world building considerations

  • what people think writing is like: *waking up before dawn to sit at your writing desk and start writing eloquent prose, elaborately sketched out plot lines and world-building details, deep consideration of symbolism and theme*
  • what writing is really like: *scribbles messy character profiles for 800 characters I will never write about and rewrites and revises the same scene 5,000 times while talking to myself*
gender subversion in CACW


Here are few scenes that really did seem to invert the way gender stereotypically plays out, especially in big Hollywood summer blockbusters that are chock full of action.

+ Tony’s regret scene where he wishes he had told his father he loved him.  This isn’t an angsty drunken confession, just a sincere and mature emotional wish.  Despite this being deeply personal and despite voluntary emotional sharing being contrary to the stiff upper lip the world expects of men, Tony shares these feelings publicly.  The film could easily have introduced the subject of the older Starks in more private way, but this frank emotional moment was chosen instead.  This is discussed better in the positive example below. 

+ The actual closeness between King T’Chaka and Prince T’Challa: hand clasping and open parent-child expressions of affection are far more common in: mother-daughter scenes, father-daughter scenes and sometimes even mother-son scenes (think of the Star Trek reboot, or how much more easily affectionate Maria Stark was with Tony, in comparison to the Father-Son relationship).  We’re used to seeing love and affection when at least one of those expressing affection is a woman.  Parental and specifically paternal pride is something movie-goers love to see but there is usually a sense of having to earn it first.  A son receiving paternal pride and approval subsequent to some quest of right action or chivalry is something we more often see on screen.  Seldom do we see it given as easily as between T’Chaka and T’Challa.  T’Chaka does not behave as though he is surprised by his father’s open praise and affection.  Neither man is uncomfortable about the fact that this moment is shared in a highly public place filled with important people who may not understand it.

+ The T’Challa grief scene: seldom do you see men so moved by grief in cinema - especially popular cinema of the summer blockbuster variety.  When you do, they tend to be grieving over a woman or a child, never another man.  It’s as though, for men, the expression of severe grief must be justified not by their relationship to the dead person, but by the helplessness or victimhood of the dead person.  But King T’Chaka is a powerful world leader key to the Accords; he is not a character lacking agency.  The pose given the grief-stricken prince is also an interesting choice: clutching, crying, rocking are all expressions of trauma and grief again usually reserved for women onscreen.

+ In contrast to the scene above, we are not given a flashback to Zemo’s terrible discovery of his dead wife and child.  While an easy emotional trigger that can be used to justify male grief and rage, we actually only hear his wife alive on his voicemail.  There are no sad physical talismans in the form of a child’s drawing in a wallet, or a too-small wedding band on a chain.  We are not given the easy mental and emotional crutches used to depict and justify male grief or male rage.  The characters are forced to display these feelings, not merely allude to them.  Likewise, there are no flashbacks about Steve and Peggy.  In part this is owing to the expectation of displaying emotion explained above but also in part because of the considerable world-building in the MCU that means we take the depth of their feeling for one another as given and consequently understand that Steve is upset.

+ Showing male heroes needing/reaching out for emotional support and receiving it.  We see depressed, grieving heroes, sometimes crying or with tears in their eyes.  Steve, Tony and T’Challa are big hitters, but no one jokes about this or suggests their emotions are inappropriate.  More important; THEY don’t try to conceal these emotions or fob them off with humour.  We get to see that Tony’s not ok about his relationship with Pepper being under strain.  When he tells Steve about it, he gets nothing from Steve but sympathy.  Steve does not attempt to make light of these feelings.  Steve needs a hug after Peggy’s funeral - that’s a normal, human emotional need that we see being fulfilled.  It’s a good companion to the scene in the First Avenger when Peggy consoles Steve over Bucky’s death.  While this SOUNDS like a dumb observation to make, stop to consider how much stoic male screen grief we’re used to seeing: solitary drinking, physical rage, lone graveside vigils.  Needing emotional support and actually getting it?  Positively refreshing.  

+ In a riff-off of the kind of emotional hurt/comfort discussed above; a woman making a man’s favourite home cooked meal/much missed meal is a common on screen trope - although more in TV than in film.  Women cooking/baking comfort food in general is.  Slash fandoms love to subvert this so much that romances where characters cook well, learn to cook, try to cook for the sake of another or own a cafe/bakery.  However, this film shows us Vision, who presents as male at least as much as Jarvis did (more if you consider his wardrobe) tries to cook for Wanda to cheer her up.  This is interesting particularly if you consider that in comic canon these two are a couple and even have children.

+ Hawkeye and the power of women.  Clint deliberately puts himself in harm’s way trying to talk Wanda out of her partially self-imposed prison.  He knows he can’t best watchdog Vision.  He knows Wanda can.  He trusts entirely her ability to defend him.  It is so rare, especially in an action film, for the ace up a male hero character’s sleeve to be rescue from a young woman.  Rarer still for it not to be humour; a gag wherein a woman brains an antagonist with a book or frying pan and then she and/or the rescued male character quip about it.  We see more of this Hawkeye (the only character with a wife and a daughter, it should be noted) in the airport fight scene.  Wanda tosses Widow away from Clint.  Widow and Hawkeye had been sparring and Wanda was not happy that Clint had been pulling his punches.  Firstly, you believe that Clint was pulling his punches but you believe it because he and Widow are friends, not because Widow is a woman.  Secondly, Clint doesn’t seem very worried about Widow being injured by Wanda (he knows how tough Natasha is and trusts Wanda).  He just seems to accept the rebuke for what it is and moves on.  Clint’s trust in the women around him isn’t showy, it reads more like his character than a film’s teachable moments, making them easily overlooked but more authentic.

