Pixar’s 22 rules to phenomenal storytelling (click in the pictures to zoom)
just-the-fics-maam’s tips for getting unstuck with your writing.
These ideas have helped me when I have gotten stuck. I hope they help you, too!
I like to have white or ambient noise playing while I study, so I thought I’d share a list of my favourite websites in case anyone else was interested.
- Rainymood - Allows you to play rain, with suggestions of ambient music to play at the same time. Has an iOS and Android app, my personal favourite.
- Calm - A visually beautiful website. Provides moving backgrounds and an option for guided calm which allows you to immerse yourself in the music and to relax. Has a free app for iPhone. Another one of my favourites.
- Showertime - The experience of taking a shower without the water. Allows you to control features such as length of shower, size of room, water pressure, etc.
- Coffitivity - The background noise of a coffee shop. Allows you to choose between different locations such as lunchtime lounge, morning murmur etc. Has an app for iOS and Android as well as a desktop app for OS X.
- Soundrown - A website with a sleek minimalist design, allows you to choose between rain, coffee shop, ocean, fire, bird noises, or a combination of the five.
- Relaxing Snow - Visually beautiful falling snow, the website gives you the opinion to play music with the scenery, or to choose your own.
- Raining.Fm - This website gives you the ability to adjust the rain to exactly how you’d like it, with options to tweak thunder, rain and storm noises. Has an app for iOS and Android, as well as a timer and snooze option.
- Rain For Me - Simple rain effects with the option to download the audio files for offline listening.
- Snowy Mood - Inspired by Rainy Mood, this website really makes you feel like it’s winter. Perfect for playing while snuggled up in a warm bed.
- Rainy Cafe - Combines the sounds of a bustling cafe setting with the sounds of drizzling rain. Allows you to select the volume of each setting, or turn one off completely.
MALEFICENT MAKES A MASTERLIST: MAGIC RESOURCES.
Magical Powers (i.g. Superpowers, mutations, etc.)
Magical Spells, Charms, and Curses
- Ultimate Magic Spells
- List of Spells in Harry Potter
- Encyclopedia of Spells in Harry Potter
- List of Magical Spells and Charms
- List of Magical Charms
- List of Fablehavens Magical Creatures
- Magical Creatures and Beings
- List of Legendary Creatures
- Mythical Creatures Guide
- The Phoenixian Book of Creatures
- Mythical Creatures and Beasts
My personal favorites, magical/fantasy generators.
- Fantasy Name Generator
- Seventh Sanctum
- Rink Works
- Fantasy Name Gen
- Serendipity Fantasy Name Generator
Remember, though, always try to be as creative as possible and try to create your own names for things! Latin is commonly used and twisted to create different names for places, spells, and more. Here are a few sites to get the juices flowing.
Say a group of people all go to a theme park together.
Extroverted Sensing (Se) is busy noticing all the details of the park and the people in it. Sights. Sounds. Colors. Oh, cool. That ride flips upside down! I’m going to try that. Do you smell those hotdogs? Aren’t they great? I think we ought to go bungee jumping… it’s only $50 for a group of $12! Which way is the Tower of Terror? I’m going to ride down it and watch all you sissies wet your pants when it drops 50 feet in 12 seconds!
Extroverted Intuition (Ne) sees the possibilities of the park. Look at those two people. You can tell they’re not “together” anymore, but just hanging out for the kid’s sake. See their body language? How many rides are in this park? Do you think anyone ever died here? I think they should put a new ride in this space. Call it the Haunted House of Horrors, and have Dead Presidents in it. You know, they could put up an entire haunted SECTION of the park. That would be awesome. Who do I call to pitch that idea? Stay away from the guy in the red hat. He gives me vibes. Ooh, you know, I could write a story about a murder in a theme park! He could die because the Tilt a Whirl malfunctioned. No, no, because the Tower of Terror ride didn’t stop, it crashed the elevator to the bottom floor! His sister did it. No, his uncle! No, the theme park guy, because he’s freakin’ insane.
Extroverted Thinking (Te) is busy organizing others and coming up with “battle plans.” Which direction do we go first? Give me the park map. Okay, where do we want to be by noon? When and where do we meet for lunch? Who is in charge of watching the kid? Which rides do what? When is the bus leaving? What do we have time for? How long are the lines? Okay, everyone who wants to go on these twelve rides, line up to the left! Everyone else to the right! We meet back here at 7pm! No stragglers! Does everyone have their phone on? Good!
