1. Kitonie Bubblegum

    Kitonie Bubblegum Member

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    Not sure where this goes, halp!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Kitonie Bubblegum, Dec 14, 2017.

    hi.

    I'm doing some world building and not too sure how to continue with creating laws or commandments that citizens have to follow, if there are any sites or personal advice please feel free to share!

    What I am calling it for now is the People's Agreement, three types of citizens we will say; M, E and AH, have to co-exist with each other. E and AH are considered to be advanced persons and M, is for regular people. A general rule I have for this world I am working on, is that everyone has to look out for everyone, but I don't want to take that to a level where everyone is peaceful and happy, you know what I mean hopefully.

    Besides sites or personal info you may have for me, what are some things I can search up myself to do some research? I'm very new to this part of world building.

    Please do not ask me why I am doing this much work, it has been helping me write better and I am going to continue. In the end I'd rather do too much work than not enough, especially with how my brain works!
     
  2. Cloud Dancer

    Cloud Dancer New Member

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    There are some Kindle books on general rules like consistency and avoiding two-dimensional philosophies/cultures. From my experience, the best guides are RPG world guides, see everything they covered and in what detail. Knowing which to look at also depends on whether you're building something in the Fantasy genre, Sci-Fi genre, or Alternate Reality genre.
    1. History and Timeline. What are the major historical events, like wars, alliances, and migrations leading up to the present. What effect did those events have on the relationships, cultures, and laws of your peoples.
    2. Societies and Cultures. What are the societies, what are there cultural beliefs - likes, fears, dogma - how does that affect their interactions with others... trust, honor, hatred. What laws are in place because of or in response to these attitudes?
    What are the structures in your societies - family/clan, city/tribal, governmental, religious, philosophical/scientific, art/expression.
    What are the conflicts, wars, alliances?
    How important are religion, philosophy, art, science, education, physical aptitudes and strength, combat skill?
    What are the lands and terrain like? Sahara desert where people are nomadic and law is honor? Dense cities?
    What are the professions of the land? Teacher/Engineer/Developer or Tutor/Inventor/Artist?
    Is it a place of technology, or mind powers, or magic, or other?

    Regarding laws, some are based on control, some on prevention, some on fear, some on support. If the law is in place to control others, or because of fear of others, the penalties are usually severe. If the law is prevention of bad things, laws are more corrective and fine- based. Laws of support reward those who help and punish those who hurt.

    Other than that, google worldbuilding and RPG, you should see some additional things out there to help.
     
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  3. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    My advice would be to definitely not set anything in stone until you're actually writing in this setting. Anything like laws and rules needs to emanate from your plot, rather than trying to take the top down view and then figure out how to build rules around it.

    For example; looking from the top down it would seem like you're describing a caste system of some sort. Nothing wrong with that in a setting. But that leads your writing in a certain direction. If there is a formal caste system then those higher up will probably be assholes to the people beneath them, and ideas about 'everyone help everyone' will be things that are largely ignored in practise. If that's the kind of story that you want then that's fine but if it's not then you definitely don't want to create all of this stuff only to realise it doesn't suit what you're trying to tell.

    So that's the first thing. The world serves the plot. And you still need to build a world and make it feel vibrant and alive and interesting, absolutely. But there's no such thing as good setting, there's just the right setting for your story, you know? A setting like Discworld is one wonderfully suited to whimsical, comedy adventuring, but it would be horribly out of place to try and tell a straight fantasy story there. Same for The Sprawl from William Gibson's work; it's a grimy, dark, depressing setting that suits the dark stories that he tells. But if you take this horribly bleak world and try to set a happy little romance there then that's just not going to work.

    Secondly, think about how these kind of things have happened in the real world. No-one ever just sat down and wrote ten thousand pages of laws. Laws were made because laws were needed and slowly over time they built up. Originally their were no laws and people just took vengeance, then slowly things became more centralised and it was necessary to write down a law about theft, say. So you'll want to think about what laws are needed, particularly if those are laws that are different to our present ones. If you have problems with dragons you make laws about dragons, but not if dragons don't live in your world. So think about how this place has come together. If it's a fantasy/historicalish world then the laws will have developed as a result of people coagulating into cities, laws designed to try and keep order now that you don't know everyone who lives near you. If it's more modern or future then those laws will be connected to the technologies and developments that define their world. Think about the arrival of cars in the 20th century as a good example of this, and indeed think of all the laws that we are going to have to write for autonomous cars in the near future too.

    When we see caste systems they've typically been because of religion, but not always. Rome didn't quite have a caste system but it did have a rigid social structure. But the caste system does need to serve a function, or at least those in power need to believe that it does even if it's a cynical one. Castes can be used to control the population by setting them against each other. But then again, in a more modern world this could be much less formal. We still have upper/middle/lower and while we don't make laws about who can do what you can tell someone who's grown up with lots of money and went to private schools. Upper class people don't hate the lower classes, and they don't reject them out of hand, but they do mostly live in areas with other rich people and use the same schools and doctors that keeps them somewhat separated even if the walk the same streets as poor people.