+ A man (in this case, Steve) having a close, platonic woman friend and a romantic interest in a woman who is not that friend.  There is no suggestion; as in the traditional romcom trope, that the friends will realise a latent romantic attraction to one another.  They’re just friends. There is also no tense scene between the women.  There is no approval or disapproval by either woman of Steve’s closeness to the other.  This is not novel to the franchise considering Clint and Natasha’s friendship in no way appeared to threaten Laura in A:AOU, and also because we do see Natasha as an active matchmaker where Steve is concerned in CA:TWS, but it was nice to see a continuation in this vein nonetheless.

+ Possibly an unpopular opinion but Bucky is more mcguffin than man - traditionally a role used for women and/or children - the character of Bucky continues to lack agency.   Bucky is the only character in this film indisputedly in need of saving.  He is the metaphorical princess in the tower, the relentless focus of the proposing and opposing sides of this film.  By now we’ve had three films about Steve rescuing, or trying to rescue, Bucky.  Bucky, while dangerous, is also unstable, afraid, physically and emotionally tortured and used as a pawn by people.  While this is understandable from a canon perspective (it’s hard to have agency when you are brainwashed or are avoiding being brainwashed; something we know of the WSP and the Red Room) it is worthwhile to think about how you would feel about the character of Bucky if genderswapped?  I think there would be a fair amount of blowback regarding gendered tropes if it were the case.

Anyhow, I thought these elements were interesting.

anonymous asked:

Hello! do you have any world building refs/guides? im in the process of developing a disney princess oc & i want to make her kingdom as realistic as possible. thank you!!

Here are some links I found for you:

guardioes-dos-sonhos  asked:

Hi, how are you? I'm doing a story, but I need to create an imaginary city. Do you know anything that would help me create a name and characteristics of the city? By the way, thank you for all the tips that you give for us every day, they are really helpful :)

A masterlist of categorised links on creating a city including names, maps, and world building guides!

Keep reading


Legal and/or Official: This is the name on legal documents. If there are no birth certificates, this name will be the equivalent of what you would put on legal documents. Not all people go by their legal or official name for several reasons. One reason could be that no one in a given culture goes by this name, but instead by a casual name. This name could be used for legal, religious, or political purposes. These names do not have to be given at birth.

Birth Name: The birth name is obviously the name given at birth, but it doesn’t have to be right after birth. It can be days, weeks, or even months after. The birth name can also be a temporary name until an official name is chosen. It depends on the culture you’ve created.

Given Name: The given name is the first name that people in Western society are referred to on a daily basis. For example, a person whose legal name is “Daniel” might go by “Dan”, or they might just go by “Daniel”. 

Nickname: The nickname is different from shortened versions of names. While a person may prefer a shortened version of their name for casual use, a nickname of “Daniel” would be “Danny Boy”. However, some nicknames are used regularly like the nicknames in Holes.

Religious or Spiritual Name: Some first names are chosen for religious purposes. This could be standard in the culture you’ve created or it could be a casual occurrence.

Symbolic Name

Appearance: Self-explanatory. However, these names might not appear until later in life.

Meaning: This refers to two things:

  • Author meaning: This is when you, the author, chooses a name, that exists in our world or that has roots from our world, because of its meaning.
  • Story meaning: This is when your character’s name is chosen because it has meaning in their fictional world.



Legal and/or Official: See above. 

Birth Name: See above.

Given Name: A person’s given name might actually be their middle name (see example 2 below).

Religious or Spiritual Name: Religious and spiritual names that are given or chosen are often done so for religious and spiritual purposes. For example, in some versions of Catholicism, children choose a saint’s name to be Confirmed under, thus making this name their Confirmation name. Some people make this part of their legal name while others do not. 

Symbolic Name: See above.

Meaning: See above.

Appearance: See above.



Ancestral: These are surnames that come from an ancestor of an individual. They can also come from a place.

Chosen: Chosen names are self explanatory, but they can also fall in the adopted category below.

Hereditary: Hereditary surnames are surnames that have been passed down through generations and that are used by the family. Any name can eventually become a hereditary name.

Clan: A clan name is a name that shows a person is a descendant of a certain person. This brings all these descendants together because they claim the same lineage, thus making them a clan. Clan names can exist alongside another surname. This varies by culture and not everyone will be associated with a clan. These are similar to ancestral names, but ancestral names are more personal and individualistic.

Occupation: Surnames can come from a person’s job. These names

Adopted: An adopted surname is just that. It is chosen by a person who adopts it from someone else. Reasons for adopting a surname from someone else vary.

Forced: Forced surnames are names that are forced on a person. This can be through adoption, kidnapping, slavery, immigration, cultural change, certain marriage practices, and a few other situations.

Appearance: See above.

Place Name: Some surnames are based on where a person is from (“George of X”).

None: Surnames do not exist everywhere.



Importance: Some names have significant importance to a culture. This importance can be political, religious, or just well known within a society. If certain names hold political importance (most likely surnames) and you are writing characters from well known families, make it known that their family name is important. For example, upon hearing your characters name, the behavior of others might change around them.

Taboo: Some names can be taboo or they can hold negative connotations based on historical context. For example, when people hear the name “Adolf”, they think of Hitler. If your characters have a name that is considered taboo in your world, that may affect your character. Names can be taboo for any reason. It might be taboo to be named after a deceased paternal family member or it might be taboo for a child to be given the same name as the current ruler.

Outlawed: Not all names are up for use. There could be a written law that certain names are not to be used or there could be an unwritten law that using certain names is disrespectful. For example, naming children after deities or important figures in your world’s culture could be considered illegal or at least deeply frowned upon.

Title: Like I said above, some titles can be considered names or at least part of a name. This probably won’t be part of a person’s legal name, but they might be addressed this way daily.

Syllables: Some names might be required to have a certain amount of syllables.

Epithets: Sometimes, if a child has the same name as the parent, something might be added to the name to differentiate between the two. 

Traditional: Some people might have a traditional name to honor heritage or culture and an official or legal name.



