As you may know, I’m registered in a two-year novel course through Forward Motion for Writers. Each week an assignment is posted for us to work on, and at the end of two years, we will have completed a novel. We’ve had 26 assignments so far, 12 of those on world-building. I know most of you already know most everything there is to know about world-building, so I’m not going to attempt to teach you anything new. Instead, I’ll share with you what I’m currently working on in my course.
Over the next two weeks I’ll be on holidays at my cottage; a rustic, isolated lake where my family is usually the only people around. I have chosen it as the setting for my novel, currently called Slavelake.
Education: What is the level of education in your character’s world? How are children educated? Who is allowed to be educated and who is allowed to teach it?
Education in Slavelake is an informal system based on teaching basic survival skills. This one-bedroom cottage houses the entire group where the eldest teach the youngest.
Knowledge Preservation: How is knowledge passed down in your society? Oral history, written word, computers? Who has access to the information?
Due to the complete isolation of Slavelake, and the lack of access to resources, knowledge is passed down by oral history. However, the leader of the group controls access to that information and carefully considers who he will allow to have it.
Medicine: What medical system exists in your world? Who practices it: apprentices, mothers, professionals? How do they learn to practice medicine and what value are they to your society?
The leader will appoint a medicine man in this society, again based on basic survival. There will be little or no access to medical supplies, so leaves, water and other natural resources will be their only option; sometimes ending in illness and tragedy.
Myths: Do your characters believe in myth, legend and lore? Are those legends going to prove to be true?
This is a fun one! This picture is of a location where many people have drowned. The history has inspired me to create a legend of a monster, but the details are still top secret squirrel!
Religion: What is the prevalent religion(s) in your world? Do conflicting beliefs create conflict between characters or societies?
Religion will be pagan beliefs around sun/wind/rain. Rituals will be performed to the elemental gods, and will appear rather primitive.
Beliefs: Do your people believe there are gods watching them, predestined? Or do they believe in free will? Do they interpret their environment to have supernatural forces?
The people will believe in supernatural forces and will be afraid of them. These supernatural forces will be closely tied to the environment, and the leader will have some influence over the environment, escalating him to the status of a demi-god.
I’m hoping my two weeks in this rustic setting will inspire some major creative energy, and help me get into the writing phase of this project.