Extroverted Feeling (Fe) makes sure everyone feels involved and has their needs met. Does everyone have a buddy? Nobody should be alone! Let’s go to the bathroom first, okay? How do we feel about hamburgers for lunch? Is that okay? Let’s meet over there, shall we? Does everyone know the plan, so no one is left behind? Let’s take a vote on which direction to go first! Fe will go on a ride it doesn’t like so a friend doesn’t have to do it alone.
Introverted Sensing (Si) relates everything around them to past experience. Last time I was here, I threw up on that ride; I’m not going on it again. Oh, hey, that’s the bench I sat on when so-and-so kissed me! Oh, good, the line is shorter this year. Why does this slushie taste different? I think they put less cherry cola in it than before! I feel ripped off. OR… I’ve never been to a theme park before, but that Ferris wheel reminds me of that scene in The Notebook, when Noah won’t take no for an answer, until Allie agrees to go on a date with him…
Introverted Intuition (Ni) knows what will happen before it happens. I’m going to take a step back, because that kid is going to spill his slushie all over – yup, there it goes. I know which ride I want to go on. I’ve thought about it all week. I’m going to have an awesome time on that ride. I’m going there first. Wait, there are other rides? I didn’t even notice! I was busy fixating on getting to the head of the line! Ha, Marsha better not go on that thing, she’ll hurl—yep, there she goes.
Introverted Thinking (Ti) is busy analyzing how the rides work and what makes the most sense. If I go this way, the path winds around past what I want to see, and by the time we’re to meet up, I’ll have been all the way around the park. I won’t have to walk back, or rush from one side of the park to the other. Wait, why are they all walking in the opposite direction? Don’t they know this is the logical way to do it? If you go that way, you’ll engage in needless walking and won’t be able to get through the line in front of the House of Mirrors.
Introverted Feeling (Fi) decides which direction to go based on what is important to them. I’m going on this ride. No, it’s okay, I can go by myself. I don’t need you to come along unless you want to. I’m serious. I’m not afraid to do it alone. I’m not feeling the burgers, either. You all go ahead. I’m going to dash over to that taco stand. Nope, not going on that ride. You can beg all you want, I won’t do it. I’m scared of heights. Not a chance, bud. Drop it.
THAT FIRST SITE IS EVERY WRITER’S DREAM DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES I’VE TRIED WRITING SOMETHING AND THOUGHT GOD DAMN IS THERE A SPECIFIC WORD FOR WHAT I’M USING TWO SENTENCES TO DESCRIBE AND JUST GETTING A BUNCH OF SHIT GOOGLE RESULTS
A ‘Ring of Fire’ solar eclipse is a rare phenomenon that occurs when the moon’s orbit is at its apogee: the part of its orbit farthest away from the Earth. Because the moon is so far away, it seems smaller than normal to the human eye. The result is that the moon doesn’t entirely block out our view of the sun, but leaves an “annulus,” or ring of sunlight glowing around it. Hence the term “annular” eclipse rather than a “total” eclipse.
Hello, I do have tips, but I also have questions about your question.
Characters, how old are they? how old were when they started to live alone in the wilderness or in solitary confinement?
Time, what does long time means for you? months? years?
I ask those questions because we, humans, are social animals. We need others not only to get basics needs, but also to keep our personal identity. Since our birth we are in contact with other people from different backgrounds, socioeconomic status, personalities, age, cultures, among others. Sociology and psychology have theorized about this, since we grow and live in societies in two different ways, social and personal (not mutually exclusive), as a result we develop a social identity and an individual identity.
This is a lot of information, I’ll try to be as clear and organized as possible.
Stages of Socialization
Here is a paper to help you understand this better: Socialization
Theory of Psychosocial Development
- Stage 1: Trust vs Mistrust
- Stage 2: Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt
- Stage 3: Initiative vs Guilt
- Stage 4: Industry vs Inferiority
- Stage 5: Identity vs Confusion
- Stage 6: Intimacy vs Isolation
- Stage 7: Generativity vs Stagnation
- Stage 8: Integrity vs Despair
This theory is from Erik Erikson, here’s a link: Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development
- Sensorimotor Stage
- Preoperational Stage
- Concrete Operational Stage
- Formal Operational Stage
This is from Jean Piaget: Piaget’s Stages
Theory of Moral Development
- Level 1 Preconventional Morality: Stage 1 - Obedience and Punishment. Stage 2 - Individualism and Exchange
- Level 2 Conventional Morality: Stage 3 - Interpersonal Relationships. Stage 4 - Maintaining Social Order
- Level 3 Postconventional Morality: Stage 5 - Contract and Individual Rights. Stage 6 - Universal Principles
This theory is from Lawrence Kohlberg: Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development
Why do you need to know this? Because if your characters are alone in the wilderness or in solitary confinement since a young age and for a long time, all those stages will be affected.
