Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Constipation.

I don’t think I like the letter C very much. I keep coming up with C words. But none of them seem all that interesting.

Originally I was planning on writing about characters. But in all honesty I don’t know what I’m talking about, and writing a post about the characteristics of a character, when I don’t know what I’m talking about seems careless.

I briefly entertained the idea of writing about one of my characters, but then I decided it would be better to write about them on their “day”.

The problem with C is that I’ve come up with several cunning C words. However, none of them have truly caught my fancy. I’m constipated with ideas for C.

Then I thought about writing about culture or community. In one aspect of my crazy confusing job, I teach civics. And in one of the lesson plans I bring kids into a neighborhood and ask them, what makes that neighborhood a community. What makes it a culture? Then we could talk about how to get that into writing, cause I suck at world building. And maybe if I did that I would force myself to world build.

I’m not all that good at world building, but I think developing a culture is an important part of it.

The culture in Sacrifice, my current WIP, is ruthless. There are no kingdoms; there is no true central authority. There are warlords, and cities they control. There are mercenary groups who roam from one warlord to another, taking what they want. It’s a culture where children accused of crimes are put to death through a challenge of ordeal. And there is the Church (another interesting C word).

The Church, or temple, is a loose connection of several different polytheistic gods, held together by the Triad, an elected council of the leaders of different temples. The Triad sets temple policy for all of the temples. And the Temple oversees the challenge, or as they call it, the Sacrifice.

A challenge very few children ever survive, but if you do survive, if you turn eighteen, you are pardoned. It used to be that if you survived to sixteen, you would be pardoned. When Leni, the MC turned sixteen, and survived, she did not receive a pardon. She instead received a change in the law, making it seventeen. She survived at seventeen, and the triad changed the law again.

What do you think makes up a culture?


  1. Oo, I love world building (maybe I should do that for W). Culture is a huge part of it, and it essentially all the element that result in the people of a place acting the way they do. Used to know the dictionary term, but forgot it. But I know it has to do with linking people together. So, government, religion, and survival tactics, history too!

  2. World building is very hard for me. I want the story to be rich in culture without it sounding like a social studies text book. Tough some times.

  3. I cheat by writing about the world that's already here- what makes up a culture, what convinces me it exists when I'm reading about other built worlds, is how ingrained a set of values and perspectives is- it can be tough to question the culture you're in, simply because you are so steeped in it, well, unless it seems determined to kill you, I think it would seem questionable then!

  4. Ooh, I love your C post. I believe that a set of beliefs shapes culture--my heritage is Latina, but I don't practice anything that they do. I practiced my religious beliefs that is a culture in itself. ;) Strange, but true!


    A to Z co-host

  5. Started out at constipation ended up with culture! Nice post.

    Nice to meet you, and welcome to the Challenge!

    A to Z Challenge Host

  6. Haha, Constipation is not a c word I would have thought of first. Interesting post!