Culture

Worldbuilding

Choosing Music and Instruments for Your Culture

The cultural ambiance of your world wouldn’t be complete without music. When adding musicians to your settings, it’s easy to insert generic instruments and songs without thinking through them. But that wouldn’t do justice to the huge diversity of music human cultures have. Here are some guidelines and inspiration … read more »

Storytelling

Staying in Your Character’s Shoes

Grasping the outlook of a character is difficult for any storyteller, but it can be especially difficult in speculative fiction. If your hero is an alien living on another planet, her perspective will be vastly different from yours, and there won’t be any aliens from her planet you can interview. Read more »

Worldbuilding

Starting a Fictional Culture

Culture encompasses almost everything we do. Language, religion, and social structure all shape and are shaped by the prevailing culture. The cultures you create for your worlds will make a permanent imprint on the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of the people in them. With so many strands in … read more »

Worldbuilding

Costuming Your Characters

Costumes reflect both a character’s culture and personality. Everything in their environment shapes the way they dress. Unless you have a professional costumer to defer to, costuming is left to the worldbuilder. When done right, a costume tells a story all on its own. Read more »

Worldbuilding

Creating Rites of Passage

Depicting rites of passage is a fantastic way to show off your fictional culture. That’s because these rituals combine the most important elements of a culture into a memorable event. Chances are very good that social roles, moral values, lifestyle, and religion will all make an appearance. Read more »

Worldbuilding

Creating Matriarchies

Human societies are overwhelmingly patriarchal. That means it’ll be a long time before matriarchal societies get boring. Unfortunately, many depictions of these cultures feature a simple role reversal. A matriarchy isn’t just a patriarchy with women in place of men. Read more »

Worldbuilding

Creating Religions & Belief Systems

The culture of your kingdom, moon, or giant soap bucket isn’t fully developed until you’ve given it one or more belief systems. But that doesn’t mean you should rename the Catholic Church and stick it in there. Religions and other belief systems come in a huge variety of flavors. Read more »

Worldbuilding

How to Create a Simple Language

Creating your own language probably brings to mind Tolkien’s Elvish languages or Marc Okrand’s Klingon. Most of us, though, aren’t scholars and linguists like Tolkien and Okrand. Don’t worry. You don’t need to be to add some linguistic depth to your worldbuilding. Creating a relatively simple naming language can do the trick. Read more »