novel with me

Just the Basics- World Building #2

Welcome back to Novel With Me!

Last week we started our planning with world building part one. Today, we’re continuing with the following aspects:

Culture

Government and Politics

Religion

If you’re looking for more detail, you can watch the corresponding video here.

You’re going to have to delve right down into your different countries or kingdoms, so I hope you’ve at least got some in mind. If not, it’s perfectly fine to create everything and assign them to your kingdoms later. Just keep in mind that culture stems from not only history, but the geographical location as well

Culture

Culture is the way of life of a group of people. Their beliefs, their values, their traditions and their view of the world. It’s not just things to can see, but it’s also things you experience and things you might not notice unless you take a moment to learn.

Culture you can see:

Fashion, arts and literature, food and drink, language, celebrations.

These are things you can easily notice when you experience a new culture. The first things your characters would probably notice, so these are the things you definitely need to think about.

Culture you can’t see:

Values and beliefs, body language, facial expressions, work ethics, family roles, gender roles and more.

These are things that you wouldn’t notice on a first glance, things you might only realise after immersing yourself within the culture for a while. If you don’t want to go fully in depth with culture, you don’t really need to worry about what you can’t see. But again, culture helps define the characters.

Government and Politics

No, they are not the same thing.

Government talks about the people who run the country.

Politics talks about the process of running the country.

Government

What type of government is present in your country? Who has the power, how do they get the power, what can they do with the power?

Monarchy– Kings and Queens. Chosen by succession.

Democracy– the people choose the leader.

Theocracy– ruled by religion.

Anarchy– there are no rulers. This is usually temporary though.

Bureaucracy– ruled by officials who are employed to follow the rules

Magocracy– rules by the magic wielders

Plutocracy- ruled by the rich

Totalitarian– ruled by the military

You can mix and match types of government to suit your needs.

Politics

What people do to gain power, and how to they keep it? I’m talking underhanded tactics, secret meetings, blackmail, buying people off.

When you think of the politics, think of the alliances between your rulers. How does the person in charge exercise their power? How do the rulers exercise their influence over others?

Religion

Religion tells the story of your world, and is ingrained to your culture’s beliefs and values.

Is your religion monotheistic, or polytheistic?

Do the Gods have real power, or is it just belief?

What are the customs and traditions?

Are there any non-believers?

Are there any opposing forces?

It’s more likely that there are multiple religions within your world, especially with different cultures and beliefs, so don’t create just one.

Culture, government and politics, and religion are important parts of world building because it tells you about the people. And when you’re creating characters it can help you decide what type of people they are, depending on what culture they come from.

Visual and Learned Culture cheat sheet and world building #2 worksheet

Join me next week for part three. We’ll be talking about Law, Education and Economy.

Good thoughts and happy writing!

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