their writing is awesome and that they don't need any help, are the ones that need it the most. Double points if they constantly quibble and defend any amount of critique. (I've already written a blog about it, for future postings.) Some people just don't handle it well, but I've drawn the conclusion that those who don't aren't ready for it. You ought to ask him "Do you want your writing to be good, or do you just want to be told that it is?" That usually tends to shut most folks up when they try to argue.
KaxantheDragon Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah... Thing is. Most people with Egos that big makes them stupid... Or at least deaf to anything from anyone they know is right... So at this point it doesn't matter what I say. I could say "Hi" and still be wrong and evil or whatever. XD Oh well. They're loss.
mirime-duinram Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010
Even more than people from disparate locations being able to communicate effortlessly, I despise "Common Tongue." It makes me stabbity.

As for worldbuilding, which I love, the best thing that helped me build interesting, realistically diverse, etc. worlds was a class called Human Geography (in high school, so it wasn't super advanced.) It's basically how humans interact with their environments, in many many ways (from demographics, to linguistic diffusion, to what kind of houses people build.)
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010
I guess because I'm a fan of Latin, which was a universal language, the idea of a Common Tongue doesn't bother me too much. But I tend to call BS on anyone who's not a trader, traveler, a merchant, or a learned individual. Like serfs who haven't left their patch of farm in five generations knowing what that French guy is saying. Farmboy Eragon! *shakes fist* FARMBOY ERAGOOOOOOOOOOON!
mirime-duinram Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010
OK, I understand about Latin, although of course the thing with that is that it stayed the same in different regions, more or less (so as to remain understandable) because it wasn't commonly used... when people spoke it every day, it turned into French and Spanish and Italian and Romanian. I do agree that trade tongues are useful, and pidgin is always fun. </language geek>
XD I read Eragon once, years ago, and now I've mostly forgotten it except to remember that there was an abundance of fail. Maybe I should read it again just for laughs.
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010
Eragon is kind of the ur-example of what not to with a fantasy novel. Not that I can deny he probably sleeps on a mattress made of money.
I'm quite the language geek myself. And you make a good point that any so-called Common Language would eventually evolve into it's own dialect.
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Submitted on
August 20, 2010


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