When creating a worldbuilding bible, it can be helpful to have a template to work from. Below is a list of information you might want to think about including in your worldbuilding bible.
You can copy and paste this list into a document and start filling it out, but please delete anything that isn’t relevant to your story. You don’t want to spend a ton of time filling out information in your worldbuilding bible that isn’t relevant to your story because it will suck up your time and won’t benefit you!
If you have any suggested additions to this list, please post it in the comments!
The Natural World
- Stars, suns, moons, and planets
- Oceans and/or major bodies of water
- Mountains, woods, and/or other prominent features of the landscape
- Common plants
- Rare plants
- Poisonous and/or medicinal plants
- Common animals/creatures
- Rare animals/creatures
- Natural formations
- Government buildings/castles
- Train stations/airports/subways/launch pads/highways
- Restrictions on travel
- Dangerous locations
- Luxury/vacation locations
- Travel times between locations
- Common methods of travel
- Affordability of travel
Architecture & Infrastructure
- Common building materials
- Expensive building materials
- Appearance and layout of typical houses
- Appearance and layout of expensive houses
- Appearance and layout of typical shops/stores
- Streets and sidewalks (brick, cobblestone, dirt, etc.)
- Availability of plumbing and sewage
- Garbage collection
- Distribution of energy
- Burial practices
- Curable diseases
- Incurable diseases
- Common diseases
- Rare diseases
- Availability of medicine
- Cost of medicine
- Legal drugs/potions/substances
- Illegal drugs/potions/substances
- Common professions
- Less common professions
- Rare professions
- Gender/racial/species/education restrictions of professions
- Unemployment rate
- Distribution of wealth
- Lifestyle of average income earners
- Lifestyle of the poor
- Lifestyle of the rich
- Money system or bartering system
- Major world events
- Major wars
- Major natural disasters
- Age of civilization
- Previous leaders/rulers
- Recent cultural shifts/changes
- Cheap fabrics
- expensive fabrics
- Lower class clothing styles
- Middle class clothing styles
- Upper class clothing styles
- Differences in clothing between genders
- Differences in clothing between regions
- Differences in clothing between cultural groups or species
- Staple foods
- Luxury foods
- Availability of food
- Local/regional dishes
- Professional sports
- Hobby/schoolyard sports
- Board games and/or card games
- Music styles
- Common instruments
- Common themes and subject matter of fiction
- Government/legal/regional restrictions on films, plays, novels, music
- Affordability of films, sports games, board games, instruments, books, etc.
- Criminal justice system
- Minor crimes
- Major crimes
- Laws impacting daily life
- Common sentences for crimes (prison, labor, execution, etc.)
- Police behavior, uniform, practices, powers
- Prison conditions
- Public opinion of law enforcement
- Political parties
- Ruler/King/Queen/President/Prime Minister
- Prominent Members of Court/Government
- Secret government agencies and/or organizations
- Public opinion of the ruler/government
- Common spells
- Rare spells
- Restrictions on spells
- Common magical skills
- Rare magical skills
- Restrictions on magical skills
- Common potions
- Rare potions
- Restrictions on potions
- Prevalence of magic users
- Society’s perception of magic
- Requirements of using magic
- Availability of technology
- Capabilities of technology
- Weapon technology
- Entertainment technology
- Energy creation technology
- Transportation technology
- Major religions
- Dynamics between religious groups
- Places of worship
- Religious holidays
- Morals and beliefs
- Origin of religion
- Prevalence of religion
- Separation (or lack of separation) between church and government
- Typical age of marriage
- Typical number of children
- Typical family dynamic/structure
- Attitudes towards children
- Attitudes towards the elderly
- Attitudes towards romantic love
- Care for elderly relatives (in-home, nursing homes, etc.)
- Care for children (traditional parenting, nannies, boarding school, etc.)
- Gender roles (or lack of gender roles)
- Importance of birth order to family roles, inheritance, profession
- Typical education level
- School subjects
- School environment (strict, lenient, etc.)
- Availability of schooling/education
- Cost of education
- Restrictions on education due to gender, abilities, species, etc.
- Primary/major languages
- Regional/minor languages
- Prevalence of multilingual/bilingual people
- Colloquial phrases, slang, and curses
Races & Species
- Primary/major races and/or species
- Minority races and/or species
- Dynamics between species and/or races
- Cultural disconnects between species and/or races
- Commonalities between species and/or races
- Typical weather
- Atypical weather
- Seasonal variations in weather (or lack of variation)
- Clothes for each season
- Heating & cooling homes
27 thoughts on “Worldbuilding Bible Template”
Wow what a phenomenal list!! So thorough!!
Thank you very much for this list. Here’s just a few thoughts regarding things you might like to add:
Common translation problems/misunderstandings
Under ‘Races & Species’:
Significant physical features (e.g. If a species flies, does it have wings or not?)
Key goals of rebel organisation(s)
Have you considered adding a ‘Military’ section? I know you mentioned weapons but there’s a lot more to warfare than just weapons.
And, perhaps under ‘Religion’:
Astrology (or maybe under ‘Magic’, depending on relevance)
This is awesome!!! THank you!!!
This was very helpful.
Origin of the cosmos.
Structure or model of the cosmos.
How will the cosmos end, if ever.
Fundamental laws of the cosmos & how they interact.
Limitations of physics, what is impossible.
“What” happens when the laws of the cosmos break down.
Are their concrete answers to subjective questions such as, “what is the meaning to life”?
What is common knowledge?
What is esoteric?
What are some common misconceptions of different concepts of the world.
What are some major discoveries.
What are some major secrets, that are waiting to be discovered?
Who are the famous inventors and thinkers of the world.
What are the ways in which information spreads and is acquired? What kinds of people are considered experts? (Messenger on horseback, propaganda, word of mouth, standardized education, etc.)
How do the different cultures in the world influence each other via cultural diffusion (the process by which cultures exchange ideas, beliefs, technology, etc.)
That’s all I can think of for now, if I happen to think of anything else or a more articulate and concise list, I’ll try to remember to repost.
Thanks for the list, saved me a lot of time & effort!
I’m prepping for NaNoWriMo 2017 at the moment, and this list is fantastic. I won’t be using all of the points, but just considering what I (and my readers) need to know and what’s unnecessary has been immensely helpful.
Thank you! ❤
Thank you for the great and well organized list!
Thank you so much for this template. I would like to add that era and managing the dates in your novel can be tricky as well.
When you have to write all of this down because you’re not allowed to use your phone at school and that is where you’re going to do it
Thank you for this list. I’ve been trying to create a world Bible for a while now and I just ran out of categories to delve into. It’s my first world Bible so this is helping tremendously