Creating New Worlds: Part Three: Government and Class

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:


Your story may not need a huge amount of research for this part, but you do need to figure out a little bit so that you can get titles, jobs, and position correct for your people.

Government

There are many different types of government: dictatorship, republic, democracy, monarchy, communist, etc. Depending on your story you may only need to look up certain aspects of the government system or you might need to have a full understanding.

Like I said during the overview, in my novel "The Faery's Tale" I had to do research on titles in a monarchy. I didn't have to go into full detail about how a monarchy works politically, but I did need to know exactly how titles are passed down and rewarded.

My research allowed me to then make up my own system for another group of people and another novel. Once I had an understanding of how the title system worked, I was able to fiddle with it and make up my own system with my own titles.

If your story centers around government and political power, you'll have to do more research than that. I know that many fantasy/sci-fi writers out there are saying "Well I can just make it up so why research anything?" Well, in my opinion, I don't understand how you could make up a full system of government if you don't have at least a basic understanding of some form of government in the first place - especially since there are so many different systems out there. Find one that is similar to what you want, research it until your comfortable, then tweak that system to fit your needs. This will help you describe the people in your story and what they do. For example, if you have a governor of a certain region (state) but you want to call him something other than a governor - you'd still need to know what a governor does in relation to the rest of the government system.

Research is never a waste of time - and even in Fantasy and Sci-Fi you need to do it! You're story will be SO much better if you do.

Class

Many government systems or styles of people have a class system - the upper class or the rich and the lower class or the poor. This can be split up into more levels if you like. In my novel "The Story of William Archer" I have the Trade Class made up of blacksmiths, carpenters, etc., the Merchant Class made up of shop owners and business people, the Political Class, the rich but usually the lower end of the scale (like the smaller titled nobles such as Barons), then the Noble Class made up of the nobles, obviously.

What about your world? Where would people fit into a class system? Research on this can be very helpful as well as throughout history class has changed drastically. You can use a class system from history or make up your own, as I have. But, I needed to have an understanding of class systems and how they work first! Sure, I could have gotten away with just making stuff up on this one. It is possible to have a class system work reasonably well without any knowledge of other class systems. However, research will help you create a more BELIEVABLE system and make it work in tandem with the government system! It would be awful to have a class system and a government system that didn't work well together!

Yes, research until you go cross eyed! Okay, not everyone will enjoy that as much as me I'm sure! I love doing research and learning new things so this part is fun for me! If it's dragging for you that's okay. Just remember that in the end, your story (that you do love) will read much better, be more accurate, and read smoother if you take the bit of time to research first. It's WELL worth it in the end!

And for those that are looking at this weeks schedule going "Oh my God, I'll never write Fantasy or Sci-Fi!" Please don't be discouraged! I am going into a huge amount of detail for this blog posts trying to cover every possibility you could encounter in a story. The end of this series, I'll give you a "Worksheet" to use when creating a new world. You'll see that it's really not that hard when you think about it! So - don't freak out just yet!

4 Responses to "Creating New Worlds: Part Three: Government and Class"

Genie of the Shell Says :
April 29, 2010 at 5:35 PM

This is great advice. I love doing research, but I haven't done much about government systems, which I suspect would make my fantasy kingdom more rich and believable.

And sometimes, during research on "dry" subjects like history and politics, you come across some pretty juicy stories!

Liz H. Allen Says :
April 29, 2010 at 5:49 PM

I can't tell you the perfect timing of this weeks theme. I am just working on this in my current WIP.

Dawn Embers Says :
April 29, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Another great post. So, far I haven't done much with this aspect of my stories. I have some sections in there where it's mentioned but not very often. I think I did pretty well this last book with having a small mention of military without too much research, but I've heard enough.

Well done.

Harley D. Palmer Says :
April 29, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Genie - Yes, research can be boring, but you're right - often times I find that gem that makes me so excited that I found it!

Liz - I'm glad it could help!

Dawn - Not all of my stories require such a huge indepth type of research but even surface stuff is good - plus I'm the type to over research so that in the next book I don't have to research so much - I just write as I have already done it!

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