    Hopefully this has given you some ideas :) If you let us know what kind of story and what kind of world then maybe we can give you some more direct advice :)
     
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  4. Kitonie Bubblegum

    Kitonie Bubblegum Member

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    @LostThePlot wow thank you for the detailed response, it has helped a lot and now I understand why I am so stuck with this lol. I am on my phone ATM but I will add some more info in a bit after I've had my coffee. :)
     
  5. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    You're welcome :) I have almost literally nothing better to do than pontificate :p
     
  6. Kitonie Bubblegum

    Kitonie Bubblegum Member

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    @LostThePlot : Okie dokie, here is an info dump....lol

    So the world was created by being's called The Creator's, they are still alive and active in the world and are powerful beings, there is four-six of them, each in charge of a countries / continents or whatever, I haven't completely figured that out yet. It's sort of like a council where they have these few commandments they agreed on and then there will be lesser laws for each continent that the people have to follow, just general things that I probably won't hash out. I'm confused on if I should or not haha.

    The Creator's have done their job at up-keeping the world, it's beautiful and rich, the people for the most part have followed their influence and also taken care of it, there are those people who just don't care but they are far fewer than decent beings.

    I have been thinking about ways to make this interesting enough instead of everything just be hunky dory, but the interesting stuff, I've realized is her adventure and growth with the people around her. The world will be affected by her decisions and eventually crumble, so she is going to be one of those things that rules are made because of. LOL Pretty much, the short stories are stories about how she messes up and ruins things, she has this huge destiny but she's been tainted and is trying to get better but it just won't work.

    Regular people are accepting and understanding of the role magic plays, some non-magic users don't like it, mainly because of jealousy because those are people always trying to get what they don't have.

    You'll see I mention a group called The Protector's somewhere below. They are special beings that The Creator's and the magical resources have deemed worthy of Protecting the world.

    I'm really just starting all this world-building, this is the info I'd like to share for now :)

    Okay, so there are six magical resources and this is how they were created:
    • The Creator's conjured the sources of magic when they created this world, they knew that because the magic was dormant, they needed something to kick-start it to make sure their world was flourishing.

    How has magic been useful in the past?

    • During any major wars (and almost wars), The Creators have saved the world. There is little damage because there are few man-made things. Anything that is man-made that uses power uses magic or natural energy. Magic has kept the world healthy.
    AH, E, M: How do they co-exist
    • For the most part peacefully, laws are strict and so are punishments. It is rare that the authorities are unable to catch criminals who defy the people's agreemet. There are those who have strong opposing idea's, creating tension between the three groups
    Why haven't people with strong magical abilities taken over the world?
    • The Creator's created the world and are capable of protecting it as well, even though it may be difficult to find perpetrator's, with the help of The Protector's they have managed to keep the world in good working order.
     
  7. Kitonie Bubblegum

    Kitonie Bubblegum Member

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    @Cloud Dancer I'm sorry, I didn't see your post! Thank you for taking time to respond :) The information really helps me, I have been looking at google but for commandments or government stuff, I really had no idea what to look for. I will look at RPG world building, can't believe I didn't think of that! :)

    Hope you're having a good day.
     
  8. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    Ok, that's an interesting start. So, the bare bones then are that this is a fantasy world, and a straight take on it. That's good, because then things just have to make sense in a logical way rather than for the sake of a good pun :p

    I think given the way you describe it the right take on it would be to make it a world where the present order is quite flawed; not bad but where it feels a bit old and crumbling. I think that'll give you the right feel for a world where the laws kinda mean well and maybe once upon a time everything was all fine and everyone got on, but slowly things have ground down until things aren't quite as perfect as they once were. Maybe that 'past' is mythical, maybe it really did used to be better, but today clearly has some problems; an empire in decay. The people are all just busy being people and trying their best to figure things out but the overall feeling is one of a society that doesn't quite work any more. That will give you the chance to build contrasts; say the people are all good people but they've been let down by their leaders or traditions or whatever. That'll make for a world where you can have lots of weird laws because they were laws made for a different time, that maybe once everyone understood what they were for but today they've become useless and a bit oppressive, a way for those in charge to stomp on those they dislike more than a legitimate law to keep the peace.

    This will set it up so that you wouldn't expect the different castes to be getting on perfectly. Maybe there even is a law on the books saying that everyone has to help each other out, but these days it's mostly just ignored and people are more jerks to each other. The lower castes are struggling to make ends meet and the upper caste just conveniently forget that they are supposed to do something to help them. I think this would give it a feeling of reality; this is something that we see in a lot of societies over time, that those on top become disconnected and apathetic and start to game the system to their benefit because they can and too bad for everyone else.

