Filed under Tips & Tools on November 25, 2008
Tagged: cultures, fantasy fiction, world-building
I recently attended an employer-mandated cultural competency course, and while I don’t feel any more culturally competent than I did before the workshop, one of the exercises we participated in provided a great template for constructing a detailed culture in twenty minutes. I’ve talked before about how important it is to flesh out cultures when world-building for your fantasy fiction story. Now I’m going to give you 7 easy steps to do just that.
- Assign Physical Characteristics
- What do the members of the culture look like?
- How do they dress?
- Does the culture include men and women?
- What age groups exist within the culture?
- What does the culture consider sacred?
- Does the culture celebrate any holidays?
- Does the culture have an organized religion or system of beliefs?
- What things are forbidden by the culture?
- Does the culture recognize borders or land claims?
- Is the culture limited to a certain region or is it widespread?
- How is the culture governed?
- Are all members of the culture treated equally?
- What factors determine who holds power?
- Is the culture mono- or multilingual?
- Does the culture emphasize verbal or non-verbal communication?
- Are there dialects within the culture?
- How do members of the culture greet each other?
- How do they greet outsiders?
- Is the name formal or casual?
- Is the name used internally or externally?
- Did the name originate with the culture or was it assigned by outsiders?