Many cultures have certain prefixes or suffixes that indicate if a name if feminine, masculine, neither, or both. Make a list of suffixes or prefixes that are associated with gender to help keep naming patterns in your fictional world. You can also have different versions of the same name this way.


Below I will give examples of a fictional naming systems.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I'm not sure if you will be able to answer this, but I'm working on a Star Wars fic and I'm wondering about blaster injuries and how you think they would translate from actual gunshot wounds. Also, what about shots to the heart? How long would it take to die from one? And are they ever survivable?

They don’t really translate from conventional firearms at all. Blasters in Star Wars are effectively plasma weapons. They fire ionized gas into the victim. In theory this should result in localized burns on the victim, destroying pretty much anything organic they hit, and melt most inorganic material on impact.

In the films, blasters are pretty inconsistent. They’ll sometimes burn through hull plating and kill in a single shot. Other times they’ll fail to damage delicate cybernetics beyond burning off the prosthetic skin or simply injure someone.

Here’s the thing, this isn’t a world building consideration, it’s a writing problem with the films. Like the guns in many works of fiction, Star Wars’ Blasters run on the power of plot.

It’s also part of why Imperial Stormtroopers can go from being incredible marksmen off screen, to sort of spraying in the general direction when the cameras are actually rolling. At least, without having to assume Obi-Wan is just being incurably sarcastic. (To be fair, Obi-Wan is always incurably sarcastic.)

Generally speaking, as a writer, you want coherent rules driving your setting. This helps you nail your setting together, and present a consistent world for your audience.

While it might seem like writing out the rules for your world is restrictive, it actually offers a lot more leeway to you. When characters in a setting with poorly articulated, or inconsistent, rules exploits an idiosyncrasy it’s a plot hole. The most infamous example is probably the increasing “technobabble” in later Star Trek series. When characters in a setting with concise rules the reader understands exploit an idiosyncrasy, it’s being clever.

One of the unique challenges for fan fiction writers is you’re forced to extrapolate the rules for the setting from the available material. Star Wars is an easier example, because the setting has been very heavily detailed over the years, and you’re left with more of a question over which parts of the canon you’re willing to include and work with.

This is less of a problem when you’re writing official tie-in work. In cases like that you should be provided with a style guide and a setting bible. Ideally, these will tell you how the material should be presented, and what the rules for the setting you’re working on are “supposed” to be. In practice, this doesn’t always happen, and the results when the writer is kept in the dark can range from amusing, to fan rage inducing.

In theory, blasters should have a specific way they work, but in practice (from a writing perspective) they’re a clumsy and random element of Star Wars.

They should cause severe burns on impact, burning through the victim. It wouldn’t be necessarily lethal, this could potentially only incapacitate, but it would kill more often than not.

Blaster bolts should burn through most inorganic matter on impact. It makes sense that hand weapons wouldn’t be able to burn through hull plating rated for reentry. So, carbon scoring isn’t that strange, in context. Though it does create a bit of weirdness with astromechs. These are actually expected to be exposed to reentry friction, so it makes sense that they’d be able to survive a direct shot from a blaster, or they wouldn’t be able to survive reentry in any fighter with an exposed astomech socket.

Imperial E11 Blaster Rifles have a stun setting… because that makes sense somehow. Star Wars does have stun weapons (several, actually, including Neural Inhibitors and sonic weapons), but they’re distinct from Blasters, and by necessity would need an entirely separate firing mechanism, so it’s a little strange that this is bolted on there for one scene and then never used again, except because the power of plot compels them.

Incidentally, the E11s in A New Hope were actually firing blank 9mm rounds. The props were functional Sterling Mk IV submachine guns with random bits bolted on to make them look more impressive. I can’t remember if the shell casings were digitally removed for the Special Edition remastering, but they were visible in the pre-90s versions of the film.

In theory, magnetic shielding makes sense. One way to keep plasma where you want it is through the use of magnetic shields, so it would follow that the blaster bolts themselves are carried by a magnetic envelope of some sort. This might also explain why capital ships are dependent on turbolasers, because any magnetic shielding would, by necessity, make it impossible to use blasters offensively. This might be part of why personal shielding is such an oddity in Star Wars. But, this is another case where the terminology is a little strange.

It’s also worth remembering that there are other varieties of firearms in Star Wars. Off hand, there are disruptors (beam weapons that disintegrate the victim at a molecular level), and slugthrowers which are conventional ballistic firearms. There are also exotic variants like the Wookie Bowcasters, or Concussion Rifles.

If you’ve never read them, I strongly recommend reading the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zhan. Zhan did a lot of work knitting the original films together into a coherent setting, and laid groundwork for the larger Star Wars setting that’s still filtering into the new films. Some of the material has been ejected, both by the prequels and by the new Disney, but if you’re wanting to work with Star Wars, this still is the place to start. It also features, probably, the single best villain from Star Wars as a whole. The books aren’t perfect, but they are seriously, worth reading.


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Anonymous said:

How would I go about writing fantasy/fictional religions that have certain clothing–like headdresses and scarves and such, without being appropriating?

I started to answer this, but then I thought I’d just turn it into a larger world building post. So here we go:

  1. Appropriation
  2. Who Wears What
  3. Associations & Meaning

Keep reading

Anonymous said:

I’m trying to flesh out some aristocrats / extremely wealthy socialites in a high fantasy novel and I am not too sure how to portray their lifestyle as distinct from the lower socioeconomic classes, other than with simply the quality / rarity of things they can afford. Do you have any world building insight pertaining to subcultures that could arise in a class society? Thanks♡

I’m going to assume your world is pre-industrial since it’s high fantasy, so this post will be geared toward those types of worlds.

Keep reading

I did a post on religion a while ago, but I can do a better job with it.

Part I: World Building Considerations: Religious Hierarchies

Part II: World Building Considerations: Deities and Mythologies


Religion is the belief that supernatural or spiritual powers exist.

