Hi! I’ve been itching to write an exploratory fic on Jotunheim culture and society that deviates from the majority of what I’ve seen in fandom so far, and obviously this would be including Loki in a major fashion. The only problem is, I’m not so sure there would be much interest? You’re one of the high lords of worldbuilding, I feel, so I just wanted to ask your opinion on the matter and if you have any tips for creating a believable atmosphere. Thanks! <3

peaceheather:

Oh wow! Thank you so much for the compliment. (High lord of world building? Dude.)

First, apologies for not responding to this sooner; Tumblr never notified me when the message was sent the first time. Damn thing.

Second. Um. First and foremost, WRITE THE FIC. There will be interest. People seem to really appreciate my stories because of the worldbuilding, and Jotunheim is like a free playground just waiting for people to come and fill it up with their ideas.

The biggest thing that I’ve found for worldbuilding is that you don’t need a whole lot of huge sweeping massive stuff, necessarily, though that’s certainly helpful to have in the back of your mind or in your personal notes while you’re writing the story. What the readers need are the details. An example would be in Grievance where I mention that Tyr served a mandatory term in the military. It’s a throwaway sentence, almost, but with it you suddenly realize that Asgard actually HAS such a thing as mandatory military service. You learn later that when he went back, it was for officer training, meaning that he was just a grunt with all the rest of them the first time around.

Um, description is huge. You bring the reader into your world when you make it vivid, with sounds and smells and colors, things like the cadets having different names and color of shirt for their different ranks. What do you smell when you walk down the street or road where you live? What would someone smell in Asgard? What would they smell in Jotunheim? How does the music sound? Are the people loud and boisterous generally, or is that level of noise considered rude? What kinds of presents do people give each other? Do they give presents?

The biggest way to create a new world for your readers is to NOT MAKE IT MODERN DAY AMERICAN. Don’t make it “default” to the movies, which are geared toward straight white males who aren’t too poor and aren’t too wealthy. Skyli is set in Iceland instead of New York deliberately, and is populated by women on purpose. I have them not care about nudity when they get together at the communal hot springs every evening, because why would they? They’re not American; they’re not even from Earth.

In “Empty Hands”, I have Loki and Thor and Co. meet a tribe of nomadic elves. I didn’t want elves that lived in trees and were just like Tolkien’s people, although I do imply that they have such places were they live in the winter. But for the most part, that’s been done. So, nomads. I modeled, very very loosely, off the various nomadic cultures that I know a little bit about, including the historic Mongols, Plains Indians of North America, and maybe a bit of the Bedouins of the Sahara Desert (though not much because the environment is so different, and environment shapes culture). When I say “loosely”, I mean I didn’t want to make the elves recognizable as any specific Earth culture so much as ask and answer practical questions like “what possessions do nomads have and keep?” Blankets. Not a lot of jewelry necessarily, but tattoos and colorful clothing, because people will decorate themselves in any way they can given constraints. Nomads will mostly own things that are lightweight and easy to transport. If the weather is good on this planet, maybe they don’t sleep under a roof at all, maybe they just use cushions and blankets out under the stars. They cook over an open fire rather than owning a stove, because you can’t just lug a stove around with you from place to place.

See? It comes down to details. Describe your world for us, and we’ll follow you into it.

I… have no idea if I’ve answered your question satisfactorily. But you’re welcome to PM me and we can talk ideas if you like.

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