Creating a Culture/Philosophy Novel?


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Thread: Creating a Culture/Philosophy Novel?

  1. #1

    Creating a Culture/Philosophy Novel?

    So I've had a recent idea for a novel. I want to create a new culture, with it's own philosophy, fables, history, religion, government, economy system, ect.
    However this is far from the normal fiction novels I like to write. So I was hoping you could tell me where I might start, how I might approach it. Although this is sort of a world building novel, I want to still want to create a piece that people would enjoy reading. I already have an idea of the culture I want to create, but how do I put it into an engaging and comprehensive fashion?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Isn't this a part of science fiction or fantasy?

    I am guessing the trap is to fall in love with the world you are creating, instead of letting it just be setting. In other words, it can be part of the story, but not the story.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Isn't this a part of science fiction or fantasy?

    I am guessing the trap is to fall in love with the world you are creating, instead of letting it just be setting. In other words, it can be part of the story, but not the story.
    So essentially create a story that explores the world/setting I've created?

  4. #4
    That's the normal way, yes. Worldbuilding is a lot of fun for some people (including me) but it's also extremely time-consuming, if done properly, which is why novels that explore really different new worlds are quite rare.

    I would suggest that you start by defining the geography your people live in and the language they speak. Then you go about creating their myths and religion, after which you can develop their history from the hunter-gatherer stage forward. After about six years of solid work you'll have a sort of encyclopaedia or textbook, which is the platform on which your subsequent multi-volume epic is built.

    Useful links for the world-builder:-


    After you've got those three elements sussed the rest is easier, and follows naturally.
    I can love my fellow man, but I'm damned if I'll love yours.
    Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand.

  5. #5
    Read. Read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Read Dune. Read the Wheel of Time saga, read The Song of Ice and Fire, read any fantasy series. Frankly, if you have to ask how to do it, you aren't ready to do it. No one can tell you how to create your world.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

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  6. #6
    I agree with Terry. It's something you're going to have to immerse yourself in. You might possibly think about reading some Forgotten Realms series books, R.A. Salvatore's famous Drizz't character fits into that book series somewhere.
    Maybe take up some table-top rpg's too, a lot of their source material are rife with great examples of what you're looking for, and a lot of it is available online on .pdf for free.
    Last edited by kilroy214; October 22nd, 2016 at 11:20 PM.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    Read. Read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Read Dune. Read the Wheel of Time saga, read The Song of Ice and Fire, read any fantasy series. Frankly, if you have to ask how to do it, you aren't ready to do it. No one can tell you how to create your world.
    The problem I have is not with creating the world. I've been doing that my entire life, and it's 90% of the reason I've grown up wanting to be a writer. I have a large majority of the world I want to write about already built. What I'm having trouble with is understanding how I can turn that into a novel without it being a glorified encyclopedia.

    The simplest course that has presented itself so far is to simply add characters and have them explore the world I've created. Which that would be an easy thing to do, however that's not what I'm trying to go for. I guess if I could relate my idea to something, I'd say it would be closer to the bible than to the Lord of the Rings.

    If any books you know of spring to mind, please tell me. I've read most of the titles you've mentioned, but as I said they're not not what I had in mind.

  8. #8
    Your book can't be about your world. The world is the least important part. The most important part is the story. The second most important part are the characters you create. Create memorable characters and have them do something important, and readers will love your book even if you set it in Cleveland.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    Your book can't be about your world. The world is the least important part. The most important part is the story. The second most important part are the characters you create. Create memorable characters and have them do something important, and readers will love your book even if you set it in Cleveland.
    Hmm, well that conflicts with what I had envisioned. I basically want to create a nation/culture and it's history, covering all aspects of that culture. What do you think about the idea of framing it in the form of multiple "fables"?

  10. #10
    If you want to sell the world rather than a story set within it, then you could make a Wikia out of it and show it to the roleplaying game fraternity. If the world's original and intriguing then they'll use it as a background for their own stories... and you might well find that people will fund a kickstarter to make it into a print book.
    I can love my fellow man, but I'm damned if I'll love yours.
    Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand.

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