World-Building Questionnaire: Government and Politics

World-Building Questionnaire: Government, Politics, Laws, Legal, Powers, Freedoms

World-building questionnaires are vital for fleshing out a fictional world. They help fantasy writers create immersive settings and are also invaluable for historical fiction authors getting to know their period and setting. A well-developed world adds depth and authenticity, making the story more engaging for readers.

Understanding your world’s government and political systems is crucial. It affects the power dynamics, conflicts, and daily lives of your characters. Knowing these systems can help you create a believable and consistent world.

Types of Government

  1. What forms of government exist in your world (monarchy, democracy, oligarchy)?
  2. How did these governments come to power? What is their history?
  3. Are there any significant political ideologies or movements?
  4. How stable are the governments? Are there frequent changes or revolutions?
  5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each government type?

Laws and Legal Systems

  1. What legal systems are in place (common law, civil law, religious law)?
  2. How are laws created and enforced?
  3. What are the key laws that affect daily life? Are there any controversial or unpopular laws?
  4. How is justice administered? What are the courts like?
  5. Are there secret police or other underground organizations?

Political Structures and Institutions

  1. What are the main political institutions (parliaments, councils, courts)?
  2. How are political leaders chosen (elections, inheritance, appointment)?
  3. What roles do political institutions play in society?
  4. Are there any significant political parties or factions?
  5. How do political institutions interact with other aspects of society (military, religion)?

Power and Influence

  1. Who holds the most power in your world? How do they maintain it?
  2. Are there any power struggles or conflicts?
  3. What are the sources of power (wealth, military strength, popular support)?
  4. How is power distributed among different groups (nobles, commoners, clergy)?
  5. Are there any checks and balances on power?

Public Policy and Governance

  1. What are the major public policies (education, health, infrastructure)?
  2. How are public services provided and funded?
  3. What is the role of government in the economy?
  4. How does the government address social issues (poverty, inequality)?
  5. What are the major political issues or debates?

International Relations

  1. How do different governments interact with each other?
  2. Are there any alliances, treaties, or trade agreements?
  3. What are the major sources of international conflict?
  4. How do governments handle diplomacy and foreign policy?
  5. Are there any significant international organizations or coalitions?

Civil Rights and Freedoms

  1. What rights and freedoms do citizens have?
  2. How are these rights protected or restricted?
  3. Are there any marginalized or oppressed groups?
  4. How do citizens participate in the political process?
  5. What are the major civil rights movements or struggles?

A world-building questionnaire helps you unearth details that may not appear directly in your story. However, having these details in your mind will make your world more authentic and vibrant.

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David Griffin Brown (Septimus Brown) is the founder and senior editor at Darling Axe Editing

David Griffin Brown is an award-winning short fiction writer and co-author of Immersion and Emotion: The Two Pillars of Storytelling. He holds a BA in anthropology from UVic and an MFA in creative writing from UBC, and his writing has been published in literary magazines such as the Malahat Review and Grain. In 2022, he was the recipient of a New Artist grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. David founded Darling Axe Editing in 2018, and as part of his Book Broker interview series, he has compiled querying advice from over 100 literary agents. He lives in Victoria, Canada, on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

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1 comment

  • What are the main objectives of the West Bengal government in developing infrastructure in the state?

    Regard Telkom University

    Telkom University

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