I swear to you, in less than ten minutes--it was on the latter half of my drive home--I came up with an idea. On a twenty minute drive I was over half done with, I came up with an idea.
Not just part of an idea.
Start to finish worldbuilding on the idea.
It lacks characters, it lacks plot. It was just an idea for a world, but start to finish, I came up with it.
The idea was more or less, "how do I make a realistic world featuring multiple species of anthropomorphic winged sapients?"
One with feathered "bird" wings.
One with 'leathery' "bat" wings.
One with "butterfly" wings.
One with "bee" wings.
One with "dragonfly" wings.
And two without wings, one off of an ant and another off of a spider.
For the world I came up with, every one of them would need at least six limbs--in that world, the norm being at least six, rather than in our world where it's the norm to have four. (Bats don't have wings, arms, and legs; they have wings and legs; same for birds. But here I wanted them to have both.)
They would need a common ancestor or two, one where their anthropomorphic features came from prior to diverging into their more insect/bird/mammal forms, because that is probably more likely a scenario than them having started from insect/bird/mammal forms and all, separately from one another, developing said anthropomorphic forms.
Specifically, an ancestor that'd require bipedal movement and an opposable thumb, sized about our size but with at least a second set of "arms".
They would also require a great degree of long-term separation, and, a climate where all but the non-fliers were in a position where the mutation allowing flight gave a strong survival advantage. My thought on the world was then one with many sudden sharp increases and decreases in altitude, uneven surfaces in most locations, small islands which're mostly mountainous, probably covered in trees.
Where walking is sometimes necessary, but where flying is usually much easier to cross vast distances. Leading to a world with two large continents and five groupings of islands. Seven total "continents" if you will, even if five of said continents aren't one single landmass. (At least, not one landmass above water.)
To favor flight over traversing waters, currents in the air would need to be fairly easy to travel, whereas inversely, currents on the water would need to be much, much more hazardous than in our world, deterring evolution of an amphibious lifestyle.
The separation between these continents would need to be strong enough to keep contact from overlapping for a long time, but not quite make it so that it's impossible for them to have traveled there in the first place and millions of years down the line to reconnect.
The obvious answer I came up with is paralleling our world, with an ice age. The beginning and/or end of an ice age would either allow for contact or cut contact off; similarly, the change in climate would spur a necessary change in the needed mutations to survive.
I didn't quite come up with whether it was the ice age starting or ending which caused the isolation, even though the world is distinctly different depending on which of the two it is. If the ice age starting caused the isolation, the sapient life forms evolved in cooler conditions with their adaptions, and it can be hypothesized that the end of the ice age helped spur them into spreading out.
If the ice age ending caused the isolation, the sapient forms evolved in warmer conditions with their adaptions, and it can be hypothesized that there was some other factor other than ice blocking them from spreading out--a factor they could only overcome with technology rather than biology.
In the former, a potential cause of the isolation is an inability to maintain a long enough distance of flight to travel the distance.
In the latter, a potential cause of the isolation is isolated weather conditions, where it's easier to get into the islands than it is to get out.
These ideas aren't well fleshed out, but they are what I came up with in the ten minutes. They aren't well-researched, because if they were then a lot of what I said would sound more plausible and be more grounded in fact rather than just my shaky guess at how things could potentially work, with my incredibly limited knowledge of biology and geology and the like. (I know almost nothing, and thus, my lack of knowledge hurts the chances of making the idea I came up with seem realistic.)
What I really hate isn't the lack of ability to flesh that part out, though.
So much as it is.
My lack of ability to flesh out each of the species I described.
I created a mental picture of each and every single one of them.
I created a basic idea of how their lifestyle would work. Their biology, their culture(s), and how the other species view them (including slur words used to describe them).
But while the ideas are formed in my head, loosely.
I can't extrapolate them in reality.
I can't bring them out into reality, because to bring them out into reality I would actually need to make them, with skills that I lack.
I'd need to draw them.
I'd need to, from that drawing, create "profiles". You know the like. In almost every webcomic featuring races (heck doesn't need to be nonhuman, many webcomics simply with fictional cultures do much the same), you see this sort of thing.
Where you get an image or two showing the typical image meant to portray them, and then a list of the relevant information about them.
I'd need to create that.
And after doing that.
Weave them together to form the details.
And the worldbuilding for each of them is rough, at best.
Yet the worldbuilding as a whole is even worse, because it takes the roughness of all of those, then is meant to weave them together, to create the modern world of whatever story this would be for.
What technologies would such societies with these described biologies have? These would be influenced by their culture as well--diet, beliefs, interactions, etc. How they finally made contact, and how they didn't manage to wipe each other out, and how they managed to understand each other, and what ideas between their separate cultures were exchanged and so on and so forth.
What nations would exist, how intermingled would the races be? (The world I'm aiming for would be "enough where it's not uncommon to have all featured in a single location for the story", but not "so much where there's no separation outside of isolated pockets". Where there's dominant races in different areas, but enough variety to not be uniform in most areas.)
What technologies would they develop we never would, what technologies we have would they never develop? All of this is possible to create from what I have, but it'd need that first step--of bringing what I made in my head, out into the real world.
And beyond what I've done here.
Mostly generics, mostly stuff about the world itself.
I can't do that.
Which is the frustrating thing I hate.
A brilliant, fantastic idea in my head--a full world, built in ten minutes. Ten minutes, to do all of what I described and then some. In a lifetime I'd never be able to bring it out. The full world's loosely functional; rough around the edges and in desperate need of concrete details, but it's there...and it'll remain there, nowhere else, because this is as much as I can do with it.