Creating a Culture

When you're writing fantasy, science-fiction and spec-fic, you frequently have to create new cultures.  World building isn't easy, and we all have our different ways of doing it. One way to create something new is to adapt something that already exists. 

Take Brighton's Burning the Clocks.  In reality, it's to mark the coming of longer days and the end of winter.  The lanterns are paraded through town, taken to the beach, and burnt.  Goodbye winter, hello spring! It was brilliant! There were drummers and dancers and lots of fire! Sorry for the lack of fire photos.  When they burn the clocks on the beach, the crowd is kept at a safe distance.  And the fireworks that marked the start and end of the burning were amazing! WOW! Possibly the best display I've ever been to!

But, how else could you use the following images to inspire a different culture?

I know I've got my ideas ;)

Also, have you ever noticed how beautiful things are at night?

Hmmm, how could the Brighton Wheel inspire a new culture? Is it light fighting back the dark? Is it a signal? Is it some kind of protection against creatures of the night? Oooh, the possibilities are endless!

Once you've created a culture, you've got to add in lots of details to make it leap off the page and feel real.  I'm going back over my manuscript and adding details here and there.  Think of your favourite fantasy or sci-fi stories and remind yourself what details really bring the world to life.

And on that note, may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! As Sunday is Christmas Day and Monday is Boxing Day, I shall see you all next Wednesday... which also happens to be my twenty-next birthday!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend :)

Allow me to play you out...

Oh, Youtube vidders.  You are a crazy bunch.


  1. Excellent observation, Cole. Even beyond fantasy, if you're writing historical fiction, or even contemporary fiction, it's good to bear in mind the culture within which your story takes place. Not everyone reading your story may be familiar with its setting. Noting things of cultural interest, or even incorporating aspects of cultural tradition can help breathe life into your story.

    Merry Christmas to you too!

  2. That's a good technique. I know, when world building, I always look to Harry Potter. She fleshed that whole world out so brilliantly. My goal is to create a world half that real.

  3. Things are sooo beautiful at night.

  4. I really love these photographs you post. Every time I look at one it's already sparking ideas. I'm going to have to flick through my photo albums and see what I've collected over the years that will help with world building.

    Brighton looks beautiful at night, especially with that event happening. Wish I lived near the seaside.

  5. Love the idea of things being beautiful in the night. That's so true! And I love your lantern photos. Reminds me of Tangled. :)


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