Culture 101

Today’s exercise is designed to help you give the culture you’re working on depth and realism. There are many different levels of culture building, things like language, religion, history, law, and social custom. Today’s post is divided into sections: reading recommendations, religion, and law.

Reading Recommendations

Before you start this exercise, if you have a spare half hour, check out these rants by limyaael:

~Language Rant 1

~Religion Rant 1

~Medieval Societies

Religion

You probably already have a vague idea or two of your kingdom’s religion(s), but today we’re going to make up a fact sheet and establish some basic information about it. If there are multiple very separate religions, create a fact sheet for each. If there are sects, don’t bother; we’ll deal with sects on a later day.

~How many Gods does this religion worship?

~What does each deity represent? (Answer this with a list of deities and their traits.)

~How many religious orders are there? (Different orders within the same religion, similar to sects. Sects are religious orders but may also be divided into orders, i.e. one sect might have a healing order and a fighting order.)

~What are the religious orders named? (List names, and beside each write a brief descriptive sentence)

~When was the first temple built?

~What are the rituals around birth? (More on this later; general idea now.)

Law

In the majority of medieval societies and fantasy societies, religion and law are almost entirely inseparable, which is why they’re both in today’s exercise. One builds upon the other. Today’s questions about law aren’t very in depth; I’m working on a more detailed law exercise which we’ll probably see on Friday.

~Who makes the laws? (King, Queen, Parliament, etc.)

~What is the official state religion? (Most ancient kingdoms had one)

~Do the temples have their own court system?

~How much influence do the temples have over the courts?

The Prompt&The End

This week you can look forward to questions about religion, language, and law. Every day I’ll post a prompt-on Tuesdays and Thursdays this prompt will be accompanied by one recommended reading link and one question, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, on Fridays I will post full exercises.

Today’s prompt is:

Freewrite for fifteen minutes without stopping about miracles.

Did you find today’s exercise useful?

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About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on January 7, 2011, in Workshops, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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