In my last post, I spoke about how to organize the general section into several subsections. If you would like a recap, you can click the following link here. For part three of organizing your worldbuilding, I will talk about religion and language. There are many important aspects to consider when organizing your religion and language in your story bible.
The Religion & Language Section
Understanding Religion In Fiction
In this section, there are many important aspects to consider when setting up religion and language in your world. A religion’s fundamental beliefs are what can make or break your worldbuilding: they’re what will make people believe in your story and buy into it. A lot of people try to get away with making everything up as they go along, but if you want your worldbuilding to feel grounded in reality and believable, you need to have a firm foundation—and that means having clear ideas about how the society sees its own spiritual lives.
The Religion Subsection
When organizing this subsection, I separate all folders into three sub-subsections:
- Values, Symbols & Rituals
This section is where I outline the general spiritual structure of my world. It is here that I would outline my pantheon of gods, which would include their names, abilities, hierarchy and other information I would deem necessary for my world. Because I have more than one god, I gave each member of my pantheon their own separate document within the section. Personally, having each god on its own separate document allows me to cut down time scrolling a very long document just to find a particular piece of information.
You can choose to have a pantheon of gods, or just one god and whether or not the god(s) are physical entities, or simply abstract concepts. In addition to deciding on how many gods there are and whether they’re physical entities or just abstract concepts (or both), another important decision is whether these beings are omnipotent (have unlimited power over their domain), omnipresent (can be in multiple places at once), omniscient (know everything about themselves), etcetera.
I would like to note that in this section, I have a simple dossier of my gods. For matters pertaining their history and lore, I organize that in my history and geography section as it gives me ample room to write about the gods in general.
Values, Symbols & Rituals
Organizing values, symbols and rituals can be done in many ways. I can separate each topic into its own subsection:
Sort it into two subsections:
- Symbols & Rituals
Or create one subsection:
- Values, Symbols & Rituals
When organizing your religion, it is important to remember the difference between values, symbols and rituals.
A value is an important idea or concept that an individual or group holds dear. Values can be abstract, such as love and freedom, or concrete, like fairness and loyalty.
A symbol is a physical representation of a value. Symbols can take many forms: a statue, a flag, even something as simple as a color or number (such as the red color of blood). A symbol can also be intangible; for example: respect for one’s elders could be represented by showing respect for them in some way (by listening to their advice).
A ritual is any behavior associated with a symbol. A ritual might involve decorating oneself with symbols before going out into public; this would demonstrate that one holds certain values dear enough to display them publicly.
How you would like to organize it is entirely up to you. For me, I find splitting it into two subsections is more than enough for my needs.
The Language Subsection
Having a way to track multiple languages and how people communicate is useful for creating an immersive story environment. The language subsection is ideal for keeping track of:
- Fictional languages you’ve created
- How your character use language to communicate.
As I am not creating a special language like Elvish or Dorthraki for Vicious Circles, I’ve opted for the latter choice. Some examples of what I store in this section include:
- Slangs and curse words
- How different social classes speak to each other
- How same social classes speak to each other
- What makes each country’s language distinct