    My leaning would be to say that the castes aren't a legal construct, but more of a very strong tradition. So it's not illegal for you to marry outside your caste, but the temple might not want to perform the ceremony, something like that. That makes for a parallel structure to the law, another set of rules to follow that you're told you must but it's all social pressure and whispering and dirty looks. That would play well into having the castes not just be nice to each other all the time. They might be friends, they might work together, but you just can't marry that girl and if you do suddenly people will just cut you out of society.

    I quite like the ideas that the creators stop the people fighting, but not in a touchy-feely-hug-it-out way; I like the idea that every time the people try to wipe each other out then the creators just stamp on them and say "No" without solving the underlying issues. So maybe this is a world with a lot of ancient grudges, where whatever sparked the wars was never really resolved they just were forced not to actually fight about it.

    As for the creators themselves; it depends on how big a role you want them to have in your world, but I'd go for writing them as kinda distant, inscrutable, godlike figures. They aren't evil at all, but they aren't connected to the people, they aren't interested in laws or human constructs either. They do their own thing, protecting the world, and occasionally stamp on people but that's about it. So they are a real presence in the world, but one that's mostly busy keeping things as they are and don't take the time to explain why they are doing things. That would play into a civilisation in decline; where maybe once the creators really did talk to people and lead and guide and make things awesome, but slowly they withdrew and left the people to figure things out for themselves. That might leave you with a weird pseudo-religion around them. These are real being that definitely exist, but you can't know them or understand them and they don't want your praise. But the little snippets of laws or commandments or even stories and myths that they gave to people are venerated as being absolute law. This might be another interesting thread to pull on when it comes to building formal and informal legal structures, with a parallel towards a school of Islamic thought today. I can't remember what sect but their approach to solving any dispute is to find something in the holy texts where Mohammed or one of the people immediately around him had a similar problem and whatever Mohammed did is the right answer and this kinda supersedes laws. So if you do something illegal but that was supposedly emulating the creators, maybe you can argue your way out of it and if you are punished other people will riot because they think you did the right thing.

    As for the people's agreement; that's quite a nice name for it. It sounds a bit Soviet, in a way, and I like that angle of working with it. So it's the people's agreement and people are taught that of course they subscribe to all of this and of course they swear to uphold the laws, but in reality it's enforced on them from the top down. So it's the people's agreement even though your characters never agreed to it, and it's weird and bloodthirsty and if they hadn't grown up being taught that this is right then they wouldn't even accept some of the laws. And all punishments are "for the people", all crimes are against "the people"; building this sense of a larger society but one that's trying a bit too hard to look democratic.

    Anyway; that's just some ideas off the top of my head. At least there's some things to think about with how you want to put all of these strands together :)
     
  9. Kitonie Bubblegum

    Kitonie Bubblegum Member

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    @LostThePlot AHhhh!! thanks again, I really appreciate you and this forum. haha...I've been so disappointed in the past with forums and I haven't even been here 15 days and I really enjoy it.

    I didn't think about the society already crumbling, that has given me a lot a lot of ideas. It would make sense too, I was trying to figure out why The Creator's would allow Astrid to be put through so many terrible things, if she was such an important person for the world. You're response has triggered a lot of different thoughts that fix some of my confusion, my motivation to write this week has been low because of my confusion, I'm looking forward to hashing out these details we've talked about.

    It's also great that you talk about the caste's, I didn't really understand what I did until you were talking about them. The differences between AH, E and M are going to be more complicated than I originally wanted and that is great because I was so bored with the way I was thinking about them. I love writing assholes, so it will make for some interesting past stories.

    The Creator's have more harsh personalities than soft, I think I have one softy in all 4-6. lol I'm very happy that it sounds interesting to someone other than myself hahaha...I love when things are hashed out with calmness and stuff but that doesn't fit this and I'm totally cool with that.

    For now I don't plan on having them be a big part of the story, eventually they will have a bigger part, but that is way past story 10 or 12 or 200. LOL

    I like that you've recognized they'll be keeping their distance for selfish reasons, It's difficult for me to deal with The Creator's because there has been a few versions of them and I really like this one the best so far, I just want to be able to use some info I already have...which... I HAVE FOUND A PROFILE AND STUFF I DID FOR THEM!!!!!!!!! woo... lol I just don't know if it's possible yet or not. I haven't found all my previous ideas.

    I was thinking about The People, or the majority of them, blindly being on Astrid's side once they are aware of who she is. So that example fits completely and allows me to understand that idea more :) Thanks!

    Weird and bloodthirsty are Astrid's middle name. (Astrid is my main character)
    You have given me a lot to think about, I've been making notes while responding to you haha.

