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blog A Quick Guide to Worldbuilding Cultures

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Black Dragon, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

    Ban submitted a new blog post:

    A Quick Guide to Worldbuilding Cultures
    by Roel Karstenberg


    In a previous article called Worldbuilding on the Crossroads I wrote about a technique writers can use to quickly create cultures for their worlds. For a background group this might be sufficient, but what if instead of a mere outline of a culture, you want to create an in-depth culture? A culture filled with customs, traditions, values and more? Well, I wouldn’t raise the question if this article didn’t provide an answer.

    The process established below should be seen as suggestions, not as a clear-cut guide. The more complex you want your culture to be, and the more complex their history is, the more you will wish to jump between the different sections. The “finished” state of the culture you are building is up to you to decide, for cultures are complex structures which can be expanded upon without an end ever coming in sight. Such is the nature of worldbuilding. The work can never be truly finished, so it is up to you to call it quits when you have satisfied your worldbuilding needs. With those words of caution out of the way, let’s delve into this guide.

    Environment and Migration

    The first order of business is establishing the environment of your fictional culture. For this section you write down (in a few key points or sentences) what the environment in which...
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
  2. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

    Have you ever considered writing sacred texts or histories for your cultures, like Tolkien did?

    I spent some time writing a "bible" for one of my cultures, although I didn't use very much of it in the end.
  3. Silvahkir

    Silvahkir Dreamer

    I was once part of a group that talked about "western culture" or "American culture" but all their characterizations were guided by the thought, "What are all the things wrong about the culture we live in." I found this sight, http://www.bu.edu/isso/files/pdf/AmericanValues.pdf?scrlybrkr and suggested that we look at culture as a set of more or less unspoken values that are shared by the group. It doesn't mean everyone in that group has those values, but they usually have to be in a kind of dialogue with those values that are more or less taken for granted. I put the link in here because I think as a writer it is good to try to understand the culture they have been exposed to most. This is important because when creating a culture, especially one that we may see as evil as the people who really accept that culture as there own will most likely be pursuing positive values, or what they would judge as "good". We might describe a culture as brutal, but that may be because we don't value strength or define strength in the same way.

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