Benjamin Andrews is a fellow epic fantasy writer. Eric has a guest post about the things that motivate extroverts to write. Without further ado, here is Benjamin:
Real Cultural Differences in Fictional Worlds
There is no question that the world is a diverse place, and that has had both positive and negative impacts on life as we know it. We see these differences as governments interact, and people travel to other nations for business, pleasure, and even re-location. That diversity has been a cause for both pleasure and pain, and it’s something that simply is. When you create a new world for a story to take place in, the same may be true for that world. Fiction may be fiction, but in many ways it can be quite real too.
Cultural differences are something I’ve had to consider as I’ve been writing the Rift of Askrah series. The story spans across continents, and it would be unreasonable for the people to be the same. Add in the fact that one of the main characters is also royalty, and there is just as much political and verbal warfare as there is open physical battle. Politics, even fictional, are a subject that is full of cultural diversity. Different lands communicating, securing their own interests, aiding allies, or fighting enemies. There’s a certain challenge to it that is different from a fight scene. There’s a different energy, though it can be just as intense.
Creating these kinds of issues and interactions that breathe life into a fictional world can be an interesting process. Thinking of both problems that could be seen across a broad range of living beings, and issues that would be unique to the world you have created. In particular, creating the ones that are unique to that world really require examining every detail under the microscope. No detail is too small when it comes to realistic interactions on a fictional international scale.
This idea applies not only to the broad concept of the world in general, but down to a much more detailed level as well. Characters, main and minor alike, may come from different places. Dimension, depth, life, these are things character building requires, and where people come from is always a part of where they’re going. Whether it be a positive or negative influence is another matter.
Creating new values, adapting current life philosophies, there are so many ways to come up with unique mannerisms and customs for a specific land. The real challenge is creating the best ones possible. For some books, such as an epic fantasy like mine, this can be an extremely important factor. No matter the book though, cultural differences, and the interactions created because them, can be relevant to many different genres on many different levels.