Currently viewing the tag: "world building"

Medieval cuisine includes foods, eating habits, and cooking methods of various European cultures during the Middle Ages, which lasted from the fifth to the fifteenth century. During this period, diets and cooking changed less than they did in early modern period that followed, when those changes helped lay the foundations for modern European cuisine. Cereals remained the most important staple during the early Middle Ages as rice was introduced late, and the potato was only introduced in 1536, with a much later date for widespread consumption. Barley, oat and rye were among the poor. Wheat was for the governing classes. Those were consumed as bread, porridge, gruel and pasta by all of society’s members. Fava beans and vegetables were important supplements to the cereal-based diet of the lower orders. (Phaseolus beans, today the “common bean”, were of New World origin and were introduced after the Columbian Exchange in the 16th century.)

Meat was more expensive and therefore more prestigious. Game, a form of meat acquired from hunting, was common only on the nobility’s tables. The most prevalent butcher’s meats were pork, chicken and other domestic fowl; beef, which required greater investment in land, was less common. Cod and herring were mainstays among the northern populations; dried, smoked or salted they made their way far inland, but a wide variety of other saltwater and freshwater fish was also eaten.

Slow transportation and food preservation techniques (based on drying, salting, smoking and pickling) made long-distance trade of many foods very expensive. Because of this, the nobility food was more prone to foreign influence than the cuisine of the poor; it was dependent on exotic spices and expensive imports. As each level of society imitated the one above it, innovations from international trade and foreign wars from the 12th century onwards gradually disseminated through the upper middle class of medieval cities. Aside from economic unavailability of luxuries such as spices, decrees outlawed consumption of certain foods among certain social classes and sumptuary laws limited conspicuous consumption among the nouveaux riches. Social norms also dictated that the food of the working class be less refined, since it was believed there was a natural resemblance between one’s labour and one’s food; manual labour required coarser, cheaper food. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write about the cuisine in your world and how it differs between different social and cultural groups. 

Journaling Prompt: Write about your family of origin’s cuisine.

Art Prompt: Medieval cuisine

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about medieval culture.

wed order of the garter

Various legends account for the origin of the Order [of the Garter]. The most popular legend involves the “Countess of Salisbury” (either Edward’s future daughter-in-law Joan of Kent or her former mother-in-law, Catherine Montacute, Countess of Salisbury). While she was dancing at a court ball at Calais, her garter is said to have slipped from her leg. When the surrounding courtiers sniggered, the king picked it up and returned it to her, exclaiming, “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (“Shame on him who thinks evil of it.”), the phrase that has become the motto of the Order. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Create an order for your world. Include a back story, a motto, and an insignia.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about orders and clubs? Do you belong to any? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: The Order of the Garter

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about an organization that you belong to and how it was formed.

Photo Credit: dun_deagh on Flickr

Among American Indians a young man got his eye on a girl and he would make a reed flute and compose a melody. And when she came down to get a pail of water at the brook, he would hide in the weeds and play her his tune. If she liked it, she followed and saw where things led… it was her special tune. –The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature by Daniel J. Levitin

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene that reveals your world’s mating ritual.

Journaling Prompt: What modern day mating rituals have you participated in?

Art Prompt: Mating ritual

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a humorous story about a time you engaged in a mating rituat.

Photo Credit: Paul K on Flickr

Welcome to the Carnival of Creativity for May 6, 2012. All links will open in a new tab or window, so feel free to click through and leave some love in the comments. Once you close that window, you’ll be right back here for more linky goodness.

Responses to Writing Reader Prompts

Melanie Marttila presents Why Spoilers are Good for Writers posted at Writerly Goodness. Written in response to Prompt #134 Spoilers.

The Creative Mindset

Angela Ackerman presents The Positive Side of Rejection posted at Live, Write, Thrive.


Jason Boog presents YouTube Time Machine for Book Research posted at Media Bistro.

Sharing Our Work

Eula McLeod presents Chickens Live Longer posted at View from the Winepress.

Liz Shaw presents I Talk, It Types posted at Liz Andra Shaw.

Writing Quote of the Week

Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. – Paul Engle

Writing Tips and Prompts

Chrys Fey presents Movies as Writing Inspiration posted at Write with Fey.

Amber Lee Starfire presents A Week’s Worth of Journaling Prompts: Uncertainty posted at Writing Through Life.

Jennifer Derrick presents Journaling for a Frugal, More Productive Life posted at Saving Advice.

Michael presents Wedding Thank You Note Etiquette posted at Thank You Notes.

Spam of the Week

The wiring is different, so that would have to be changed too, along with a different relay, tho not sure about the relay.. . The wiring is part of a larger harness, so I doubt they could install it after it’s made.

That’s all for this week. Be sure to submit your article for next week’s Carnival of Creativity by Friday at midnight!

Prison Planet

This quote is almost prescient, isn’t it?

The best doctrine may become the worst, if imperfectly understood, erroneously interpreted, or superstitiously followed. -Anna Harriette Leonowens, “Memoirs of an English Governess at the Siamese Court – (The King and I)” [Illustrated]

Writing Prompt: Create a world where a good doctrine has gone bad.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a doctrine that you think was originally good but has been stretched by extremistes.

