mobilesavage said: Many questions on the topic of worldbuilding. For example: God, why?
“God, why?” Good question! Here are some world-building questions about gods (deities) and why these preternatural beings might have an influence on your setting and plot.
- Does a deity actually exist in your world? Does this deity interfere with the affairs of mortals? If so, how does this deity affect the plot?
- Are there multiple deities? If so, how do they interact in their pantheon? Do they get along? Does this interaction affect the plot?
- If there are multiple deities, are some deities more powerful than others? What is the range? If there is a range, how does this inequality of power among deities affect the plot?
- Is there a religion that worships deities? Is there more than one religion? How do these religions interact? Does this interaction affect the plot?
- Do any of your characters believe in a high power (deities)? To what degree do your characters believe? How does their faith or lack thereof affect plot?
- Are any of your characters religious practitioners? To what degree are your characters religious? How does their religiosity or lack thereof affect plot?
If Deities Exist
- Talk about the creation of the world. What kind being is the creator deity? Thoughtful? Apathetic? An architect-type or more of a twisty chaos tornado? Was more than one deity involved in the creation of the world?
- Do the people in your world have iron-clad proof that deities actually exist? If so, when did they find out? Is it common knowledge or do only a select few know the truth? If not, why do the deities keep themselves hidden?
- In a world where there is proof of one or many higher powers, how do hope and faith function?
- Does praying work? If not, why not? If so, how does it work? Does it require sacrifice or special ritual? Why?
- Where do deities reside in your world? Do they hold court?
- Do the deities of your world survive eternally without sustenance? If not, what is required to sustain them?
- Can a character or group of characters summon a deity?
- How “human” are the deities of your world? How involved are they with the daily activities of the people of your world?
- Are the religions of your world worshiping these deities the way they’d like to be worshiped or are they doin’ it wrong?
- Are these deities pleased with the worship they receive? How does this pleasure or displeasure affect the plot?
- If your characters worship a deity or deities, does this faithfulness pay off for the characters? Do they gain or lose the favor of a deity or deities through their faithfulness or lack thereof? Can a character or group of characters gain the protection of a deity or deities?
- Can a deity create more deities? How does that work?
- Can a deity mate with a human? Under what circumstances would something like this occur? How do deities and humans feel about this sort of coupling?
- If magic exists in your world, how does this magic interact with the deities of your world? Does magic come from these deities specifically, as in a gift, or does it come from chance or study?
- If applicable, how are man-made technologies affected by the existence of deities?
- Can you kill the deities of your world? If so, how and under what circumstances might such a thing be necessary?
If Deities Don’t Exist
- Does the fact that deities don’t exist in your world affect the plot? If not, is there any reason to comment on the fact that there are no deities in your world?
- Can/Does anyone find any hard proof that deities don’t exist in your world? If so, how does this affect the plot?
- Do the religious leaders of your world know that deities don’t exist? If so, why continue on in the religion?
- If your character(s) believe in a high power, what would it take to convince them that no higher power existed? What would they do as a result of such a realization?
There are, of course, many more questions that you could ask yourself regarding deities and their effect on your plot and setting. Hopefully, these questions can get you started.
If you’d like to add a question or even a few questions to this list, submit or message us!
Messages on this topic:
added: About the place of deities in world building - don’t forget that the ambiguous option is always available! While I have my own convictions, I prefer that it be an open question in my world, just as it seems to be in the real world.
I guess the point I implied here but didn’t actually make is that these questions are for the writer during the world-building stage, not for the audience during reading stage. I’m not a big fan of choosing not to know stuff about the world you create, since that seems like an odd fingers-in-ears-lalala scenario to me. From where I’m sitting, if it came out of your brain, then you know whether or not deities exist in it. You may choose not the tell the reader, but I think it’s good for you to know either way.
This, of course, is just my perspective. It is absolutely fine never to address the existence of high powers in your story if deities play discernible role in the plot. If deities never come up, then there is no point worrying the reader about them. I’m going to go out on a limb and assert that most modern fiction (with the exception of the Spiritual and Fantasy genres) ignores the question of deities in the story.
Again, this is all just my opinion. What do you think?