Now we need to explore the culture and beliefs of the place where our story occurs. If you are writing speculative fiction, you will need to create a culture and belief system; if your setting is a foreign country or a time in the past, you will need to research their cultural values; even if your story takes place here and now, there are large differences in the values and beliefs of different groups, different families and different individuals. It is worth taking time to consider some of the main tenants of a culture and belief system.
In this culture, what attitude is taken toward:
1. The existence (or not) of a divine being or beings?
2. Sexual relations? (what is expected? Acceptable? Between whom?)
3. Gender roles and expectations/limitations?
4. The upbringing of children? (Who raises them, what are they taught in school, etc)
5. Crime and punishment? (What is illegal, what are the punishments?)
6. Equality or a class system? (If unequal, to whom?)
7. Work? (What qualifies, what is the attitude toward it?)
8. Leisure? (How much, how is it spent?)
9. End of life?(how does it come? Is it feared? What do they think follows life?)
10. What is valued? Why is it valued?
11. What is not valued or considered shameful? Why?
12 How do each of your main characters fit into their society? Are they in agreement with or in opposition to their society, their religion? Why/why not? How will this change over the story?
Has this post helped you identify cultural aspects of your story world? Are there other aspects important to your story not mentioned here? We can all learn from each other. See you tomorrow!