There are four “branches” of beliefs that form the way a person feels about their religion (or lack of) and other religions. They are:

  • Theism: A theist believes in a god (or more).
  • Atheism: An atheist lacks the belief in a god (or more).
  • Gnosticism: A gnostic believes it is possible to know that a god (or more) does or does not exist.
  • Agnosticism: An agnostic believes that it is not possible to know that a god (or more) does or does not exist.

These create people who are one of the following (this can change throughout a person’s life):

  • Gnostic Theist: These characters believe in a god (or more) and are absolutely sure that it exists. Depending on the personality of this character, they might take offense if other people tell them they are wrong or that their religion is false. Others will brush it off and not care.
  • Agnostic Theist: These characters believe in a god (or more), but do not claim to know for sure if this god exists. These characters might struggle with their religion if this existence is important to them.
  • Gnostic Atheist: These characters are absolutely sure that there is no god (or more).
  • Agnostic Atheist: These characters do not believe in a god (or more), but do not claim to know of its existence for sure.


Most early religions began with animism. This is when supernatural powers, life, souls, or spirits are attributed to the natural world as well as objects.

Sometimes, deities can be created when certain attributes as parts of the natural world are viewed as more important than others. A population may give a name to a particular spirit (like the sun) and thus make a deity out of it. Over time, this leads to polytheism.

The earliest deities were most likely female because back then, humans believed that women had the ability to create life from nothing. This is why “virgin” deities, goddesses, beings, and religious figures are common. They are seen as being able to make life by themselves, but the concept of virginity has changed to being “clean” or “pure”.

Early monotheistic religions often came from polytheism, but not always. What happens is one deity becomes more important than all the others for whatever reason. Here are some reasons for why monotheism might have come up in your world (with the exception of the spread of religion):

  • A person claims that one deity is the true deity. All other deities are slowly forgotten or reassigned as lesser religious beings, but not deities.
  • One deity may be more important than the other deities. Over time, this deity becomes the sole deity. All other deities are slowly forgotten or reassigned as lesser religious beings, but not deities.
  • A historical figure transforms into a deity over time through myth and legend, thus becoming a major deity.
  • One deity might “absorb” other deities and their attributes due to its importance, thus becoming a single deity who is a mixture of other deities.

Religion does not always evolve in this order and it does not have to. There is no “ultimate” form of religion. Monotheism is not “civilized” and animism is not “primitive”. They are both valid religions, they just exist in different ways.

One source of conflict for your story could be the switch from one form of religion to another. If polytheism is moving into monotheism, a minority of the population might be trying hard to hold onto old deities.

Of course, there are more types of religion other than animism, polytheism, and monotheism, such as naturalism. Look around at various religions for some inspiration.


The name! You have to name your religion. The followers of this religion need a name to refer to themselves by. You can also have names for the various branches of a religion or for the followers of a specific religious figure. If you’ve made up a language, you can use that language to create a name. You can also name the religion after a deity, a historical figure, or a religious figure. You can also name it after the founder of the religion.


Where did this religion originate? With older religions, it might not be clear. Other religions have a clear start, or at least are known to have started in a specific area or with a specific person. If there is a founder of the religion, create this character and their history.

You also need an origin story for the world. A lot of religions have them.


There are three general reasons for why people practice religion:

  1. Sociological: Religion is used for cultural conformity. It unites a community through similar morals and values and can be used to control a population or to bring general peace among worldviews. If you can influence a person’s thoughts, you can control their actions.
  2. Cognitive: Religion has been used to explain the unknown and to help people make sense of the world they live in. Myths, legends, and deities have been used to explain why the seasons change or why storms happen. Religion offers an explanation.
  3. Psychological: People turn to religion in times of need or emotional struggle. They might turn to religion because they have a sick family member or they might turn to religion because they need an end to a drought. Having a reason to hold on (religion) can help people get through the hard times.

It’s common that all three reasons exist together, but one reason may outweigh another in an individual or a population. For example, in a time of famine, the majority of a population might turn to religion for reason 2. In a society with little understanding of science, the majority of the population might use religion for reason 1.

When creating a religion, think about why your characters are religious or why they are not religious. Think about situations that would make them approach religion. All characters will differ based on their personal needs, how religious they are, and how they were raised. Some characters might only turn to religion when they are extremely desperate.


A sacred text is a general term that refers to a text that is important to a religion. The Bible is an example. Sacred texts do not have to exist in a religion. Oral histories can take their place or exist alongside them.

If there is a sacred text, decide how it is supposed to be read. Some religious texts are meant to be read by a religious official, who teaches others what it says (the Bible). Other texts are meant to be ready by everyone and interpreted on an individual level (the Qur'an).

  • If the sacred text is meant to be read by a religious official and no one else, religious officials will be educated while most of the population will not be (depending on the society, available education, hierarchy, and technology available to spread written texts). Lack of literacy might be used to control the population.

Sacred texts might be a part of the government. If so, create laws carefully and make sure you know all the details about the religion and the government you’ve created.

Another option for a sacred text is one that is created by an individual or by a community. These sacred texts are filled with whatever information a person sees as important to the way they practice their religion. They may collect information through religious officials, oral histories, or their own experiences. These sacred texts can be passed down to another generation.

Here are some things you can put in a sacred text:

  • Historical Accounts: If a sacred text is just a historical account of a religion, you’ll need to come up with mythologies that fit into this text.
  • Laws & Guidelines: Sometimes, a sacred text is used to write down laws and guidelines of a religion.
  • Prayers, Songs, etc.: If prayers, chants, songs, and other spoken words are important to a religion or hold meaning, they might show up in a sacred text.


Not all religions have a place of worship. However, places of worship can be as grand as the Hagia Sophia or they can be as simple as a personal altar in one’s home.

