The People of Hesli - World Ember 2021 Pledge in Hesli | World Anvil

The People of Hesli - World Ember 2021 Pledge

I, ShadowPhoenix, pledge to write at least 50,000 words of worldbuilding during December!
— A madlad


My goal during World Ember 2021 is to flesh out the people of Hesli to give myself a solid foundation for furture NPCs. I want to write about their history, culture, customs, and countries. If I have enough time, I would also like to expand a few of the main cities to give the people a place to live.   In the weeks leading up to the start of World Ember, I want to create a list of all the things I want to write about, so I have a checklist to work from. I will add this list to this pledge document to hold myself accountable for my goals. That's what I hope to achieve, at least.  


So far, I've been doing some research into worldbuilding cultures. What does it entail, what should I keep in mind, what are aspects of cultures, are a few of the questions that came to mind. The answer...  
A massive tonne
  Yikes, but it was to be expected. Off to the internet I went and I happened to come across a neat checklist that someone else made some time ago. The link is in de sidebar, in case you want to check it out. If I come across more interesting and useful links during my research, I'll put it under resources.   The Culture Making Checklist is an extensive list. So, if I want to check everything off for all four of my main cultures, I'd need a lot more time and words. However, just having a checklist gets you only so far. It's essentially an enourmous roundabout with many exits. But, where does an exit lead? So, to give myself a sense of guidance, I've looked into worldbuilding prompts regarding culture and ethnicities. In this search, I've found two gems: Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions: Peoples and Customs By Patricia C. Wrede and The Zaharam-Chapelle-Parunas Ethnographical Questionnaire. They are full of interesting prompts that will definitely give me a sense of direction and get my brain thinking.  

The Culture Checklist for World Ember

Since I don't have the luxury to take December off from work, even though I'd love to, I decided to filter the list and note the most important points for me. I'm hoping to get the knowledge, ideas, inspiration, and motivation to tick most of these off during World Ember for every main culture. It is still a long list, but much shorter than doing... everything.  
Family Structure
Social Classes
  Will I complete them all? Probably not, but it's a guideline for me to refer to when I get stuck and don't know what I should be writing about further.  

Worldbuilding Prompts

To support the main categories I hope to cover in my cultures, I've selected a handful prompts to support a few categories. They should get me thinking during my writing. If, by some miracle, I have extra time left, I can deepdive into these prompts and answer them.  
  • What social classes or division exists in this society? If so, can people move from one class to another? Are there any benefits to being one class over another?
  • What is the form of government? How is it structured?
  • Does the weather or climate contribute any habits or customs, such as the mid-afternoon siesta in hot countries?
  • Are people allowed to have personal weapons on them? If so, which weapons would be available?
  • What is most valuable to have according to this society and why?
  • Who are historic heroes and villains, and why are they admired like that?
  • What is the ideal life that people aspire to?
  • How do religious people view non-believers?
  • What is the local economy based on?
  • What sort of jobs are preferred by which people? Are some jobs denied to certain groups?

A Picture says a Thousand Words

One of the things I really want to expand on during World Ember are the crafts and professions within the cultures. Some overlap, and others are more exclusive to that specific culture. However, the saying goes that a pictures says a thousand words. Therefore, I went on a hunt to find some images that could convey the professions I want to talk about. Currently, I have these images as URLs in a text file, so I can access them easily to figure out which ones I actually want to use. I got them all from Unsplash so far, as they provide free to use images. So, yes, they will be generic, but at least it can break up the walls of text a little.   While finding pictures for professions is easy online, it is not for many of the other aspects that I would like to write about. Things like religion, military, government, and fashion are subjects that I have to draw with my godawful limited drawing capabilities. Since I just moved, and drawing takes ages for me, I'm going to let that slide as prep for World Ember. I still have NaNoWriMo to finish, after all! So, instead, I have created a placeholder image to put in spots where I'd like to put a drawing or a better image of some sort.   Is it perfect? No. Do I like it? Of course, it has a penguin! But, judge yourself. ^^  
Table of Contents
Do you want to read my articles during World Ember?


