Worldbuilding

Are there any documents that set out the way the political system should operate, or the rules of the getting of power, or that serve as the ultimate source of authority and legitimacy for the head of state?

Is there a bill of rights that King Evil Guy the Bad, First Of His Name, has thrown out the window in favour of establishing a kleptocracy with droit du seigneur throughout the kingdom? If so, you could have a rebellion brewing (because King Evil Guy, First Of His Name, sounds like a dick), and those rebels may find it convenient to wave around a few salvaged copies of the bill of rights to justify their actions…

Political systems are the incredibly complex product of the long history of power struggles between the elites of the country and its neighbours. Readers, however, don’t really have the time or interest to work through the Byzantine routes to power of an (unfamiliar) American-style democracy or similarly complex social hierarchy of an (unfamiliar) system of Celtic-like chieftainships — which intricacies are often distracting from plot and character.

There are certain ‘coded’ political systems (single head of state, democratic legislature, clan chiefs, evil dictator, etc) that most people are pretty familiar with. A pragmatic approach is to take one of these as your model, and then make a few careful customisations and deviations to keep things interesting (e.g. change the succession rules or method of elections). If you make the systems any more complex than that, you risk (a) spending all your time explaining it, or (b) confusing readers over something that doesn’t drive the plot anyway.

A strong power base consists of most, of not all, of these sources of power (legitimacy, coercion, money, allies, credibility, information) and a character whose power is based on only one source is like a house with only one structural wall: they are both going to fall over.

Which is why I always wonder when I see really horrendous rulers in fantasy fiction. I mean, if they are just ruling by fear and incompetence, there are going to be a lot of other players in the game with the incentive and ability to get rid of them. And not just farm boy secret heirs either.

miirkwoods:

you know what i really fucking love

fictional goddamn maps 

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like that is a pLACE someone made in their hEAD like wow

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with countries and seas and shit

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uGH fictional places man

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like damn u kno u wanna live in that

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and it doesnt just extend to books too like loOK AT THAT

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frick i want to live there

Transforming a World Into a Setting

Transforming a World Into a Setting

On the pronunciation of names and places in “Philomena”

By request, a little pronunciation guide – happy to add any others people aren’t sure of. 🙂

Broadly (but not consistently), Deusetatsi pronunciation is similar to German, Jovani to Latin, and Alysine to Greek.

Alysia/Alysine “a-LEES-ia/A-liss-ine”
Cervin “KER-vin”
Cimbra “TSIM-bra”
Deusetats “DOI-zetats”
Holle “HOL-ly”
Leutz “LOITZ”
Mittelwalde “MI-tel-vald”
Mullrose “MOOL-rose” (oo like in book)
Philomena “fi-lo-ME-na”
Rainhart “RAIN-hart”
Reuz “ROIZ”
Sylvanus “sil-VAH-noos" 
Tancred “TANG-cred”
Teutic/Teuta “TOI-tic/TOI-ta”
Traumwald “TRAUM-vald” where the au sounds like the "ow” in “cow”
Valdon “VAL-don”
Valentin “va-len-TEEN”

Although you could pronounce them however you think sounds nicest! 🙂

goodnightmoony:

“A Token of The Loyalty of Sawai Madho Singh, Mahraja of Jaipur. 9th August 1902." c.1902 

I find the hardest part of putting a character analysis together is finding the right name. Any tips of guides?

fixyourwritinghabits:

A Primer on Politics for Writers: the Board (Pt 2)

Last time: we talked about the game, and about the systems and social structures that underlie your country’s politics.

This time! We’ll look at diplomacy and trade, war, and the murky world at the borders of your country.

Read more…

A Primer on Politics for Writers: the Board (Part 2)

Last time: we talked about the game, and about the systems and social structures that underlie your country’s politics.

This time! We’ll look at diplomacy and trade, war, and the murky world at the borders of your country.

( Read More )