Within certain religions, such as Catholicism, there can be a hierarchy of places of worship. For example, a Cathedral is a church, but it also acts as the seat of a Bishop for a given area. Places of worship, in times when the majority of the population could not read, used lots of common symbols within the architecture so that people knew it was a place of worship for a certain religion. This is why many medieval religious buildings portray religious stories or figures within the architecture.

If there are places of worship in your world, put them in your story. If they are in a city or near a trading center, they might be more grand than others due to available resources. If a government official commissions one of these buildings, it will likely be large and detailed due to available expenses. Places of worship in isolated areas are likely to be smaller and simpler.

Make these places known in your world. Give them a feel. A lot of religious buildings are meant to give the feeling of grandness and divinity. Some might make a person feel small and insignificant. Give these buildings a demeanor. This will help readers get a feel for this religion while also setting the mood and tone for the scene.


Create the main beliefs and philosophies of your religion. This will impact your society as a whole. However, there should be differing opinions and beliefs within a religion. People are going to interpret parts of a religion in different ways and will have different opinions on how to approach a religion.

  • Opposing Forces: Some religions have opposing forces within it, such as good vs evil. Some religions don’t have opposing forces and rather see everything just as it is without attributing morality. Decide how your religion views the world.
  • Opposing Forces 2: This refers to the opinions of people within the religion. Having differing opinions within a religion can be mild, but it can also be extreme. The latter can cause lots of conflict and even a split in religion, creating two different branches or a new religion altogether.
  • Common Values: The main values and morals of this religion will affect the way your characters think and behave, even if they are not religious. Being raised around this religion can sway their opinions. This might create conflict for your characters when faced with a decision that goes against what they were raised with.
  • Afterlife: Everyone, at one point, wonders what happens when we die. As I mentioned above, religion is often used to explain the unknown. What is the afterlife in this religion? If there are no opposing forces of good vs evil, there will probably not be a hell-like place.
  • Sins: You don’t need to put sins in your religion, but it can help with conflict and character morals. Decide what this religion has outlawed or what it has looked down upon. If you want, sins can become law through the government.
  • Other Religions: For a post on what happens when other cultures come in contact with each other, look at the lower part of this post. Sometimes, religions can exist peacefully side by side.

Like I said, beliefs will impact your characters and the world they grew up in. People are a part of whatever culture they were raised in and it’s impossible to completely cut off those ties. The morals, values, and beliefs of your world’s religion impacts your characters in a much larger way than you think.


Lots of religions have different sub-religions, branches, and denominations. If the religion you have created it widespread, it’s likely that this religion will have sub-religions and different forms of worship. If a religion has influence on another religion, those religions might end up combining.

  • Region: Different branches of a religion tend to be dominant in certain regions, even in multi-cultural places. Decide where certain branches are more common or where they are limited to.
  • Interaction: Two different branches within a religion might hate each other to such extremities that war can occur. This is another source of conflict for your fictional world.
  • Difference of Beliefs: If applicable to your story, think up some differences between the branches of religion.


Religion should be seen in your story if you make up one. It doesn’t matter if it’s not a huge part or if none of the characters are extremely religious. If you have created a religion, it should  have some visibility. It could influence language, dress, architecture, holidays, and more.

  • Architecture: This will most likely be places of worship, but religion can appear in all types of buildings and structures. Certain symbols might be seen in windows or on doors. Certain architectural styles might hold symbolic meaning, like how tall buildings are seen as reaching up to the heavens and therefore are seen as divine.
  • Clothing: Religious clothing can be obvious or subtle, but it still affects fashion. People might mimic the style of a religious figure or they might wear something that shows which deity they worship. If you show this, you can let the reader know what certain characters value. For example, wearing a certain symbol in the form of a pin might show that a person worships the deity of bravery, thus showing that this character values bravery.
  • Language: People mention parts of their religion in common phrases all the time, sometimes without realizing it. You can come up with exclamations and common phrases in your world through their religion.
  • Calendars: A lot of calendars surround important dates in religion. If you’re looking where to put year zero, go to religion. Did someone important die in that year? Were they born? Did something else important happen?


Most religions have some kind of symbol. This symbol is often important to that religion (like the cross for Christianity). Creating a symbol can add depth to your world while also bringing reality to this religion. You can put this symbol in various places to help show readers where this religion has spread.

It’s not necessary to have a symbol.


Decide how far this religion has spread and what people think about it. Religions, if small, are sometimes viewed as cults. If they gain popularity and start overcoming another dominant religion, they might be seen as threats.

  • Region: Know the region that your religion has spread to. There can be small regions within larger regions that resist this religion. If your characters are traveling, knowing the boundaries of this religion can help you create scenes and cultures that have this religious influence.
  • Subscribers: Decide how many people subscribe to this religion. If this is the dominant religion in a region, this religion will be more visible in your world.
  • Influence: Religion has massive influence on culture. If you are writing a world where religion is important, it will greatly influence your characters’ lives and worlds.
  • Spread: Does this religion have a goal to spread to other places? If so, your religious characters might try to convert others or there might be conflict with the spread of religion.


Is there a certain way to join this religion? Many religions have rituals, ceremonies, and initiations that are used to accept a person into that religion.

  • Invitation: A few religions are invitation-only. This can be rigid or more free. A rigid invitation means that only a certain person can invite others into this religion. For example, if a person wants to bring a friend into their religion, they might have to bring their friend to a religious official to get permission. Less rigid invitations can be as simple as allowing any member of a religion to bring in others.
  • Open: An open religion allows anyone to join whether they were invited or not. These religions can spread fast while invitation-only religions are able to stay small and private for a longer period of time.
  • The Initiator: Who performs the ceremony? Most often, it is a religious official, but it doesn’t have to be.
  • The Ceremony: How they are brought into a religion? What happens during the ceremony? How long does it take? Are there any preparations that need to be made? Does it have to happen at a certain age? If so, your characters might have to go through this.
  • Birth: Most people are born into a religion. Sometimes, they are given the choice to leave this religion at a certain age or they can be officially initiated (like within some Amish communities). This might cause stress for characters if they come of this age and if their parents or guardians are expecting them to turn a certain way.
  • Forced: Sometimes, people are forced to join a religion.