Culture Making Checklist
Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions: Peoples and Customs By Patricia C. Wrede
The Zaharam-Chapelle-Parunas Ethnographical Questionnaire

Gaining Visibility

I'm usually not the type to share my work all over social media, primarily because I don't use it much. Getting into that just for World Ember doesn't feel well to me, so I'm letting that part slide for now. I do hope that I work towards some social media goals over the next year! (Look at that, early 2022 goals!)   Instead, I will focus on the community. I love reading other people's work and providing them with (hopefully) insightful and encouraging comments. So, for this World Ember, I want to continue engaging with the WA community in Discord and read as much as I can while writing one mountain's worth of words.   The only additional thing I have done for extra visibility, is putting up a follow button for my world at the top of this pledge. Other than that, I'll use the notify followers button and share my work in Discord once I redeem it worthy of feedback.

Written Articles

Cover image: by WorldAnvil


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6 Nov, 2021 11:44

50K :O woooohoooo go you! good luck!

9 Nov, 2021 20:22

I feel like a madly, but it's quite fun ^^ I'm hoping to keep the nano writing train going while it's on full steam!

6 Nov, 2021 12:23

50k! NICE - good luck with your worldbuilding :D You're gonna smash that goal!

Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
9 Nov, 2021 20:23

Thaanks! It's a lot, but I'm already looking forward to it. ^^

6 Nov, 2021 15:53

You are one of the few I have seen to put down 50K as your goal! (I am right there with you.) Your goal is nice and concise. I...did not manage such concision. I look forward to seeing you get your 50k!

alan m rogers ~ the notebook wizard
9 Nov, 2021 20:25

Join the club! I'm really looking forward to get some more world building done and flesh out these people. I mean, what's a world without them? :D   The goal may be concise, but the work I have to put in certainly isn't. If anything, it's the opposite! xD

12 Nov, 2021 17:28

I like how you plan to approach your culture articles. Good luck and have fun!

13 Nov, 2021 20:16

Thanks! I hope it'll help me from keeping flustered. ^^

12 Nov, 2021 21:42

I like how you went from "A massive tome" to a specific plan that works for you.   Good luck!

13 Nov, 2021 20:26

Hehe, yeah, it was like swallowing a big pill the first time I saw that culture checklist, and I could feel my brain getting overwhelmed. Took me a bit to refine it to this plan, so here's hoping it works! :D

13 Nov, 2021 01:45

Four cultures and 50k, WOW! You're going to have an amazing month! As you're writing through NaNo--keep it steady so you'll coast onward and maintain this momentum: WorldEmber is coming!

You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
Now with serialized fiction on Ream!!
13 Nov, 2021 20:28

Yes, I'm already looking forward to it! I was hoping to use the momentum from NaNo into World Ember and it seems to be going quite well so far! :D

Sage SailingOcelot
Sailing Ocelot
22 Nov, 2021 13:12

I love how clearly you wrote your goals in your pledge document, and I admire how you wish to attempt another 50,000 words straight after NaNo! I hope you enjoy the process of worldbuilding on the people of Hesli.

~~~~~~~~ SailingOcelot
22 Nov, 2021 14:14

Thank you! I really hope to continue riding the nano train. I've been writing a steady 1700-2000 words every day so far. If I can keep that momentum going, that would be awesome. ^^

22 Nov, 2021 19:19

I LOVE culture building! Really excited to see what you put together!! Good luck!

23 Nov, 2021 07:18

Thanks! I've been loving the prep I've done for my dwarves so far, so I'm really excited to see what else I can come up with. ^^

25 Nov, 2021 20:31

Don't tell the other's, but I'm most excited for your WorldEmber :P I know you're an amazing writer so I cannot wait to see you write 50 thousand words on cultures and peoples! You are truly inspiring ^-^

I hope you have a great day!   Check out my Treasured Companions Challenge Entry!
25 Nov, 2021 21:13

Aww, thank you! <3   PS: Your secret is safe with me, I won't tell anyone!

27 Nov, 2021 02:37

Ah, someone to take notes on, as cultures are basically tied with religions on "list of things i dislike worldbuilding." Looking forward to your articles. Hope you can get the 50K.

28 Nov, 2021 08:07

Hehe, yeah we all have that dislike list, don't we? Although mine is very small so far.   Let's smash our goals this year. :D

Grandmaster ChroniclesofEvalaw
Olarae & Astaroth Arcaine
28 Nov, 2021 11:20

50K!!! I'm sure you can pull this off no sweat! ;)

_______________________________________________________________   Please check out our project Chronicles of Evalaw¬†or come chat with us on our Discord Server!
28 Nov, 2021 13:41

Thank you! When I start sweating during writing, I should reconsider my style. :P But I do hope I can pull this one off, that would be awesome. ^^