The People of Hesli - World Ember 2021 Pledge
I, ShadowPhoenix, pledge to write at least 50,000 words of worldbuilding during December!
GoalMy 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.
ResearchSo 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 tonneYikes, 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 EmberSince 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.
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 PromptsTo 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 WordsOne 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
Table of Contents
ResourcesCulture Making Checklist
Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions: Peoples and Customs By Patricia C. Wrede
The Zaharam-Chapelle-Parunas Ethnographical Questionnaire
Gaining VisibilityI'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.
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