It’s realistic to have more than one religion present. They don’t have to exist equally and probably won’t.

  • Outlawed: An outlawed religion is one that is not allowed to be practiced. What are the punishments for practicing an outlawed religion? Why are they outlawed?
  • Minority: A minority religion is simply one that has a lesser amount of followers than a dominant religion. They do not have to be oppressed religions.
  • Oppressed: An oppressed religion is one that may or may not have been outlawed and one that is rejected by society as a whole. Practitioners experience discrimination. What this discrimination is depends on you.
  • Dominant: The dominant religion is the one that is most common in a given region. It does not have to be oppressive to other religions.
  • Secret: Secret religions are unknown to the general population and are invitation-only.
  • Mythical: Mythical religions are secret religions that may or may not exist. The general population might have conspiracies about the existence, but they have no hard proof.
  • Dead: These religions are no longer practiced.
  • Revived: These are religions that were previously dead, but revived by a population. The practices in the revival will not be the same as the original religion.


  • What is the dominant religion in your character’s region? How do they feel about it? Is it their religion? Do they agree with the dominant opinions?
  • How much power does religion have? Are government rulers considered divine or close to divinity? Is religion above the law? Does it dictate your character’s world?
  • What is the most well known story? What does this story explain? Does it give morals or does it explain a natural occurrence? Or something else? How does this story affect your characters and their world?
  • How important is religion to your character? Do they turn to religion in times of need? Do they take offense if someone puts down their religion? Do they try to spread their religion?
  • Why do people follow this religion? Did it appear in a time of need? Or is it used as an explanation? Does it bring a community together? Is there a reward (like in the afterlife)? Were they forced to convert?
  • What sacred days are there? Are there any at all? If so, how are these days viewed? How often do they come along? What do they celebrate?
  • How did this religion spread? Some religions spread unintentionally, as do languages and other cultures. The Phoenicians never had the intention of conquest, only trade. Their trade led to widespread cultural exchange. Was your religion spread on purpose? Is it actively spread? Was it forced upon a population?
  • How does the environment affect religion? Available resource might determine what is used for places of worship. Weather might create deities. Positions of the sun might create holidays. Geography in general might impact the origin story of the world.
  • How does this religion feel about various topics like marriage, death, sex, sexuality, drugs, magic, incest, and murder? What this religion says about such topics will determine what is considered “the norm” in your world and how your characters act. If incest is considered a sin rather than just taboo, people might be afraid to get too close to their sibling.
  • What conflict does this religion create? Does it create internal conflict for your character? Does it create wars or fights between people? Is it dangerous for your character to travel in a certain area because of their religion?
  • How does this religion impact your character’s outlook on life? Religion shapes the way a person perceives the world. It impacts whether they see a person as a villain or as a hero and how they feel about everything in general.

Part I: Creating a Religion

Part II: Religious Hierarchies

Part III: Pantheons, Deities, Mythologies, etc.

BONUS: Ceremonies (birth, death, naming, sacrificing, rites of passage)

This is similar to Part III, but more specific on a single deity.


What is a deity?

A deity is a divine or supernatural being that meets one or more of the following:

  • Is worshiped by a population
  • Is given attributes and associations
  • Is recognized as a divine being

They are often referred to as gods and goddesses.

Your religion does not need deities.


You can have different groups of deities within a pantheon of deities. These groups can be separated however you want. Perhaps one group is for all the water deities (rain, storms, fresh water, salt water, waterfalls, snow, ice, etc.) or maybe the deities are separated by hierarchy.

What you do with these groups is up to you. Deities within one group might share similarities in their appearance or behavior, or each group might have a different following of worshipers, or each group might represent something as a whole (an animal or a season, for example).

Keep reading

Anonymous asked you:

do you have any tips on how to write rules or amendments for my fictional society?

Start with the type of government your society has. Certain governments will have different laws and economies.

Cultural Values

If your society sees dogs as divine beings, it might be illegal not to have a dog in your home for more than 30 days. That is a law based on cultural values. If there are robots in your society, there will probably be rules about robots. If your society is prejudice against a certain group of people, there might be rules about that.

Think about what your society values and what they see as taboo. You should also think about current issues and how the population feels about it. If there is a great fear of a form of government, it might be illegal to support that government. If murder is common and your society doesn’t see it as an issue unless the person murdered is a noble or someone in the upper class, it might only be illegal to murder certain people.

There’s also the little details that most people don’t think about. If there is private property, there will be laws about that. Can law enforcement officials enter private property without permission? Or just public property? If all property is public property, there probably won’t be much privacy.

The Laws

Write out any laws that are relevant to your story. The exact wording of your laws will reflect your society. If the laws are broad, there will be loopholes, but also leeway for people in power to make it mean what they want it to mean. 

If the laws are old and outdated, decide if people want to change them or not. Older laws with outdated terminology might make laws more confusing or irrelevant, but they can also allow more options.

Think about how laws are made. Do they have to go through several people before becoming an official law? Who has the power to propose laws or reject them? Who has the final say? Who can make adjustments? Can laws be adjusted over time or are they final the first time around? Does religion have a say in laws? When and why are laws created?


With laws there are punishments. One form of punishment is called a Draconian Law in which the punishment outweighs the crime. Are the punishments for breaking the law mild, moderate, or severe? Can stealing something small get you a life time sentence in prison? Or just a slap on the wrist?

