Plan Your Novel for NaNoWriMo with World Building

Today is the fourth in an 8-post series on preparing your novel for Nanowrimo. In today’s post, we focus on world building for your NaNoWriMo prep. 

If you missed it, the first step in your novel preparation is your elevator pitch and the second step is crafting your story synopsis. The third post on preparing your characters is here.

Keep in mind: Take note of your genre. This will give you a general ideal of the kind of world your readers expect, so you can give that to them, and also surprise them.

Time to budget: I recommend you take 60-90 minutes to do this exercise for each of your main characters.


World Building Brainstorming Topics & Questions

  1. Language — Does your world have different languages? How did they evolve?
  2. Origin Tales — How did the world came to be?
  3. Folklore – What is your favorite childhood folktale or fairytale?
  4. Family tree – What do you know about your family tree?
  5. Jobs/professions — What kind do people have? Do men and women divide work, share it? What kind of training do your characters receive, if any? How are they trained and by whom?
  6. Gender roles – What are people’s attitudes about gender roles?
  7. Clothing/Costumes — How do people dress? What do your characters wear and why? Where does fabric come from? Who makes it?
  8. Weather — Does your place have four seasons?
  9. Flora & Fauna – What are some of the important or relevant animals and plants where you are
  10. Food — How it’s planted/harvested/hunted/gathered? What do people eat and when? How it’s cooked? Who cooks? What’s poisonous?
  11. Geography – What are the main geographical regions of your land?
  12. Annual Rituals — What is important to your world and why? How do you celebrate weddings, funerals, birthdays, puberty, other?
  13. Technology – What kind of technology exists? How is it powered? Who creates it? What training do they need?
  14. Animals – Are there any special or magical animals in your world
  15. Religion/Spirituality – What are their beliefs and how will they create conflict and why.?
  16. Magic – What are the rules and boundaries around magic?
  17. Politics/Power – Who is in power and why? How is power transferred to the next generation? What people do or don’t do to get close to powerful people?


Here’s an image to share or pin and use for your world building brainstorming!

World Development: 17 Topics to Brainstorm

World Development: 17 Topics to Brainstorm



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Plan Your Novel 30-Day Writing Challenge, starts October 1st

If you’d like hands-on support to plan your novel for Nanowrimo with your peers and with experienced instructors — Beth and Ezra Barany, then join us for our next course starting October 1st: 30-Day Writing Challenge to Plan Your Novel.

All the details for the course here.

Follow our tips on Twitter with the hashtag #30dayWC.



Further Reading



The Five Kingdom series about Henrietta The Dragon Slayer by Beth Barany

Award-winning novelist and creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany has been making up fantasy and adventure stories all her life. She writes magical tales of romance and adventure for women and girls to transport them to new worlds where anything is possible. She empowers novelists to write, publish, and market their genre novels.


Books by Ezra BaranyBook marketing mentor, Ezra Barany is the author of the award-winning bestseller, The Torah Codes. Contact Ezra today to begin the conversation on how he can help you design your book cover or pitch via FacebookTwitter, or contact him through this blog, or email: EZRA at THETORAHCODES dot COM. More about his thrillers at

Beth and Ezra Barany, Co-Founders of the Barany School of Fiction

Together Beth and Ezra run the Barany School of Fiction.
Check out our listing of current and upcoming self-paced and facilitated courses here:

Tip #5: Plot and Story Building Tips

List of all 8 tips here.

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