Here are some examples
Living in the Wilderness
After you’ve got the age of your characters, you need a purpose, especially if they’re teenagers or adults. Sometimes it can be discomfort with society, sometimes because they want to live alone, sometimes for spiritual fulfillment, sometimes because circumstances made it possible. You have to consider their resources and what they know about nature, if they carry something with them or have to figure it out how to live with things nature provides. And the place where they want to live is important as well, are your characters prepared for the wheater? are they going to live in a rainforest, somewhere near a beach, near a river, a mountain, desert? Something else, can they live there? who owns the land they want to live in, the government, is it a national park, native land? What happens with their houses, family, taxes, etc?
Is it Legal to Live in the Wilderness (doesn’t give any answer to the question but there are a lot of experiences)
The Walden Effect: Tracing the Myth of the Man Alone in the Wilderness (this one brings the question of why there are more men than women willing to live in the wilderness, the answer is very vague, if you can bring up an answer or some hit in your story give it a try)
Realities of Going Primitive (careful with the terms primitive, native, “Indian”, and civilization)
Unlike living alone in the wilderness, solitary confinement goes against the person’s will. This is related to imprisonment, kidnapping and war crimes, is also meant to inflict some kind of damage in the person’s mental and physical health.
Taking the Solitary Confinement Debate Out of Isolation (this one is about prisoners with mental illness in solitary confinement)
The following links are about children and youth in solitary confinement
As said before, humans are social animals, our identity is made, among other things, by our experiences, memories, and our surroundings. I’m not this, I am that, I like this, I dislike that. The way we see ourselves is part conditioned by our relationships with our environment. So, what happens when there’s no one around to valide us, to makes us believe that we are what we think we are or what we aren’t?
Solitary Confinement doesn’t involve just your interactions with other people, but also involves your brain and external stimulus. As long as there are things for your brain to keep it working it will work.
Always remember context, especially for solitary confinement. Why there are people being imprisoned? And why solitary confinement is being used.
The age of your character is one of the most important things when they were imprisoned or decided to live in the wilderness, or were left abandoned, or escaped, or got lost.
If they were imprisoned, what was the reason? why are they still in solitary confinement? Show us the process they’ve been through (you will need more research), are they still the same? if they are free now, how do they live? where do they live? how do they react to sensory stimulus? Is it a prison or another
If they’ve been living in the wilderness, how do they live? why they left their homes? is someone looking for them? Do they still have some kind of contact with people?
There’s still the debate about nature/nurture. Are we a product of our genes and our environment or does one of them has more impact in our life? The way we are is because the way we were raised or because we have that written in our genes? When writing characters living in the wilderness for a long time and since their youngest youth you can explore this in your story.
I think I forgot Freud and his theory of development. But I think you got the general idea of the things you have to keep in mind.
Hope this can help you.
This is actually a really great response that touches on a lot of issues most people don’t consider about “living in the wild”. And like L. says, it is crucial to answer those first questions about age/length of time spent in isolation, especially because of the aforementioned socialisation and psychological issues. L. has done a wonderful job of summing up a bunch of really key points.
What I need to mention is that it takes a VERY specific sort of person to be able to psychologically handle that level of social isolation that living in the wilderness requires. A modern person would obviously have a significantly harder time adapting to life in that sort of environment far more than, let’s say, the first European explorers of North America, and especially harder time than an Aboriginal person on any continent (again, centuries back). If you notice, a lot of these famous men who took off, never came back and there is a lot of contention about their states of mind even prior to setting off. (I think we’ve all seen Into The Wild…) And what’s more, you have to seriously consider if these people are able to cope with the severe psychological strain of such isolation. It’s no easy task and it’s why often you hear of these solo escapists “going crazy”. (Malnourishment/diet can also impact this significantly.) So, if your character(s) have just been thrust into an unforgiving wilderness (and ALL wilderness is unforgiving, especially to the unprepared) from relative socialisation and comfort, they will suffer. Even if they have chosen to leave society. [Ofc, there are a handful of extraordinarily rare exceptions.]
