Every year I participate in a challenge called National Novel Writing Month. One month, every November, I endeavor to write 50,000 words. As I participate in this challenge I see the same question over and over again.
How do I build a world?
The answer isn’t as hard as some people think. With proper planning and dedication you can build a world in 30 days. I would recommend visiting the Fantasy Worldbuilding website for the information on how to do so. The idea is to take 15 minutes a day to go over one exercise for 30 straight days. By the time you reach the end of this exercise you will have a strong enough world built to begin your writing.
How much work and dedication should be put into worldbuilding?
Worldbuilding should not be a back-breaking process. All you need to start is enough information to remain consistent and know your world. Some people get so into the world building aspect of the story that it takes them years to finish what could be done in a month. Keep in mind that as you write, more information will come. When it does, and the world continues to take shape, keep track of these changes. Having a separate notebook with the information inside is advisable.
The most important thing to remember is that worldbuilding is not a precise art. It is a guide to help you along, a way to help you visualize the place in which your story will unfold.
Yes, this entry is probably shorter than you expected. But remember, the process of worldbuilding should be short as well. Visit that site, use the practices, and be on your way. After all, why bang your head against the wall over something that will still shape itself as you write?