Sorry that this is late. I had an argument with my tablet last night... I lost. I celebrated its victory by crashing the app and deleting my post...*sigh*
But I won the war.... *evil chuckling at the low battery notification*
Okay, back to the topic at hand. Part two... lets make out world messy and nuanced. This post will explore: causes for conflict in your country; the customs that bind people together; and the daily grind that we call life.
Problem Three: Causes of societal conflict
All our worlds have conflict, if they didn't they are either a) a utopia or b) so unrealistic... if you're anything like me you've made the latter. So down the rabbit hole we go...
It seems to be everywhere in YA at the moment. And for good reason, a well thought out oppression can give your world some grit. It can add fuel to your character's fire. It can even add tension to normal daily life. It's pretty sweet when done right. I did not do it right. Here are some things to consider when creating a dystopian society:
The police are always the good guys right... well, no. The laws are there to protect me right... again, no. Let's stack the odds against our characters.
Last but not least, good old human vs human conflict. That nasty decay of attitude, (racism, sexism, ageism, et al.) that is like trying to punch the wind when you fight it. Good times (NB: this is not a good time). Now let's think about how to make some isms:
Problem Four: Customs
Customs are an important part of a society, they are the ways of doing thing that are accepted as normal; that identify a person as a part of that culture. I ignored this part and thus my civilians read like they were westerners stuck living in a fantasy world. There was nothing about how they interacted with the world, or each other, that made them unique. To not have euro-centric societies that are all kind of the same, have a think about the questions below.
Religion is often a feature in worlds; as people try to explain their origin, death and why things happen. If you are anything like me you made a religion but forgot about the customs that go along with worship. Here are some questions to help our more pious characters:
Customs of important events:
Not everyone celebrates birthdays. New Years is celebrated differently in different countries. When creating a culture it is important to look at what is important to them, what they celebrate and how they celebrate.
How do we say hello? Goodbye? A lot of what we do tells others what sort of person we are; if a hand is presented to us and we don't shake it we are seen as rude... kinda weird when you think about it. So what weird stuff do people do in your world?
Problem Five: Daily life
Ah, daily life. How little we think about it. We just slog through it hoping for something fun or interesting to distract us. But in world building, as I discovered, it is very important. Knowing these things will help you make rounded background characters and keep everything feeling... *does a hand joining together motion* ...cohesive.
So that concludes the mistakes I made when world building. Are there any areas that you find challenging that you would like me to write a post about? Comment below.
Next week... very exciting news!! We will be having guest bloggers who will share a little about their writing process and their genres.
Until next time, build the worlds that your characters will fight to save.
It takes some serious courage to create a whole world that is filled
with people, places and stuff happening. When I started my world-
building bible (or Carol as I call her) I did some half-assed research about what should do into it, thinking that I could just make up the
other details as I went along. Please, don’t do this.
*Sigh* I did do this. I figured out some basic races, my magic
system, a class system and even a religion/origin story. I felt on top of the world.
I quickly discovered (NB: Not quickly enough) that I had some massive gaps in my world, it was missing the depth that
makes fantasy so engrossing. Epic fail.
So where did I go wrong? Below are five categories that I should have planned before putting fingers to keyboard.
Problem One: Economic System
I did not think about how money functioned within my world. At all.
I knew what the money was called and that was all I thought I needed. I was wrong. So, so wrong.
To be fair at this point my main character has no money, at all, ever. She lives on the shanty-fringes of the city with her mom, and scavenges from the scraps of the
wealthy to find food. When I started world-building this didn’t seem like a huge
issue. But it was.
People need jobs right? Well in my world-building book, apparently not. I had not thought about this until I was faced with the realization that nobody in my world had a job… nobody. I couldn’t explain the vast wealth of the Nobles or why my
poor were so poor. So back to the drawing board I went.
Some questions to have actual jobs for your characters:
So other countries exist right? And they have different locations and climates? Chances are that they can grow or produce things that your current city/country cannot. This often leads to trade (or war/pillaging depending on your cultures
values). I did not think about this. Instead I created an isolated bubble in which my country lives.
A few questions to answer to not have a sucky bubble-country:
Problem Two: Transport and Technology
Again, as my main character gets around on foot most of the time, I did not think this one through. But transport is vital in a world. It controls
movement, trade, and even communication. Add technology to the mix
and well… I had some serious inconsistencies floating around.
Science and Technology
On Friday I will post part two which covers: Causes of societal conflict; Cultural and
religious customs; and Daily life.
I hope you found this helpful and that you can learn from my mistakes.
Until next time: do whatever keeps you writing.