A quick way to see this in action is Ed Wardle. He aimed to spend just 90 days alone in the Canadian wilderness and film it all for NatGeo/Channel4. Much like Survivorman, Les Stroud — but with none of the expertise. He lasted 50 days before calling for help. The show is called “Alone In The Wild” and you can watch the whole series on Youtube. This is an “average Joe”, not one of these survivalist experts (Les Stroud, Bear Gryllis, etc. Who, btw, all have TV shows that can give you a good indication of all the challenges faced by someone in the wilderness). I’d say he’s a bit more than average as he’s scaled Everest… But it’s an example of a “normal” person being dropped into nowhere (in the summer thankfully) and having to survive completely alone. The reason I suggest this series is because of the exploration it does on how extreme isolation and survival stress break a person psychologically. By the concluding episode you see first hand what it looks like — and this was a man who chose to go into the woods. They key here is “alone”. If you are with even one other person, it can mitigate this substantially. But most people do not understand how devastating social isolation actually is (especially when coupled with malnutrition, fear/stress (prolonged high cortisol levels can be incredibly damaging physically and emotionally), exhaustion, etc.) [I tried to find a few easy-to-read layman’s articles for you. I generally would have directed people towards peer-reviewed scientific journals. If you’re into thesis papers (and are aware of the caveats of using such) here is one regarding high cortisol/stress.] Things such as hearing a human voice, piece of rubbish, or seeing a photograph become incredibly devastating/desirable.
So whether you character has grown up “feral” or has been dropped into the environment by force or by choice as an adult (or teenager even), will make a HUGE difference on their coping mechanisms and psychological/social development. To see how a grown man could react to the “by force or by choice” option of wilderness isolation, Ed Wardle can give you a glimpse — with side effects being depression, paranoia, scattered thinking, hallucinations, etc. exacerbated by harsh living conditions and malnourishment. Importantly, he had an escape plan. He could radio for help and it would be there. I would guess your characters don’t have this luxury. It’s a very affecting episode if you understand the psychology going on. And there used to be additional videos available that detailed his psychological issues. I mean, you do have to take anything on TV with a grain of salt, but it’s an okay starting point. If you combine it with research into other wilderness survival/Walden-esque stories, you can get a decent idea. (Don’t pay attention to Thoreau, lol. It’s a beautiful book and definitely good for appreciating nature, but it’s fiction.)
So, basically, my long belaboured point is that in addition to all the developmental aspects of social isolation, there are the near-immediate psychological consequences also that can start to come up as early as one week, and most likely will begin to manifest after a month. Stress levels and food can impact it significantly. So, you need a very special person (of this modern age) to be able to have survived for a significant time alone in the wild not only for the highly-developed expertise required (what food to eat, how to hunt, how to build shelter, how to deal with health issues, SO MANY other issues that we think are “easy” or take for granted), but for the psychological aspect as well. Not just anyone could have survive for a long period of time. And someone who has now adjusted to a solitary life in the wilderness over a significant period of time (years) will likely no longer be socialised the same way as a “regular” member of society, regardless of whether they have been in the past or not.
There are many legal issues to worry about as well, especially if you are not a member of an indigenous group. (ie. relating to trespass, land use, hunting/poaching, etc.) All land is “owned” by someone now.
I knew I was forgetting something when I answered this!!!
Thank you for pointing this out, it’s actually very important.
Guys, check what avialaeandapidae has said.
So often setting is overlooked by writers, when in fact it’s a wonderful colour to add to your storytelling palette.
Environment shapes character, informs plot and adds mood to your story. From the moral and religious background of your characters, to changing morals and weather, all of these form a crucible to forge out your narrative.
Here are three ways to use setting in your novel.
How does extreme situations effect the human body? Well…
- SLEEP DEPRIVATION:
Although I don’t think anyone has been discovered to die from lack of sleep alone, an experiment conducted in 1999 at the University of Chicago found that their test subject rats began dying consistently after two weeks of not allowing the animals any sleep.
- ABSORBING RADIATION:
According to Peter Caracappa, a nuclear engineer and radiation safety specialist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, exposure to 5 and 6 Sieverts (Sv) within the span of a few minutes will destroy too many cells for your body to fix.
- BODY HEAT:
Heatstroke can no longer be reversed once a human’s core body temperature reaches around 107.6 F and will become fatal.
- COLD WATER:
A human can only survive for around 30 minutes submerged in water that was 40 F.
- HOT AIR:
In certain situations adults may survive about 10 minutes at around 300 F , while children may begin to die at around 120 F.
- HIGH ALTITUDE
For most people, this is around 15,000 feet, but some people who have spent most of their lives living in higher altitude have developed bigger, stronger lungs and may be able to go higher.
