Creating Culture

Aspects of your race’s culture should get passing mention in dialog, settings, and scenes. We take some things for granted–but thought must go into things like art, food, sports, music, and entertainment, if you want the society your characters live in, to seem authentic.

I’m not the sort of writer that dedicates an entire chapter to a dinner party, just to show what goes on when the beings of my world eat a meal. Some writers can do this, but I come from a background of scripts, and comics, so it’s been difficult for me to refrain from info-dumping and telling-over-showing (the visual-artists’ way of bringing prose to life). Editors have dubbed me the Duchess of Info-Dumps and the Countess of Commas. I limit myself to bringing aspects of my species’ culture to dialog, or a quick paragraph (or two) within the narrative.

Here’s a menu from the series-bible (wiki) from Femarctic Culture:
(links are removed because the bible isn’t public)

Femarctic Culture encompasses a variety of societal, pod, and individual institutions and activities, that define the Femmar as an enlightened species.

Domestic Culture

  • Femarctic Finance
  • Femarctic Food and Drink
  • Femarctic Habitation
  • Square Gardens and Bluzsh`s
  • Caste-Centers, Bonding, and Pod Life
  • Toob and Brood Life (Orta)

Sports Culture

  • Vosk Palatial Fairgrounds
  • Isurus Relays
  • Ramaxian Podcrest League
  • Sno Endurance Trials

Popular and Social Culture

  • Bizak Entertainment Bureau
  • FILMARK, and the InterHive
  • Ramaxian Art, Literature, and Film
  • Femarctic Fashion
  • Prime Citizen Pageant
  • Pornography

As you can see, it’s extensive, but each of those subjects comes up in the series, in little doses.


Here’s an example of one of those pages in the bibles wiki (links to other pages have been removed because the wiki isn’t open to the public):

Ramaxian Podcrest League

Podcresting is a Femarctic contact sport played by two nine member pods {teams}, dressed in black and white uniforms, with specially marked symbols to designate team affiliation. Each pod glides over the ice in the same direction, around a a 800 meter track {the standard Ramaxian track has an inner radius 46 meters, and roughly 220 meter long straights}, located in the Vosk Palatial Fairgrounds.

As with all Femarctic sports, athletes are pooled from those Marix-caste citizens, cycled out of the Armed Forces.

[image removed]

Game play consists of a series of short match-ups {hunts} in which both pods designate a scoring player {carrier} to carry an elongated object (the kill), and score points by lapping members of the opposing team. A match-up begins when both carriers are ejected from ‘carrier-launch’ tubes. The carriers are airborne long enough to sail over the pods assembled on the ice, and must hit the ice at speeds of about 80 miles per hour. Specially trained athletes are chosen as carriers, based on their light weight, and deficient height. Once the carriers hit the ice, the pods charge over the ice and attempt to assist their own carrier, while hindering the opposing carrier —in effect playing both offense and defense simultaneously.

  • My culture’s most popular sport is ice-track roller-derby. 🙂

Only a carrier can call an end to a match by twirling her kill over her head so that the officials can see it; carriers can do this if they feel vulnerable to certain injury {if she’s skated too far from her pod and into the ranks of the opposing pod}, or a rival carrier has been ejected from the ring by force, or brought down onto the ice with her kill.

  • Humans in the series regard podcresting as the most violent sport played by females; to them it resembles killer whale pods in competition over a kill, because the elongated object carried in the game looks like a dead seal.

Podcresting is the most attended surface sport in Ramaxia, with 87% of the citizenry attending each game, despite live broadcasts of game play throughout the domes. Matches are carried out before boisterous crowds, and pounding music–all is silent however, in the moments before a carrier is launched–with the crowd roaring when their carrier hits the ice safely–without being killed or injured.

  • The info above is described in the narrative from the perspective of the character I’ve put in the audience.

The Podcresting season is forty-days long, beginning the second week of Yuli (April), and ending the final week Gurtat (May). As with other Ramaxian sports, game times are set around the work schedules of the Bizaki. Game night typically begin two hours after ‘day-fall’ beneath the domes, with one game a week, and consists of six matches between four teams.

  • Utama: Primaries (Owners – Clan Hibox – Tib Hibox)
  • Vanda: Megalodons (Owners – House Banto – Tee Banto)
  • Toxis: Koolasooks (Owners – Clan Wram – Lekada Wram)
  • Pikalit: Tharspinners (Owners – Line Ukel – Yugat Ukel)

The first month is three-match ups to determine the two best of the four teams (Winners), with a match held between the defeated teams for another chance to play (Finalist).  The second month of three-match ups forces the Winners to defend their standing from the Finalist–this is a grueling month for the Finalists, because they must endure back to batch matches against the Winners, in order to obtain a chance to make the Seasonal Final.

  • Only a fraction of this info will actually be in the series–but I wrote it because world-building is developing your story, even if every detail in your make-up, won’t be in the final manuscript.


There you have it – a little of culture.


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