1. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    Amount of cultural variation in a tribal society?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Flashfire07, Apr 9, 2012.

    I'm currently writing a fantasy piece set on a frozen landscape with a few islands of trees and plant life. The inhabitants are primitive relatives of humans who have just started to mingle. There are three main tribal clusters living within 20 kilometers of one another, meeting every year to exchange stories, tribe memebers and discoveries. Now, I'm wondering just how varied would the cultures of each cluster be? Would they all have similar lifestyles and languages or have several major differences? Would the specie factor alter cultural development? Any help here is appreciated.
     
  2. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Depends on environmental factors. Limited space and limited nutrition would mean smaller people. Patriarchy would generate one attitude while Matriarchy would generate another. Birth rate, small fish versus large fish. Coconuts versus berries. What resources do the have and how would that affect the people.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if they're meeting peacefully on a regular basis, then one would have to assume they're closely aligned in societal/cultural and religious practices, as well as speaking much the same language, or they'd be battling instead... especially as they've also developed and are living within a rather small area...
     
  4. pet.
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    pet. Senior Member

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    Whatever you think is interesting and makes the story work. I honestly think people get too hung up on the details of world-building. What I've found is that a good story, well written, will excuse any world-building issues, where even the best, most realistic and believable world will not excuse a poor story or poor writing. The most important thing is that your setting inspires you.
     
  5. L a u r a
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    L a u r a Senior Member

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    I agree with mammamaia and superpsycho.

    First of all, you have to think of what would best further your plot. That's the point of a setting, right? People don't build a story to fit their setting; it's the other way around. Perhaps the first inkling of a story idea comes with a setting--but then it's tweaked to fit the plot. This is your world, so you can make it any way you want it. Your readers will follow whatever setting you come up with so long as you have a bit of reasoning behind it.

    As with what mammamaia said, the more differences there are, the more room there is for conflict. So. Step one: Decide whether or not you want tension between your tribes. Based on the level of division, consider what superpsycho said. Step two: come up with factors to divide or harmonize the tribes. Did they start out as one tribe and then expand to three as time went on? If so, what caused this division, and how long have the tribes been separate? Remember, different communities use time in different ways; while some use time to heal, others use it to fester in their anger. Of course, then you have the environmental factors that superpsycho mentioned. Do the tribes share their resources, or are they territorial? What is the mood at the yearly meeting? If the tribes have different languages, how do they communicate? That in itself could be interesting; just because people speak different languages doesn't mean they're hostile toward each other. Then again, if you want tension, the difficulties posed by lack of communication could add some interest, especially if you showed the different points of view.

    Hopefully you can find some help out of my rambling. ;)
     

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