How to do Worldbuilding?

What is Worldbuilding? How do you build one? If you ask yourself these questions daily, you’ve come to the right place. In this complete guide on how to do a Worldbuilding, you will find the answer to most of the questions you have asked yourself about this topic, as well as a complete guide on how to carry it out correctly. Shall we start?

Definition of Worldbuilding

There are several definitions of Worldbuilding on the internet. Here are some.

Wikipedia EN

«Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with an entire universe of fiction.»

– Wikipedia.

Wikipedia ES

«Worldbuilding is the name given to the process of constructing an imaginary world, commonly associated with a universe of fiction.»

– Wikipedia.

Urban dictionary

«Process of creating worlds for use in a fiction story.»

– roofiesjesus

David Esteban Cubero

«[…] it is the process of building an imaginary world, which is usually associated with a universe of fiction.»

– David Esteban Cubero

Manuel Gutiérrez

«[…] it is the legislation that you stipulate for your story and it relates to the rest of the elements of narrative design, encompassing everything

It is the construction of a whole series of contents that will serve to set your story and will give consistency to the characters and actions that appear in it.»

– Manuel Gutiérrez

Todo Rol

«We call this the process of creating (and usually documenting) an imaginary world, usually fictitious, although it can be based on our reality, researching, creating and giving meaning and verisimilitude to each of the aspects that are necessary for our work, resulting in a context in which to develop our stories.»

– Todo Rol

My definition

«It is to build your own universe or imaginary world in order to develop plots, characters and solid stories in your fiction projects.»

– Abel Augusto Abelleira

The fundamentals of Worldbuilding

The most important thing to keep in mind when creating a Worldbuilding  is to ensure that it has internal coherence. For this, you can follow the Markstein criterion, an article he wrote for CAPA-alpha. He established these points:

  1. If you create 3 characters and 2 of them meet, they all belong to the same universe.
  2. Real people cannot be used within fiction, because then the invented characters can belong to different fiction universes in which these real people are found.
  3. Characters from classical mythology or popular culture cannot be used, because then the created characters and universes would be the same and contradict each other.
  4. These classic or popular characters can be used if they are adapted to the universe to fit in.
  5. The characters only know each other if they appear together in the story having met and collaborated during the plot; otherwise, they do not know each other.

On the other hand, a Worldbuilding must have at least two important aspects that interconnect everything: history and geography. In this way, everything that is done later will have coherence and a sense of unity.

  1. In history, your universe must have a timeline of important events, as well as annotations that guide you during the creation of your work or project. You will also have to establish laws that govern the behavior of society according to the events you have noted on the timeline.
  2. During the development of geography in your Worldbuilding, you must establish common characteristics for your universe, both at a cosmological and planetary level. It is also important that you define how different natural phenomena that may occur in your fictional universe will affect the plot and characters.

Construction Techniques

The Macro, the Micro, and the RetCon.

You have at your disposal three different techniques to build your Worldbuilding:

The Micro

Start from a tiny particle and join it with many others to create a gigantic matrix. Thus you start from the particular to reach the general. In this sense there are two options:

  1. Has it ever happened to you that you start writing from scratch and new ideas come to you from what you just wrote? Then this option is for you. To do this, choose one of the Worldbuilding sections, whichever you want, and start developing a small idea. Immediately after developing it, start writing, let your imagination fly and jot down all the other ideas that come to you as you write. This way you will be creating your story at the same time as the Worldbuilding.
  2. If you love well-worked and elaborate characters, then it’s best to start with the characters. Develop the ones you need and add their own plots. Then start writing directly and let your imagination bring new ideas. Before you know it, you’ll have done an incredible Worldbuilding.

Here you have an example about Tolkien.

The Macro

Connect each of the points in the fictional universe that you start to create for your Worldbuilding and establish a huge fishing net. Then you will only have to review the data when you start writing and collect the different fish that you need to develop the plot of your story. Thus you start from the general to go towards the particular.

In this specific case, the best thing you can do is follow the workflow that you will find a little further down to cover each of the Worldbuilding sections. You won’t leave any undeveloped.

Here is an example about Elden Ring.

The RetCon

Also known as retroactive continuity. This technique is often used in series, comics, and other commercial serialized stories. It allows you to create based on something already done or change a plot, even if it contradicts everything previously written. If you base yourself on what your reading audience or role players tell you, you can modify everything to fit what they would have liked to happen in the plot.

For this you can use two techniques:

  1. The alteration, which allows you to review an idea and change it completely even achieving a logical sense. The best thing is, precisely that, that you relate the new review with some of the laws created for your Worldbuilding. You can even invent a new law that governs the change you make in your plot, but try to make it blend with the previous.
  2. The subtraction, which allows you to remove or erase what has not been liked. Blessed time loops.

