30 Story Starters To Beat Writers Block

C/n= insert character name        H/c= insert hair colour       E/c = insert eye colour

  1. trail of blue-black blood led down the gloomy hallway, up the back wall, and into an air-con vent….
  2. If he/she could just stretch a little farther, the world would be theirs to command…
  3. “You can’t be serious,” he/she said, e/c eyes wide and wet…
  4. The tallow candle threw long dancing shadows…
  5. His/her fingers brushed the edge of the gun…
  6. Her h/c hair was whipped from side to side by the vicious wind…
  7. No two were the same, but still c/n couldn’t see the differences between…
  8. If only there was a way to know what c/n was doing….
  9. If c/n knew one thing, it was that no mortal man could…
  10. Her/his hands were chafed and hardened by years of hard work, but they could still…
  11. The biting cold had seeped into the very stones of the building…
  12. The flags whipped and snapped as a war horn blared in the distance…
  13. Through long years of study he/she had come to understand…
  14. The bright lights of the station were blinding…
  15. “If you take another step, I swear I’ll kill you!”
  16. The ship slowed on approached…
  17. The braying hounds were getting closer, but c/n knew the river was close…
  18. Every bone in her/his body seemed to grind together as he/she stood, but the crowd paid no mind to his/her grimace of pain…
  19. C/N bared his/her teeth and lunged forward, knife glinting in the half-light…
  20. “It was you all along,” he/she said with tears in his/her eyes…
  21. The city sprawled from the shores of the lake like a drunk, but in the madness there was beauty…
  22. The h/c haired woman/man sped through the grey streets like a shadow, but his/her pursuers were always just a step behind…
  23. The package was filthy, torn, and worth four times its weight in gold…
  24. C/N licked his/her lips as the stage lights dimmed; he/she was going to puke…
  25. The circle wasn’t drawn in blood, but it might as well have been…
  26. She moved like water on the stage; so controlled, so gracefully, so beautiful…
  27. The court glittered as it never had before, but the champagne tasted like dirt in C/Ns mouth…
  28. C/N took the first punch on the jaw and staggered back as the second…
  29. The holoscreen flickered and jumped, so she/he knew that it was working and yet what he/she was seeing didn’t make sense…
  30. The hounds were braying as if the devil himself was before them, but C/N saw only a child…
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100 World-Building Questions

The Basics

  1. How many continents does your world have?
  2. How many countries?
  3. How many languages are spoken?
  4. Which are the main languages?
  5. Which countries hold the most power?
  6. Are there any Empires?
  7. What systems of Government are in use?
  8. Which time period is most reflective of your worlds current state (e.g. Victorian, Medieval, Futuristic)?
  9. Do any elements of another time period enter your world (e.g. a medieval-esque world with Victorian level technology)?
  10. Do some countries in your world have more in common with one time period than another?
  11. Is international trade the norm?
  12. If so, is it formally arranged or undertaken by single businesses and traders?
  13. Is there a recognised tax system?
  14. How do people communicate over large distances?
  15. Can people communicate over large distances?
  16. Are there class systems in place?
  17. How many different races (e.g. human, alien species, fantasy species) are there in your world?
  18. How many ethnicities are there?
  19. Is Religion a big factor in your world?
  20. How many religions are there?
  21. Is there a dominant religion?
  22. Are any of your countries at war?
  23. Which of your countries have warred with each other in the past?
  24. Which countries are allied with each other?
  25. Do any of your countries have systems of slavery or indentured servitude in place?

 

Magic and Technology

  1. Do any of your cultures believe in/ practice magic?
  2. Is it real/ does it work?
  3. If not – what practices do they have that are linked to their beliefs and why do they continue with them?
  4. If so, what kinds of magic are there?
  5. Can everyone practice one or all kinds of magic?
  6. What are the limitations (e.g. magic use saps life force, requires items, etc)?
  7. Is there anything that magic cannot achieve?
  8. Is magic formally taught, learned through apprenticeship, or a natural gift?
  9. What is the view of the populous with regard to magic?
  10. Are magic users considered superior, inferior, or equal to non-magic users?
  11. Who are the great magic users of your world?
  12. Are there any legal restrictions on magic?
  13. How does magic make up for the weaknesses in your worlds technology?
  14. Do magic and technology meet in any way?
  15. How does technology make up for the limitations of magic?
  16. Do all countries have access to the same technology?
  17. Is there any one way in which technology is primarily used (e.g. agriculture, military etc)?
  18. Is technology readily accessible to all classes?
  19. Is technology used on a household or industrial scale?
  20. Is technology used for non-essential pursuits, e.g. entertainment, yet?
  21. Who are the great inventors of your world?
  22. What are the limitations of technology in your world?
  23. Is there any technology which can suppress, dispel, or dampen magic?
  24. How is technological growth and development fuelled?
  25. Are there any legal restrictions on technologies?

 

Flora, Fauna, and Environment

  1. Does your world have all the “usual” hemispheres (is it earth or earth-like)?
  2. Which environment/habitat makes up the largest part of your world (sea, forest/jungle, desert, or mountains)?
  3. Is your world mostly temperate?
  4. How many deserts/wastelands are there?
  5. What challenges do they pose to the populations of your world (e.g. to transport, communication etc)?
  6. Which regions of your world are entirely uninhabitable?
  7. Why are they uninhabitable?
  8. What caused them to be this way?
  9. Has anyone tried to live in them before?
  10. Are there any animals which can survive in these deserts/wastes?
  11. Which animals are most revered in your world/cultures?
  12. Which animals are most feared?
  13. Are there any animals which can use magic, or which are inherently magical?
  14. Are there any animals which are hunted because of their magical properties?
  15. Which animals, if any, are domesticated?
  16. What are their roles?
  17. Can any animals communicate with non-magic using humans?
  18. Which plants are used for magic?
  19. Which plants are poisonous?
  20. Which plants have healing properties?
  21. Are there any plants which are both?
  22. Is there any animal or plant so rare as to be priceless?
  23. Are there any minerals/rocks which are sought after as sources of magic, power, or food for your peoples?
  24. Which metals or rocks are seen as valuable?
  25. Assuming your world does not work on a system of barter – which metal, rock, plant, or animal products are used as currency in your world?

 

Culture, Society, And History

  1. How old do the peoples of your world think it is?
  2. Is history most often recorded in the written or oral tradition?
  3. What are five key events in your worlds history?
  4. Do all societies understand the history of your world the same way?
  5. How do they differ?
  6. How have the events of history changed the culture and society of your world/countries?
  7. Do the cultures of your world share any common  traditions or beliefs?
  8. Is education available to all?
  9. Is there an ‘elite’ form of education (e.g. further education abroad, as in Medieval Europe)?
  10. Are there any universal laws in your world?
  11. How are they enforced?
  12. Are any of your countries entirely (read 85 – 95%) illiterate or lawless?
  13. Who rules these countries?
  14. Do the rulers choose to maintain this state of being? If so why?
  15. To what extent do the cultures of your world value music, performance, and art?
  16. Are there any martial cultures in your world?
  17. Are there any nomadic societies in your world?
  18. How do the cultures at different extremes interact with one another?
  19. Is diplomacy common to all cultures?
  20. Is there an ‘Invisible’ culture (for example, a caste of nobles or travellers which span the world).
  21. Are there any cultures which exist in isolation?
  22. How important is the written word in your world?
  23. Are there accepted rules of engagement in war between your countries?
  24. How do the people of your world view beauty regimes and products? (Doe such things exist)?
  25. How do your cultures view sex work?

 

World-Building Resources

World Building 101

Welcome To World Building