Culture

Worldbuilding

Matriarchies, Patriarchies, and Beyond

Mythcreants hosted a panel at this year’s GeekGirlCon in Seattle. Chris, Oren, Rhys, and I discussed gender in spec fic and how you can create matriarchal, patriarchal, or egalitarian societies for your stories. It was a lively event with many challenging questions from the audience. … read more »

Worldbuilding

Using Taboos in a Culture

Every society has different norms of behavior. Friendly greetings are expected; eating with your hands is frowned upon. Failing to follow the norms will make you stand out in negative ways, but you will probably be left alone by most people. Unless those norms are … read more »

Worldbuilding

Overcoming the Myth of Barter

Many assume that before currency existed, people would trade goods through a barter system. But in reality, we have no historic or anthropological evidence that this ever occurred. None at all, even in isolated societies that don’t have money for their internal exchanges. Read more »

Worldbuilding

Adding Dance to Your Fictional Culture

All human cultures include dancing – with the possible exception of groups that specifically forbid it. Not only is dancing intrinsic to our nature, but it’s an amazingly versatile activity. Dreaming up some dances can add a splash of realism and interest to your creative … read more »

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 »