    I hope you are having a good day :) I haven't said that yet... lol.
     
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  10. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    You're very welcome :)

    Just some quick bits -

    You can definitely make this work if the society has some problems already, especially if she's destined to pull it all down. They might not instantly come to her aid, but if they have been living in this world and dealing with it's problems every day for generations then they would certainly sympathise with her. They wouldn't themselves start tearing society down, but if they have the feeling that "it can't be worse" then the idea of this old civilisation finally falling to be replaced by something new would be attractive to them.

    Fire and brimstone is even better than benign if you want to go that route. Kinda still keep them being very above the population and never explaining their actions when they occasionally splatter people seemingly without a reason, leaving it up to the mortals to explain why their gods destroyed the vegetable shop this morning. Setting them up like this, as something a bit otherworldly with a totally different set of priorities to normal people who could never hope to understand why they do things is something nice to play with. You can have some or all of them be good or bad as you need to; and there isn't much difference between good and bad really except their motivations. You can look to how the Greeks saw their gods for some inspiration for this kind of being. The Greek gods were, well, assholes. If they helped you out it was for their own reasons, not because you asked. They were these kinda force of nature creatures, who just did their thing and mortals just had to deal with that.

    Any time :D
     
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  11. Kitonie Bubblegum

    Kitonie Bubblegum Member

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    @LostThePlot

    Yes, I don't want them to just accept her. I think it fits really well with the fact that Astrid has to go through these obstacles, which are visiting each magical resource to prove her worthiness.

    I've also failed to mention, there will be a romantic interest. His name is Abel, at first he is a great influence on her, he will be introduced early because I really am not a fan of quick romance. I'd like to be able to have it grow along with the story. I'm not usually interested in writing romantic interests but I think it will give another cool element. Since Astrid is eventually going to do something messed up to him, he will side with the baddies and be a big help in creating the monster I want her to be.

    I've been working on her for so long, I have so many idea's and I'm excited because I can potentially write about her forever. haha I think I work better focusing on one series like this. Sorry, rambling...

    Anyway, I made a note to brainstorm what she has to do in order to win them over, not completely obviously but yeah. :)

    Yessss, I am inspired by Greek mythology, I have a few books that I've been wanting to read. It's probably a good time to start haha. I used to know so much about Greek gods, I'm looking forward to refreshing my memory.
     
  12. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    That should work well then. So she starts as a rumour, then becomes common knowledge, then she becomes a hero and finally the normally people join her cause as they see that this is really happening. And as the story goes on that will give you some stuff to play with if you want to go there. So early on if she needs some normal person's help she'll have to persuade him that she isn't some rebel or terrorists, but as time goes on people start to just drop their lives to help her out. And that contrasts nicely with her being not a great person; people bowing down like she's the messiah when she's kinda wrecking everything up.

    I think that's a good choice. This kind of big epic story needs something else working with the leads than just the big good vs evil fight. I think having this kind of romance that turns into not romance would be good; it's another axis in the conflict, you know? They know each other well, know how each other think and there's always that question if they could actually kill each other. Having someone who was close to Astrid as part of the people opposing her means that they can always be two seconds behind her, right on her heels and getting to her secret stash before her, that kind of thing. And that's good. It keeps the narrative pressure on this; the battle of wills between Abel and Astrid almost takes on the same importance as the big epic story line. If you need help coming up with ideas for what messed up thing she can do to him, that stuff is kinda my forte :p

    Yeah, I had that going on when I had just started writing. I loved the lead that I'd written, so much stuff that I wanted to do with her. But yes, important to kinda stick to one story at a time, even if you could sit down and write her forever and ever. For me my limit was about... Two and three quarters books before I needed to pick up something fresh. So make sure you get down the story you want before you let her go off and become a pirate queen or whatever fun stuff is in her future :p

    You can have some fun with this stuff, make it as weird or as tame as you like, depending. For me I like a slightly cocky hero who discovers that to win someone over they just have to serve someone tea and sit and listen to their stories. That's all they have to do. And the hero is thinking about gouging their own eyes out because seriously this is worse than slaying a thousand demons to get the last guy on board.

    Off the top of my head; look up myths about Zeus. He was forever appearing as a bull or a swan and impregnating mortal women. And that's just kinda... What? Also sometimes appeared to knock people up as a shower of gold as well. I like a golden shower as much as the next guy but I don't think that'll get anyone pregnant :p Anyway the Greeks have a fun idea of gods as basically... Like kinda bitchy, squabbling high school girls who can just wreck the whole world up if they get too annoyed. Also they believed in destiny (or had myths about it anyway) and the greatest crime, mythologically speaking, was hubris; spiting the gods by fighting against your destiny. So yeah, there's definitely stuff there that would be good to think about :)
     
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