Building a World for a Novel – Part 23
New to this project: Start with Part 1
Part 23: What Makes Your People Tick?
Once more I turn to writer and public speaker Kate Evans for the quote, “Character is built on desire, plot is built on obstacles”.
As you build your world and its peoples, you will want to think about what drives them. Are your new people gregarious? Are they loners? Do they marry? Do they couple only to increase their population? For that matter, is increasing the population even on their list of things to do? Are they religious? Do they follow strict traditions? Are they adventurers? Inventors? Are they land-hungry conquerors?
Knowing the cultural history of your people will make a big difference when it comes to having them make decisions. A person’s actions are typically driven by choices they have made in the past. Will that be true with your new people?
Will the choices they make be logical, or a transparent attempt on the part of the writer to espouse a cause? For example, will your people hesitate to burn forests or buildings because they fear that one day their skies will become polluted? Or do they look for clean-burning fuels to propitiate a sharp-eyed god? It is all too easy to allow our own agendas to seep through into our made-up world, but unless you are aiming for allegory, you may want to review the notion. Instead, focus on what would be important to your new worlders, and why.
What drives your people? What do they want? Expansion? Wealth? A closer walk with their god?
What obstructs your people? Neighboring, and hostile tribes? Man-eating monsters? A harsh climate or diminishing food supplies?
Knowing the answers to these questions before you start telling your story will make your story believable, powerful and compelling.
Continued in Part 24