Once about 30% of body weight is lost, sorry, but you’re going to die rather quickly. This usually happens at around the 45 day mark of not eating, although disease will usually claim its victim before before starvation does.
- DEEP DIVING
When diving without professional diving equipment, most people will black out within a minute after going deeper than 60 feet. However a diver with professional equipment was once able to reach 282 feet before passing out.
- OXYGEN DEPRIVATION
For the average Joe, passing out will occur around two minutes without oxygen. However, with extensive training, some people can learn to go for almost eleven minutes without oxygen before passing out.
- BLOOD LOSS
After losing 40% of your blood, you would need to receive an immediate blood transfusion or death would occur.
Without replacing the water your body needs, death would occur in just about a week.
FIRST OF ALL, THE BASICS.
- What is NaNoWriMo? NaNoWriMo - or National Novel Writing Month - is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. (x)
- Why should I participate in NaNoWriMo? First and foremost because it’s fun! Maybe you’ve considered writing a novel in the past, but have never gotten around to it, or perhaps you have a fantastic idea or a great character but aren’t quite sure what to do with them. Here’s your chance! Grab it with both hands and hold on tight because this writing ride is a whirlwind.
- During October and November the official forums come alive with thousands of writers brimming with amazing thoughts and insights, and there is a real sense of creative community. What better chance would you have to vent and brainstorm and cultivate your collection of ideas?
- NaNoWriMo values enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, and is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel. (x)
So you’ve decided you’re going to do it — you’re going to participate, you’re going to try your very best to write those 50,000 words… what next? How do you prepare for such a challenge? Well, here are some handy tips and links to guide you on your way:
INSPIRATION & BRAINSTORMING.
- Every novel begins with an idea, even something as simple as a single word. Try jotting down a few. Soon you’ll start to notice common reoccurrences in the types of words you choose.
- Peruse places like Tumblr, DeviantArt and Pinterest. Find things that catch your eye and save them.
- Go out into the world, or lose yourself in a fictional one. Take notice of details, quirks, everything that’s layered together to create a rich environment. Pull inspiration from what you see or read and translate it into something all your own.
- Suzanne Collins was switching back and forth between Survivor and the news when she thought of the Hunger Games, J.K Rowling was on a train when Harry Potter and his story wandered into her head — it’s amazing how inspiration can just pop out of nowhere when given the chance. Let yourself daydream, and ponder and research to your heart’s content.
- Get a large piece of paper and pretend like you’re in grade five all over again — write your number 1 idea in the center and branch off from it with other thoughts, plot points, characters, details et cetera.
- Alternatively you could buy a bunch of post-it notes in varying colours and clear a space where you can stick them. Assign a colour for each of the following: plot points, characters, relationships, details, conflicts, resolutions. You could also use coloured card or plain paper + coloured pens/pencils.
- Spend a day or two focusing solely on your main character. Get to know them. Ask yourself how they would react to certain situations, what they like, what they dislike, why they do or don’t. Give them flaws, quirks, a layered personality.
Here are some handy links that may also help:
SETTLING ON AN IDEA.
Say you’ve just spent ages following the advice above, but now you’ve found yourself with more than one great idea, how do you choose? Ask yourself:
- What sparks the most excitement?
- What interests you more?
- If both your ideas were turned into fully fleshed out novels and you saw them on a shelf in a store, which would you be more likely to want to read?
- Which one would you be the most upset about not getting the chance to write?
There is no one single, set way to outline your novel. It’s also important to remember that planning is not for everyone; some people like to fly by the seat of their pants and simply go with whatever happens and that’s perfectly okay. But without at least a very basic outline, particularly during NaNoWriMo, you may find yourself incredibly stuck and unsure about a). what happens next or b). how to write yourself out of the situation you’ve found yourself in, which could lead to you falling behind or missing days’ worth of valuable writing time while you try and figure out what to do. How do I go about outlining, you ask? Here are some great links that will help you do so with ease:
- How Do You Plan a Novel?
- How to Create a Plot Outline in Eight Easy Steps
- Outline Your Novel In 30 Minutes
- Preparing to Write A Novel
- Basic Checklist for Your Story
- NaNo Tips & Strategies
RESEARCHING & DETAILS.
So you’ve thought of your idea, you created your characters and have an outline. But you’re writing a novel about elves in a mystical place that doesn’t even exist, or a futuristic world where supernatural creatures and technology have taken over, or perhaps something entirely in the past, and you have no idea how to make it all believable. The NaNoWriMo forums are a fanastic place for your genre and detail needs:
- Reference Desk — researching facts, figures, real world experiences and details.
