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Reply To: A worldbuilding believability issue

Forums Fiction Research and Worldbuilding A worldbuilding believability issue Reply To: A worldbuilding believability issue

#136992
Rose
@rose-colored-fancy

@obrian-of-the-surface-world


@joelle-stone

WHAT NO HOW DARE YOU THINK OF CUTTING THAT THAT’S ONE OF MY FAVORITE PARTS OF YOUR STORY NOOOO!!

Just for you, I’ll make every effort to make it work XD

Thank you both so much for your replies! Both helped a lot!

You both mentioned something very interesting I hadn’t considered:

As for the law, maybe the various tribes started enforcing it in their own tribe for the sake of their leaders’ brain cells, then over time there were so many tribes doing this that they decided to make it a law?

There could be a joint tribal council that has representatives from each family that could decree what consequences come from abusing the agreed-upon symbols and crests mutually protect their children and attributes guilt to family lines which are guilty of the specific abuse, so that each tribe self-polices it own, to avoid being shut out of the general counsel’s privileges and decision-making.  If one person is caught wearing the symbol identifiers of another tribe to cast suspicion and guilt for a crime on another family, for instance, if apprehended that person and his tribe could get consequences and censor.

I’ve previously established that each tribe is entirely independent in its legal system, and they generally don’t like each other.

There’s at least one scene where one of the leaders asks for help from the others concerning a threat, and their reply basically comes down to “Not our problem, sort it out.” So it’s established that they’re all independent and don’t interfere whenever possible.

So, I imagine it must save tremendous work, effort, administration, and trouble if you could visually identify any of the tribes, in case of an attack, a crime, or even something as petty as taxes. (Probably. Taxes are involved in most decisions. XD)

It’s a law that would save the leaders a lot of work, so that gives the tradition a very solid reason for existing. I imagine it was a lot of hassle when it was established in the first place, but I can just state that it happened long ago and by now it’s just a thing that nobody even thinks about.

Also, you both mentioned something else that I’d thought about, but not expanded upon:

Yeah yeah, I’m getting to this one out of order, but what if you had getting a kolye or birrin being like a coming of age thing? What if kids had to pass a test or two to prove that they were worthy of getting one? That could get really complex, but it’s an idea. *shrugs*

Pageantry doesn’t have to just serve one purpose.  It can become a rite of passage or a desired emblem of achievement, beyond what it originally started for.  Girls and boys could compete for particular tiaras or badges of distinction within their own tribes.

This is an excellent idea! I’d briefly thought about it and decided that there was probably something and then immediately forgot about it because it isn’t important to plot XD I do think it would probably be different for each tribe as they have different cultures and value different things.

Brian, you also mentioned something about it being more of an achievement than a permanent fixture of rank. I’ve actually thought about that part. Some tribes have way more social mobility than others, and in those, you can ‘earn’ higher ranks. Some people will even switch tribes because otherwise they’d be stuck in their own low rank forever.

Changing tribes is technically allowed but it’s frowned upon in most tribes and requires a lot of administrative nightmares.

Or, another option is actually not knowing. Seriously. Just have your characters think about one or two of the issues mentioned and have them not know why it’s done. This could add a layer of mystery and some more 3Dness to your world, if the idea went back far enough for that to happen. BUUUUT it could also be seen as a shortcut, soooo…

That is an entirely valid way to solve a worldbuilding problem XD I must admit, I use it once or twice, but I do like to know for myself. Also, some of my characters have fairly extensive knowledge of history and politics (Gav and Liorah, specifically. I do not have words to describe how much Liorah hated learning about things like that.) so they have above-average knowledge of these things and would probably vaguely know stuff like that. But I think most of my other characters would just say “Eh, who knows and who cares?” XD

I think pageantry tends to be something we can all relate to in the human race, for there is an internal need to display our significance and associations.  Keep in mind the way a tradition starts, does not necessarily mean it will stay true to the purposes of its original intentions.

That is also a very valid point. People like showing off their allegiances, so it would exist for the same reason that flags do.

And this would go double for the upper classes. People jump at any chance to show off superiority XD And it also functions as a pass into places that would ordinarily be inaccessible. I have at least one scene where my main character gets into places solely because people recognize her rank. (Also makes it tempting to impersonate a royal XD)

If one person is caught wearing the symbol identifiers of another tribe to cast suspicion and guilt for a crime on another family, for instance, if apprehended that person and his tribe could get consequences and censor.

I would imagine that if you didn’t wear any markers at all (to keep your identity a secret) you could get off with a slight fine or something of the like. I think that deliberately misusing it would get you a far worse punishment than if you were just wearing it for some personal reason without ill intent. (Do my characters ever wear the identifiers of other tribes to do stuff? NoO, of course no, my characters are law abiding citizens. *cough cough*) I’m just kinda thinking ‘out loud’. I think I can work this out a bit more.

Soo, coming back to the questions with the real answers!

Why was it established in the first place? There might have been frequent cases of mistaken identity or something of the like, but how could it possibly be enough to make an entire law and start enforcing it?

It was established to easily identify members of a tribe to make administration less of a headache and make it easier sort out what is whose responsibility when it comes to justice.

I think this law would have been established, or at least reinforced, after the tribes started living in closer proximity and trading more. (This would probably be about 70-something years before the actual book. I have a whole historical rigmarole but I’m not going to list all that here XD)

Speaking of law, who enforces this? Is there a punishment? It seems a rather petty thing to enforce.

I think the leaders would take the trouble to enforce it because it makes their work a lot easier. I imagine there are some light punishments, but I don’t think cases like that are frequent.

What practical use does it have? At the start of the novel, the tribes are mostly at peace with each other. There’s friction, but not enough to make it that important.

For the tribal element, aforementioned administration issues, for the rank element, people dearly love showing off and proving that they’re better than everyone else, for the marital status, well, we wear wedding rings, this is essentially a replacement of that. Many cultures throughout history had something similar.

Who thought this was a good idea in the first place? (Me, apparently, but I mean in story.)

As Liorah would describe it “Some idiot who is definitely dead by this time.” I think his name was probably lost to time. Some leader who thought it was clever. His actual identity is pretty much irrelevant.

Does it have any cultural significance? I couldn’t think of anything.

Probably some coming-of-age thing, and other than that, tradition.

 

Ehh, close enough! It’s enough information for my purposes!

 

I really really really hope you don’t decide to get rid of it (although if you do, let me know so I can steal the idea XDDDD)!! (Also, is there any chance I get to read your WIP? *puppy eyes*)

Ahaha! It’s staying! Success!

*Gives you a big hug* Of course! I’d love for you to read it! I still have some revisions to get through because it’s not readable in its current state.

I’m nearly nearly almost done with the first draft of the second book. (Like, SO close!)

And then I’m going to go back to rewriting book 1 entirely (The Big Revision where about 50% of the book is getting changed). So it might be a while yet *Sheepishly hides manuscript that’s entirely covered in scribbles of red ink with such cheerful notes as ‘UGH!’ and ‘MelODRama!’ and ‘Delete all of this’ and ‘Boo! Pick a plotline!’*

Then I want to go through it again and fix some scenes, then I’d love for you to read it!

Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

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