Punishments and crimes can be matched up if you want them to be equal (i.e., the greater the crime, the greater the punishment), or certain crimes might have to meet certain requirements for certain punishments. For example, committing one major crime might have a low punishment because only one crime was committed. Committing several small crimes might have a higher punishment because more than one crime was committed. Do whatever you want to do.

You should also come up with exceptions of punishment. For example, it is legal, in the US, to kill a person if the intent was self defense.

Think about the types of punishment. Are they physical? Can people be sentenced to death? Do they have to pay a fine? Do they have to do community service? Are they exiled? 

  • Prisons: You don’t need prisons or something similar, but they’re a form of punishment. If your society has dungeons, prisons, jails, or similar places, decide what they are like, who goes there, what it’s like there, and where they are located. Are they located far away from populated areas? Are they underground? Are people given free reign throughout the property, or are they confined to a small space?

Law Enforcement

With law and punishment comes people who enforce those laws. You’re going to need some kind of government force that controls the population. Decide how many different groups there are, what they are in charge of, how many law enforcement officials exist, and how much they enforce the laws. They might not do much to enforce laws or they might be extremely strict.

Holders of Power

The people in power are most often the ones who create, destroy, and uphold laws. Laws that are not written down can be changed by the person in power, depending on the culture, and will naturally change over time.

Go back to the idea of who decides what and why. If business has power or great influence over government, laws might cater to business. For example, in the US, monopolies were at one point illegal. However, the law never defined what a monopoly was and therefore capitalism kept going and business funded the government.

If laws change easily with each ruler, the laws of the society will reflect the personality of whoever is in charge.

So you’ve got your world built up and you’re ready to write, but you’re not sure how to introduce everything you’ve created.

One of the most important devices you need to avoid is the info dump. The info dump is when a writer uses dialogue or narration to give an excess of information. Info dumps often come in the form of several paragraphs of details. Here are some of the problems with info dumps:

  • Too Much Detail: When you write info dumps, you are writing too much detail in a small space. This ruins the pacing and stalls the story. Readers get bored when they have to read an entire page explaining one part of your world, which leads to the next point:
  • Telling: Info dumps tell rather than show. You want to show. Telling can be okay, but in moderation.
  • Memory: Your reader is not going to remember all of the details you put into info dumps. There is too much information to absorb. When information is spread out, it is easier for the reader to remember and they are less likely to skip over it.

Keep reading

Anonymous asked you:

Do you have any tips about creating an education system in a fantasy world? 3 of my characters are from entirely different regions and they’re childhood friends. I don’t know where to begin with creating some sort of school for them to meet.

Education is present in every culture in one way or another, but not all settings have formal schools or places for learning. When creating a new world, you’ll want to think about how your character receive their education.


Your characters come from different places, but you seem like you want them to meet up at a single school. Schools that bring people who live in different regions are often boarding schools, universities, or specialty schools.

Home School:

If your setting is in an area that does not have a lot of children, your characters will probably be home schooled. This does not have to be throughout a person’s entire education. In Harry Potter, many witches and wizards are home schooled until they are old enough to go to Hogwarts. Some attend muggle schools.

If your characters are home schools, what they learn will come from parents, guardians, older siblings, other family members, or private tutors. Think about what is important to your character’s family, as this will affect what they learn.

Local School:

Local schools can be public or private. Private schools often allow students who live farther away, such as in another town or county, while public schools might only allow students who hold residence in a certain area.

Private schools are not supported by the government, but through tuition and donation. If you decide to create a private school, you can have more reasons for why it is private. Is it affiliated with a religion? Are certain subjects (like magic) taught there? Are certain subjects banned (like magic)?

You’ll need to place your local school somewhere. It could be a single room in a religious building, a building on its own, or even a sunken and room with an open ceiling in a dry climate where rain would rarely come down upon them. This school doesn’t even need to be within the confines of a building or a room. It can be as simple as a tent or as a seating area around a big tree. Think about what is important to the people you are writing.

Boarding School:

Boarding schools are convenient for writers. They’re able to bring far away characters together for long periods of time while also fulfilling education for teen characters.

If you are writing a boarding school, you’ll need a reason for why people travel far to go to this school. Is it famous? Is it prestigious? Is it the only school for 200 miles? Is it the only school that teaches a certain subject? Is it a traditional for many generations in a family to attend this school?

The setting is up to you. You can place it in or near a city for convenience or you can isolate the school for various reasons. There could be a history to its placement, if you can come up with this history. Perhaps it used to be a fort in an important war or maybe, in a world with magic, the first magic users could have settled in that spot.

The appearance of the boarding school is important. Draw out a basic map of the school and its grounds. Do the students have a large campus to roam? Are there various buildings that are spread out? Or is everyone in one place? What is the climate? What landmarks are present? If you need a forest for any reason, put a forest nearby. If you need water, place the school near an ocean, a lake, a pond, or a river.

Since going to boarding school involves traveling, you’ll need to come up with ways for students to get there. In a fantasy or sci-fi world, you can do pretty much anything.

Keep reading



Do you have any tips/sources on inventing (card, sports) games? I’m currently working on a high fantasy novel and I planned to have a game to be a huge part of my main conflict in the story but I don’t really know where to start or what is important to consider when coming up with such a game. 

Prior to creating your game, the first thing you should ask yourself is what you need. Do you need your character to gamble and lose? Do you need a way for your character to get hurt? Do they need to find something on a field? Do you need to demonstrate a certain weapon or type of magic? These will determine the following:

  1. Type of Game
  2. Your World
  3. Objective
  4. Players
  5. Equipment
  6. Rules
  7. Other

Keep reading

Anonymous asked you:

Any advice for creating a creation myth for my fantasy world?

Part I: Creating a Religion

Part II: Religious Hierarchies

Part III: Pantheons, Deities, Mythologies, etc.