- Applelation Station — for naming needs
- Character Cafe — for character developement
- Plot Doctoring
- Genre Lounges — for your specific genre needs
If there isn’t already a thread that pertains to your specific needs don’t be afraid to make one! You should definitely also:
- Go to the library and source books that contain the knowledge you need. Don’t be afraid to ask a librarian for their help.
- Use Google, which seems like a rather simple answer but there is so much information out there just waiting to be found.
- Write down the facts that you discover and need and be sure to jot down how they are relevant to your novel.
Your novel is one thing, you are another (though certainly the two get tangled together).
- Look at what you have planned during November and figure out which days you might find it difficult to find free time due to prior commitments and find a place to slot writing in, even if it means you end up writing during breakfast.
- Become acquainted with the official forums and spend some time in the nanowrimo tag here on Tumblr. Get to know your fellow writers!
- Find someone (preferably someone also participating in NaNoWriMo) who you can rant to, share ideas with; someone who you can ask to check in on you and see how you’re going with your writing goal of the day and vice versa.
THINGS TO REMEMBER DURING NANOWRIMO.
- Avoid the temptation of going back and re-reading and editing your work, this is supposed to be a first draft and first drafts are unavoidably messy.
- Take care of yourself. Try and eat properly, get some exercise (during NaNoWriMo that walk to the fridge for writer’s fuel totally counts), hang out with your friends and family, enjoy life.
- Remember that NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun, don’t pressure yourself too much.
- If you’re having trouble reaching the daily word count goal, split it into chunks: write 500 words here, 500 there, another 667 at another point in the day.
- If you find yourself running out of motivation here are some great (if I do say so myself) tips.
- Read some inspirational quotes to keep you going (or get you started).
A PRE-NANO CHALLENGE.
If you’re not too busy getting inspired, brainstorming, planning or any of that good stuff why not give Inktype’s NaNoWriMo preparation challenge a go?
A study in creating great characters, by Aaron Ehasz (head writer of Avatar the Last Airbender). A lot of animation lead characters are forced to fit the far right criteria, but think of the many classic characters that are better described by the left: Tony Soprano, Frank Underwood, Jamie Lannister, Walter White, etc.
I was an Anthropology major in college, so I did spend some time learning about religion. In my last novel, The Serenity Compound, I did touch upon religious elements, so I did have to do some research regarding that. You might be using religion for in an endless number of ways in your story, so first it helps to figure out why people practice religion.
Here are three general reasons why religion has always been so important in our world:
Religion is often used to influence someone’s thinking. We all know that for a VERY long time, religion has been used to control and manipulate people’s actions. Religion usually sets the standard for how people should treat each other and there are rules associated with each religion.
Religion has also been used to explain the world. Myths and legends, for example, have often explained why certain things happen and they offer an explanation. Before certain scientific revelations, religion was used to explain the unknown. There are a lot of things we don’t understand, like why we’re here for example, so people still use religion to figure out their purpose.
Finally, people turn to religion in order to find answers for emotional struggle. When someone dies, we want to believe they’ve moved on to something better. We want to believe that there’s an afterlife or a purpose for suffering. Religion offers hope for some people.
These aren’t the only reasons why people turn to religion, but they are very common reasons that you should think about before you incorporate religion into your world. Think about why your characters might be religious or why they would turn away from it.
What to focus on:
Laws, Rules, Sacred Text, etc.
It helps to figure out what your religion is going to be about. What are the laws? What do followers need to do to be part of this religion? Are there any accompanying sacred text, like a bible? Religion is part of world building so take some time to figure it all out.
This also can involve any prayers or songs that go along with your religion. What are some of the rituals that go along with your religion? Almost every religion has rituals, so figure out what they are.
How long has this religion been around for? What’s the history surrounding it? Some religions are newer than others, so that could be part of your story. Most religions have a lot of history.
Where Do Followers Worship?
In order to make your religion feel more real and part of your world, consider where your followers worship. Not all religions have places a worship, but that’s something you should decide for your own fictional religion. Make them part of the atmosphere and make them feel real. Decide if it’s going to be something extravagant or maybe a bit more low-key. It’s up to you and your story.
There are a lot of things to consider when building your own religion, but try to stick to some guidelines. Obviously, I haven’t covered everything about religion and there are plenty of other reasons why people might believe in higher powers, so explore your own feelings regarding these issues. If you’re including an existing religion, make sure you do your research and really understand what you’re writing about.