Worldbuilding for Preptober… Laws and Rules

First, a link:

I found this quite interesting, and actually useful in working on the cast for my Nano project.

Now, a completely different topic: Rules, laws, and Taboo, or You Can’t Do That on Television (for a totally outdated pop-culture reference).

This comes down to some pretty basic questions:

* what are important rules in your society/country/world?

* how are they (are they?) enforced?

* how are they codified?

* how are transgressions punished?

Rules themselves divide up further: social mores, institutional rules, laws, natural laws*.

And, of course, you don’t have to figure them all out, but it might help to consider where your characters are going to be and what level of freedom they will have:

* do people of your protagonist’s age and gender wander freely? If not, what restrictions are on their movement?

* What about speech? To what level is free expression censured?

* Physical contact? Is it okay for a woman to touch an unmarried man? If not, why not?

These may be simply unwritten rules – good girls or boys just “don’t do” certain things, and to do so risks shunning or social disgrace. They may be laws, with commensurate punishments. They could be natural laws*, incapable of being broken.

For instance: In 4th Husband, unmarried men do not speak to women outside of their families. This is a social more, and their sisters and mothers will enforce it, often with “grounding” or spankings.

In Edally/Reiassan, casual touch between strangers is taboo. Again, a social more, one that tends to be self-enforced.

However, in Fae Apoc, if a fae has made a promise, they are bound by it. They cannot break that promise without risking their own mind shattering, and many people are not strong enough to even attempt it.

What about your worlds? What things just Don’t Happen? Contrariwise, what things Must Happen?

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