Sometimes, only one person is fit for a profession. Sometimes, that profession isn't liked. Sometimes, the existence of the individual with said profession is to the reluctance of many. I'm used to a profession filling some role that is needed, and while this does fit that criterion, it's also seen as a bad thing. Not only is it bad for the individual in the role, inciting some bit of madness, it's also feared for their power. Some professions are not all good, but can still exist in the context of a world.
Cultures are malleable things, granular, overlapping even, a complex network of nuances. A person can be in multiple cultures on multiple levels all at once. One can be a blade and a dream cultist, being a part of both cultures while both being under the umbrella of southland nomad. And, since dream cultists tend to be wanderers from one of the 8, they can have a historical-cultural context of wherever they came from. All of these would describe the individual, that culture is just a collective identity multiple people share. So, when I go on to make cultures, I'll consider an individual as well as the collective, to understand how that culture interacts with others and is even formed.
Even things so common as a lake people lived by for generations can still have secrets. It doesn't have to be a mysterious island or a nearby ruined city, though those do help. Yet it can still be so common to know what the most populous things to fish there are, like clams. Adding a little mystery to common things also helps attract readers, why is it that this lake that has a populace still has an unexplored island. Probably legends of people never coming back, would be my guess.
This is an inspiration really for me; I've been stuck in a rut of individual magic, rather than communal. This article reminded me that many rituals, and thus magical happenings, are due to the joint effort of people. Sure, someone could cast a fireball themselves, but wouldn't it be more interesting if multiple people had to work together to make that fireball? Or, if there's some reason that someone can't do it alone, like having to get things from multiple places or a sacrifice that you can't be a part of because you're not the right fit (or just don't want to be the sacrifice).
This article really shows that you can make anything unique. Boundaries for what's possible aren't limited, things like a meta-narrative, a spin on a vague concept such as creativity, and even the word creative itself are all played with. To be creative is to do things that aren't fully understood by others, and that's okay, it all adds to a narrative for something greater. If I'm confusing with this one, that's kind of the point.
Just because a piece of technology is made for one purpose means that it has to always be used for that purpose. Dark Mirrors are easy to see why they were no longer used for their original purpose, that goal had already been achieved, but the many other things their simple purpose leads to is such a cool thing. I understand them as scrying mirrors, but that means more than just looking at one place. What about the sharpness of where you're looking, or how micro or macro you look at something. Just because something was made for a religious purpose of peace doesn't mean people won't also use it for science and war or more.
This article reminded me that creatures are made of different stuff. Valuable stuff. Stuff worth... harvesting. It's easy to see a "lesser" being worth hunting and extracting from, like an elephant's ivory or a snail's purple dye, but what about a different intelligent species that may have something yours does not? Or, if it is one of your own species that provides something of worth (a simple analogy being the harvesting of blood to give to others for medical purposes, though with world-building that can be much broader than medicinal purposes).
This article inspired something specific within my world, I just love the idea of a vast library holding way too much knowledge. It also reminded me that a library is more than just that, more than a bunch of librarians. Defenses need to be considered, political affiliations, and even how items of knowledge are organized. It makes me want to just expand.
RItuals, they can be small, so small in fact that it's limited to a close friend group who made it up as a childhood thing-to-do. A ritual can be a vast network of concepts put into a set of actions by a culture, but a culture doesn't have to be big either. Moreover, inspiration can come from concepts that exist outside one's immediate genre. Tidbits of shared cultural knowledge shared only within the past few months is a fun way to get inspired, and fun for readers who understand that reference (just be sure to also make it work without context like the observance of thine orb).
Civilizations crop up around rivers, typically in our world. But the fun about worldbuilding is that you can just make things up. What about magical routes that grant power, those would definitely be something people would gravitate to make their homes. And those things that people gravitate towards, they can lead to further building of other world-building stuff, like natural disasters those people would experience due to their settlement choices. That would lead to more things, going on and on. And, this would all stem from a simple change to the world.
My continuing resolution is to write more of my novel, Seeking the Unknown. This is the same as last year and the year before, but I remain resolute. My new resolutions, mainly thanks to WorldEmber are the writing of more non-novel-relate world-building, and to be more active in the community. I'd been a bit too entrenched in just writing prose upon prose and chapter upon chapter, kind of forgetting that it's just fun to create stuff. Writing random articles for the world that don't have any barring on what I've been doing was good for my headspace and make me more willing to get back to the novel. Another benefit that WorldEmber had on me specifically is coming back to the WA community. it was really fun and inspiring reading worlds I'd not checked upon in a while and worlds that are brand new to me. The joint effort of everyone has me wanting to write more of the novel, of world-building, and to read more about other worlds; it's contagious.