Using a Character to Build a World

Sometimes, the things a character eats or wears can tell you as much about the world in which they live as the character themselves. For example, a character who eats mostly plain, staple foods may be financially poor, but if they live in an isolated village, it could also be that no amount of money could possibly fix that year’s poor harvest.

The worksheet below is designed to give you some ideas about world building using the characters in the world itself. You could use it to design a single character, a family or even an entire race of people.

Worldbuilding Character Worksheet

You can be as vague or precise as you like with the answers – obviously it’ll be difficult to provide a full address for an entire nation, but you could say “NW of Continent A” or for a character “Swamp somewhere near Town B” or be super precise “326 West Street, District C, Town D, P05T C0D3, Country X”.

As for wounds… it could be a single event in someone’s life (death of a family member, sabotaged dreams etc.) or a historical one (a war, a financial crisis, defeat in a football game…). These are the kinds of things that can define a country or person over a significant period of time.

Finally, “Toilet”. You could use this to draw up a detailed bathroom rota (think Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory), but I was thinking more of the type of facilities available to people – are there flushing toilets or night-soil men? Are public toilets a thing or do you have to hold it?

Finally, don’t stress just because you don’t know an answer – skip it or come back to it later. It’s supposed to be fun. If it stops being fun, why keep doing it?

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