Hey! I’d like to open a discussion about something. It’s about World Building.
WHO DOESN’T LOVE IT? Before I decided to buckle down and follow through with Nightwalker, I was building its world – Rosamar – to be a tabletop roleplaying system. The work I have done on this universe is e x t e n s i v e. And it should be! Fictional people gotta believably live there, after all.
But I’ve been told that some of the choices I’ve made regarding “society” make it an unbelievable world, and that’s where this discussion starts.
Is it too unbelievable to have a world that exists without “-ism” ?
I’m talking about racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, all of it.
Especially in Fantasy genres, good lord. I’m sorry, but can we just retire some of these cliches? I’m over it. Certain genres I understand that you have to stick to what you’re given, like historical fiction, but if you’re writing and it requires World Building, guess what?
You can do whatever the heck you want.
Step up your game.
Society in your medieval fantasy world does not have to view women as inferior. There does not have to be racism between races / species (retire the elves vs dwarves, just let it go). Your system for royalty can work however you freakin’ want it to, just write it consistently and thoroughly.
Yes, the real world works a certain way that really sucks, but you don’t have to model your fictional world after it and adopt those same problems for it to be believable.
I did not want people to read stories in Rosamar and feel the same problems from real life follow them to the pages. I didn’t feel like I had to bring those parts in for readers to connect with my characters, nor did I feel it was necessary for my characters to have opinions on these matters in order to flesh them out. What if these thoughts, the ones that people are less than each other for stupid reasons, just didn’t exist at all? But I’ve been warned, “How will there be conflict?”
If you cannot create conflict in your world without the crutches of the -isms, it’s time to pay more attention to your surroundings.
If your characters cannot find other reasons to clash with each other, you haven’t truly breathed life into them.
If you are bent on your fictional society having these beliefs, by all means go for it. It’s everywhere and everyone has some sort of way to relate to it, and some readers look for books about these struggles so they can do just that – relate. Maybe that’s exactly what your story is about, and if that’s the case, ignore this post entirely! But don’t feel like this brand of ignorance is your world’s only option.
Build your world however you want. Seriously. However you want. Whatever rules you think there are, break ’em. I’m all about that.
I hope this incites some discussion somewhere, or at least gets you pondering. Do you think a world with equality is too unbelievable? It doesn’t mean the story you’re writing has to be idealistic or hopeful or what have you – mine sure isn’t – it just means those conflicts are out the window.
It means that townspeople won’t denounce the Queen for being a woman, they’ll just denounce her for an actual fault she has or an actual thing she has done.
Conflict is there for legitimate reasons. Personally, I feel that by axing conflict that stems from ignorance, what’s left over is more powerful and meaningful and driven.
Chew on it. AJ out! ❤