Part IV: Creating a Deity

Part V: Religious Sects

BONUS: Ceremonies (birth, death, naming, sacrificing, rites of passage)


When does your world believe the world was made? You don’t have to create a timeline, but you can. Your characters don’t even have to give an actual time period. If the creation myth is about the creation of humans rather than the world itself and if the story involves nearby mountains, they might say “before the mountains were here”.

You can get as specific as you want with the timeline. For example, someone studied the Bible and concluded that the earth was made in October in 4004 BCE.

Come up with different ways to measure the timeline of the creation myth in your world. If one world has three moons that represent three deities, they might believe that it took three thousand years to create the world, giving one thousand years to each moon/deity. Each thousand years could add something new to the world (the natural world (planets, stars, water, rock, etc.), living things (plants, animals, etc.), and magic or something).


It’s quite common for creation stories to start with “in the beginning there was X”. X can refer to a character, a place, nothing, darkness, silence, or anything else you want if it relates to the story. If you start with this structure, something needs to disrupt, change, or add to what was.

Creations can be accidental or intended. If creations are intended, come up with a reason for why they were intended. A deity might have made the world as a gift to another deity or they might have created a volcano as a prison to hold some type of creature that shoots up lava every now and then in an attempt to escape.


Literally anything can be a character in a creation myth. Water can interact with deities and animals can talk. Humans can reproduce asexually and giraffes can be stretched until they have long necks. 

If you have created deities, consider putting them into your creation myth. Create relationships between these deities and make sure the events of the creation myth have an impact on the deities as well.

Other times, the creation myth creates deities and other mythological or supernatural beings. In this case, some type of being who is above the created deities will need to exist.


The creation of the world is not the only thing that a creation myth can explain. They can explain a number of phenomena, such as rain, death, sunrises and sunsets, stars, mountains, and other parts of the natural world.

The creation myth does not even have to be about the creation of the whole world. It might be about the island where your characters live or it might just be about humans.

Creating a Language Part III: Translations

Creating a Language Part I

Creating a Language Part II: Essentials

Languages are not equal to one another in phonology, alphabets, syntax, grammar, or vocabulary. Languages within the same language family are more easily translatable because they are closely related, but the translation is always altered to make sense in the language it is translated to.

When you create your language, it does not have to be exactly like your native language. Different cultures have different concepts of time, of self, and of actions and have different tenses, pronouns, and verbs because of this.

Let’s create a word as a demonstration. This fictional word will be audimac (pronunciation (for this particular language): ow-djyih-mahk). This word is a verb that does not translate directly to English. It can be used to mean becoming, getting, growing, going, turning, and similar (present participle) verbs within the following contexts:

  • They are becoming angry.
  • I am getting cold.
  • It is growing old.
  • The food is going bad.
  • The water is turning green.

When translating all of these sentences into a our fictional language, “audimac” can be used for all of these sentences and it will make sense to the native speakers given the context.

By doing something like this, you are not only creating a more realistic language and putting more thought into the creation of your world, but you’re also making it a bit easier for yourself. Instead of having to come up with five different verbs, you only have to create one.

Anonymous asked you:

Do you have anything on religious sects?

Of what religion? It doesn’t matter anyway, since I don’t have anything on religious sects. However, I can give you some tips on creating a religious sect from a fictional religion or an existing one.

Part I: Creating a Religion

Part II: Religious Hierarchies

Part III: Pantheons, Deities, Mythologies, etc.

Part IV: Creating a Deity

BONUS: Ceremonies (birth, death, naming, sacrificing, rites of passage)

What is a Religious Sect?

The term “sect” has different connotations and different meanings based on religion, context, time period, and place, but a common use for the term “religious sect” is to describe a subgroup of a religion. Therefore, this post will use “sect” to mean “subgroup”. I’ll go into more details below the cut.

At this point, I have misspelled “sect” as “sext” seven times.

Keep reading

Anonymous asked you:

I apologize if i missed this or did not go back far enough to find it, but do you have anything on wands? I want to implement wands or something similar in my story, and I don’t know how to prevent them from being Harry Potter rip offs.


  • A wand is a thin, long object that is used to channel magic or to direct energy.
  • This definition can be modified to fit your world.
  • Wands can also be used for spiritual purposes rather than magical.

There are three major parts of a wand (what it does, what it looks like, and how it works) that make up its definition within your world.


All wands share the common aspect of channeling magic. How much magic is channeled and what it does for magic is up to you. Here are some examples of what wands can be used for:

  • Channel Magic: In Harry Potter, wands are used because it’s the only way witches and wizards can use their magic in large and controlled quantities (with a few exceptions). You can still use this rule without making it a Harry Potter rip-off. You’ll just have to make other parts of the wand different.
  • Enhance Magic: A wand can be used to enhance the quantity or quality (or both) of magic. This can be helpful for those who aren’t as skilled or as powerful as others.
  • Control Magic: A wand can be used to control magic if wandless magic is unruly or if an individual has trouble with wandless magic. They can be used as a safety or for direction. Wands used for control can either be training wheels or they can be reserved for more powerful and skilled users. Or for something else. It’s up to you and the rules of your universe.
  • Use Other Magic: Perhaps certain types of magic are only accessible through wands or other means.
  • Change Magic: The idea that certain types of materials and symbols bring forth certain skills is nothing new and is not limited to Harry Potter. Certain types of wands can be used to make certain types of magic more powerful or even less powerful, or they can be used to warp how magic works. It’s your choice.

Keep reading

Hey, now that Phanniemay’s over, I’ve got a question for you all.

As some of you may remember, last July I hosted an event called World Building Week. For those of you who weren’t around or would like a reminder, the event was basically what it says on the tin; a week of prompts dedicated to sharing your headcanons on the areas that the show Danny Phantom didn’t really explore.

Last year we looked at sandbox characters (characters with very little canon information and plenty of room for fanon interpretation), ectobiology, legends, war, truce, education- things like that. 

Anyway, my question is this; would anyone be interested in doing World Building Week again this year?