The Correct Workflow

Neuronas unidas entre sí para explicar leyes de Worldbuilding.
Rocío Salado Rubio

After knowing a little about what Worldbuilding is and how it can be carried out, you are going to learn to have a workflow that allows you to “not go off on a tangent”. Especially when we talk about using the macro technique.

In this workflow we are going to use the Vertical Slice combined with the Disney technique, although the latter adapted to the workflow.


The most important thing is to note in your calendar the days you are going to create your Worldbuilding. This is the first base for organization and to set times for yourself. Don’t do anything outside of those days, your mind also needs to rest.

The second thing is to stipulate a schedule. From what time to what time will you create the Worldbuilding? Be aware of the time you have to develop it and meet the days and hours of your calendar. This way you will be creating your fictional world little by little, without stress and with consistency.

Take advantage of everything you study or work on. Your own knowledge is the raw material to create your Worldbuilding and will allow you to make a rich world full of details.

Create a system of folders, physical or digital, that allow you to save the references that you find and that you would like as a base for your fictional world. And always have your Worldbuilding template at hand.

Steps to follow

Now that you have organized yourself it’s time to start. The first thing is that you know that you are going to use a cyclical workflow based on the Vertical Slice. This means that in each phase of the workflow you must cover each section of your Worldbuilding. Don’t focus on growing a particular idea or develop one section more than another. The idea is that you always have a minimum of content for each section, treat the seven sections with equal importance. But keep in mind that there will be sections that you end up developing in more depth, because your story, game or comic needs it.The 5 phases of the work cycle are as follows.


A phase in which you only have to brainstorm. Take advantage and don’t judge any of them, take them all as valid. Thus you will take advantage of the part of the Disney method called The Dreamer. It is best to add loose words, but you can also write short sentences that do not exceed one line. Remember that you are not defining anything, you are just generating ideas to use later.


In this second phase you will have to create mind maps and link all the crazy ideas you have had. Relate them and give them a sense among themselves. Here you will start using the part of the Disney method called The Realist. Ask yourself questions and answer them to make sense and guide yourself in creating your schemes. You still don’t have to define, you’re not at that step yet, but you can write notes on why you’ve related ideas in that way.


Now that you have a base built, it’s time to define the names and different ideas that have occurred to you. Briefly describe what a specific object is like, what the buildings where the characters live look like, pose premises for the plot, etc. Also, this will be the phase in which you change and discard ideas that didn’t quite like at first. In this way, follow the part of the Disney method called The Critic, which tries to find problems with the ideas presented.


In this phase it’s your turn to delve into every detail, add richness to everything you’ve already proposed and bring much more life to your world. You just have to pick up what you’ve left done in the define phase and describe in great detail any object or living being that exists in your Worldbuilding. Ask yourself questions that allow you to add characteristics, abilities and uses to each of the ideas you have defined.


Finally, we come to the simplest phase of all. Here you can complete information that you think necessary, eliminate what doesn’t convince you completely, select what you want to use for the story, etc. With regard to this last point and as you know, from a Worldbuilding not everything is used absolutely, since it’s your guide, but if you plan on creating several parts for your story you will have all the information done. It will be like the encyclopedia of your fictional world.”

In the next section you will be able to see the distribution of each of the sections with simplified questions, so that you can start working. Likewise, I recommend that you set maximum times for each phase of the workflow. You can set 3 days for the first phase, 4 for the second, 6 for the third… etc. After those three days for the ideation phase, define times for each of the Worldbuilding sections. The best thing? That they have the same development time. This way you will get to the point and you will not run the risk of going overboard. After all, this will be your guide to writing.

Worldbuilding Sections

As you have read, there are seven. Look at this list and note down the questions.

  1. Basic Composition. What is the universe made of, what rules govern it, and what is its timeline?
  2. Universe. What regions, galaxies, and celestial bodies make it up?
  3. Setting. What are the important planets and their characteristics?
  4. Intelligent Species. What are they and what capabilities do they have?
  5. Civilizations. What is their social structure and what species coexist in them?
  6. Factions and Plots. What are their objectives and what conflicts do they have?
  7. Characters. Who are they, what objectives do they pursue, and what are their conflicts?

For You or Your Team

So far, the introduction to Worldbuilding. You can take advantage of the workflow by using it for yourself or to direct your work team. In addition to what you have seen here, each section is subdivided into many others that perfectly complement the information to be added. In the following posts, I will explain what they are and what information to add in each one. You can also subscribe to our Patreon and get a gigantic template in which you will have the possibility to create an extensive Worldbuilding.

Support us to create much more valuable content and be able to offer you the templates you need.

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