Worldbuilding Series: Rules and Laws
Click here to read the first in our series: The World and Maps
Click here to read the second in our series: Populating the World
Click here to read the third in our series: Cultures and Languages
Click here to read the fourth in our series: History
Everything must come at a price, and characters learn that the hard way in our novels.
Rules and laws not only dictate our characters' world but also can create conflict for our characters. Often times in fantasy, there are supreme rulers of a land that create such rules. Magic is often ruled by laws and guidelines. Governmental rules often play a large part in dystopians.
But what kind of rules should you consider when creating your world?
It depends on the novel. Lots of fantasies have magic. Who has magical abilities? Are there rules and laws against using it or not? For example, in Harry Potter, underage wizards can't use magic while not in school. This creates quite a mess for Harry who often needs his magic at all times. A bit closer to home, my The Phoenix Prophetess novel has a rule about who has magical abilities. Only those of royal descent have magical powers, and those powers only manifest themselves when they turn eighteen years of age. You should see how that affects my main character.
When creating rules and laws, I often like to think what will make my character's life even harder than it is now. Think of your own rules around the house, your state, your country and how they affect your every day life. For example, there is a law against speeding. Just think of the consequences of what might can happen if you go against that law and get caught. Using ordinary rules can be modified for something extraordinary. What if your characters ride broomsticks to travel, but can't do it between sunrise and sunset? And sunrise is only a few minutes away. Chaos and conflict will ensue, and stories thrive on conflict.
Have you created any rules or laws to govern your characters?
And, folks, this is the end of the Worldbuilding Series. I hope you enjoyed it and perhaps learned something new.