Most places have more laws than any sane fiction writer would ever want to document. It can be a good idea, however, to jot down any laws that will be important to the story. It can also help to flesh out the character of the setting by knowing what sort of laws are especially important. For example, some places have very strict laws about the lives of cows. A place that worships cows and forbids hurting them probably isn’t going to be a cattle ranch in Texas.
Types of governments set a standard for culture and perception of a setting. There are very strict and orderly governments, and there are more laid back ones. Some places focus on military force, others on science, some on culture, and a few on religion. There are governments where people vote, and others where rulers simply dictate and make all the important decisions. There are those who determine crime and punishment based on religious beliefs. Other places let the smartest, wealthiest, or most elite group decide what is right and wrong and how it is enforced. Governments might do what is best for the majority of the people, the selected minority of the people, or for the preservation of the nation without regard to the citizens.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson in preparing to write settings that feel like characters – my A to Z Challenge theme for 2015. If you long to discover more in-depth details on this topic, I have a .99 cents (US currency) ebook available on Amazon and Smashwords.
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Question of the day: What is your favorite quality in a life-mate?