Worldbuilding Wednesday – History – August 23

Through the end of 2017, Worldbuilding Wednesday themes are going to coincide with the chapters for my forthcoming workbook, The A-Zs of Worldbuilding (based off a blog series I posted back in 2014). So, if you’d like an idea of what’s coming ahead, just go peek at that. ?

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Fantasy in particular, but sometimes science fiction as well, can often be overwhelming to writers because of the sheer scope of history that is involved. It can be easy to get lost creating years and years of history for your world, and there are some things that you should figure out. Mainly, how old your character’s civilization is (because this will determine how the years are counted), what the most important event is related to your story’s inciting incident and when that event occurred, and the most important thing that has happened in your character’s personal history (what has shaped them to be who they are.)

For your story itself, one of the most valuable things you can do is take the time to create a timeline for your plot and characters. Include the events that don’t take place in the book, but are still information you need to know. These will be things like:

  • Birth (and death, potentially) dates of characters.
  • The start and end dates of any wars, plagues, famines, and even periods of abundance and peace that intersect with the timeline of the plot.
  • Shifts in government – maybe an election drastically changed the look of political representation, or there was a death or birth of a monarch (or future monarch).
  • Technological advances that have reshaped society (such as, in our world, the invention of computers).
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And for people (like me) who try to think of historical events and create a timeline and find that events easily become repetitive, I recommend using this Historical Timeline Generator.

I found it years ago, and was glad to find it again (and still existing – because unlike some people like to claim, the internet is NOT forever. I’ve lost too many bookmarks over the years for that to be true!) this week. I like this generator because it’s very customizable. You can decide how the years are numbered, how many years it should create events for, and how many events there should be per year.

It will spit out a list that looks like this:

In the year 456, it is written that…
..fighting between ‘Evil’ temples occurred
..a terrible famine swept the land
In the year 457, it is written that…
..there was an epidemic/disease with an infection rate of 6% – 10% and a mortality rate of 30% – 39%
..a settlement treaty was signed
In the year 458, it is written that…
..there was an epidemic/disease with an infection rate of 51% – 60% and a mortality rate of 30% – 39%
..there was an epidemic/disease with an infection rate of 41% – 50% and a mortality rate of 20% – 29%
In the year 459, it is written that…
..banditry became an increasing problem
..there was an invasion for ‘punitive reasons’

As you can see, the events themselves are fairly generic, so you can adapt them to fit your world. You don’t have to use all of them, either. Just pick and choose from what years you need.

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The generator is also available as a download on this page. Just scroll down to the downloads section and click on ‘Time Line Creator.’ It is a .zip that you’ll save to your computer.

Have fun playing with history, since this is when you can alter the past! 😉

Further Questions

  1. What historical event has led to your inciting incident?
  2. What historical event has most affected your character’s life?
  3. Has your character witnessed any significant historic events personally?

Can’t wait to see your response posts – don’t forget to submit them in the link list below! Please review the rules and guidelines for Worldbuilding Wednesday before participating. Thank you!

And if you aren’t participating in the blog hop, but still enjoyed this post, please comment and share!

2 thoughts on “Worldbuilding Wednesday – History – August 23

  1. Good post as always. I’ve got my post up. I think I shall post some Worldbuilding Wednesday related posts on Twitter using my Buffer account. Might help to get the word out. I also posted about it in the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers group on FB. In between breaking up a fight. (Nothing goes on in that group except for the rare fights. I kind of like the fights as well as hating them because at least someone is posting.)

What do you think?