Art Prompt: Mind Control

Photo Credit: AZRainman on Flickr

Neighbour's Kids

I grew up in a small town in Michigan where there were no fences between houses. Now, I live in the Phoenix area, where everyone has a 5 foot high block privacy fence separating them from their neighbors. It was interesting to read this new study.

A new study from the University of Missouri shows that increasing trust in neighbors is associated with better self-reported health.

“I examined the idea of ‘relative position,’ or where one fits into the income distribution in their local community, as it applies to both trust of neighbors and self-rated health,” said Eileen Bjornstrom, an assistant professor of sociology in the MU College of Arts and Science. “Because human beings engage in interpersonal comparisons in order to gauge individual characteristics, it has been suggested that a low relative position, or feeling that you are below another person financially, leads to stress and negative emotions such as shame, hostility and distrust, and that health suffers as a consequence. While most people aren’t aware of how trust impacts them, results indicated that trust was a factor in a person’s overall health.”

“I was surprised about the direction in which relative position was linked to distrust. If affluent individuals are less likely to trust their poorer neighbors, it could be beneficial to attempt to overcome some of the distrust that leads to poor health,” Bjornstrom said. “It is possible that shared community resources that promote interaction, such as sidewalks and parks, could help bridge the neighborhood trust gap, and also promote health and well-being. Residents of all economic statuses might then benefit if community cohesion was increased. Additional research can address those questions.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Create a community in your world and write about how the trust/distrust of the inhabitants relates to their health.

Journaling Prompt: How is your community laid out? Does the design of your community affect your relationship with your neighbors? 

Art Prompt: Community

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a story about your neighborhood and how it fosters community or distrust. Give your audience tips for building community in their neighborhoods.

Photo Credit: Mike Babiarz on Flickr


Any excuse for a party, that’s my motto! Even if it’s just a party in my head. Nice to find someone who agrees with me. Even better that he put it in print, don’t you think?

Celebration is a mental experience with both conscious and unconscious dimensions. At a conscious level, celebration offers us a way – possibly the only way we know – to hold the moment, to engage in it fully and experience it fully, to experience ourselves and others in that context and feel grounded in the scheme of life and history. At an unconscious level, the celebrated moment imprints itself on us, adding to the hidden store of impressions that shape our thinking and color our view throughout life. In celebration we enrich our lives with the experience of our shared history as well as the shared moment. We may share a moment with others or with the memory of others, with God or simply with our own self. To do this in an ongoing way brings many of these enriched memories together to add depth of feeling and meaning to our daily lives. Our capacity to celebrate enables us to experience the deeper dimensions of any moment – at work, in love, or at play – as part of a human experience greater than ourselves. -Harvey L. Rich, In the Moment: Celebrating the Everyday

Writing Prompt: Create a celebration for your world or character.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your favorite celebration ever. What made it so meaningful to you?

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about the significance of celebrations in your family or your culture.

Art Prompt: Celebration

Photo Credit: williamcho on Flickr


One of my favorite songs from a musical is “My Time of Day” from Guys and Dolls. Such an evocative description of a setting in such a few words. Here is another, completely different in tone:

Late afternoon: the entr’acte between dusk and darkness, when the people who conduct their business in the street—numbers runners in gray chesterfields, out-of-work barmaids playing the dozens, adolescents cultivating their cigarette jones and lust, small-time hustlers selling “authentic” gold wristwatches that are platinum bright—look for a place to roost and to drink in the day’s sin. -by Hilton Als, A Pryor Love

Writing Prompt: Describe a time of day in the setting of your story. Appeal to all the senses.

Journaling Prompt: What is your favorite time of day? Why? 

Art Prompt: Late Afternoon in the city

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story about your favorite time of day. Focus on description that evokes feeling.

Photo Credit: vonSchnauzer on Flickr
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waterfall in the rain

Weather, climate, and vegetation are part of your world building if you are writing science fiction or fantasy. In other types of fiction, weather can play a role in setting the emotional tone of the story. This single sentence from Samuel Johnson places the reader in the wilderness of Scotland and establishes an emotional tone for the travelogue that follows:

The wind was loud, the rain was heavy, and the whistling of the blast, the fall of the shower, the rush of the cataracts, and the roar of the torrent, made a nobler chorus of the rough musick of nature than it had ever been my chance to hear before. -Samuel Johnson, Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (free for your Kindle or Kindle software)

Writing Prompt: Write a description of weather that evokes an emotional response.

Journaling Prompt: What is your favorite kind of weather? Why?

Art Prompt: Stormy Weather

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a story that requires a description of the weather for its humor or drama

Photo Credit: Alaskan Dudeon Flickr

Day of Rage poster

The first act of my WIP is all about the overthrow of existing societal structures. In researching what it takes to effect a major change at the societal level, I was surprised to find that the tipping point is so low.

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals.

As an example, the ongoing events in Tunisia and Egypt appear to exhibit a similar process, according to Szymanski. “In those countries, dictators who were in power for decades were suddenly overthrown in just a few weeks. When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Create a story about overthrowing a societal structure or cultural belief. 

Journaling / Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: What change would you like to see in society and what are you doing to bring that about?

Art Prompt: Revolution
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Persuade your audience to adopt your point of view on a change you would like to see happen in society. Give them a call to action to advance it.

Photo Credit: freestylee on Flickr