So, it’s the holiday season and as winter pulls the frost up over your window, you might feel inclined to snuggle up with your pen, pad, or laptop (and a snack and a mug of eggnog of course), and start writing! Fiction writers, especially sci-fi and fantasy writers, need a lot of internal motivation to build their amazing worlds and characters. So let’s do it together with Colby’s Christmas Countdown! As you countdown to Christmas Day, here are 25 holiday writing tips to help you along in your fiction journey! You might want to grab a special writing notebook to keep all your exercises in one place, too. By the end, you’ll have months worth of material to launch you into writing your novel series! 🙂
Tip #10: World Building, II – Civilizations
So we already have an idea of the lay of the land for our novel series. But we can’t have a world without people (or beings) in it! So let’s think of who exactly we want living in our fictional world. And remember, your civilizations do NOT have to look human or even be human-like! You can have demons, monsters, ethereal creatures, ghosts, and much much more!
Activity of the (Holi)DAY: Create at least two civilizations or groups. They don’t have to be human, but they do have to be well-rounded. For each group of people (each civilization), answer the questions below:
1. What is the history behind this civilization? How did they come to be?
2. Where in the world, or the universe, do these people reside?
3. Create three meaningful holidays for this civilization. Where did these holidays come from? Folklore? Legends? Significant events or changes?
4. Does this civilization speak another language? (We’ll get to “creating languages” soon! It’s SO much fun!)
5. What kind of government does this civilization use?
6. What are the social mannerisms? The social expectations?
7. What kind of economy do they use? What kind of currency? Or do they have have free-bartering?
8. What is the legal system like?
9. What is the educational system like?
10. How do they dress? What is their fashion sense?
11. How does their surrounding environment impact how they live (if at all)?
12. If they had to trade with one another, what are their natural and manufactured resources?
13. Are there any major conflicts, mistrusts, bonds, or shared brotherhood with surrounding civilizations? If so, why?
There are MANY other things to consider for civilization building as well, day-to-day things such as inventions, art, music, dance, food. These tiny details should come to you as you lay the deeper groundwork for each civilization. Right now, though, you have plenty to work with! 🙂
How I Did It: There are five different civilizations living in the world of The Books of Ezekiel, and these civilizations grew out of the various conflicts I planned for the entire novel series. I’ve only introduced four of them thus far: The Alchemic Order, The Civic Order, The Ninkashi, and in a cameo appearance, The Messhe. To keep things short and sweet, I went through a questionnaire just like the one above for each one of these civilizations. In some instances, I’m still developing some aspects of these groups. Here’s a very short example of how I started brainstorming about the government structure of each civilization:
1. The Alchemic Order – A republic. They’re humans, and as as such they will ultimately want to recreate the government of former human society. There are smaller societies within the Order. Azures vs Azure Alchemists, for instance. Not adversarial. The status difference is much like the relationship between law enforcement officers and civilians of our world today. Among Azure Alchemists, there are three alignments, and there are tensions between them.
2. The Civic Order – A republic. Similar government to that of the Alchemic Order. There were smaller societies such as Civic Alchemists vs Civilians, with a status difference similar to the relationship between law enforcement officers and civilians. Civic Alchemists no longer exist, but while they were operating, they didn’t have three internal alignments as the Azure Alchemists did.
3. The Messhe – A monarchy. Different life-form, they came into being in a different way than humans did. Messhe operate using principles and rules of First Matter.
4. The Ninkashi – Their main goal is survival, and so “command” is determined by survival of the fittest. The most fit and most resourceful rules over small enclaves of Ninkashi. A brother-race to the Messhe.
As you can see, there is a LOT of meaty stuff here, and I haven’t even presented all of my brainstorming notes to you. So you can imagine what my notes looked like after I was done answering the above questions! Try it out, and see where these questions take you! 😉
Keep it indie,