Thursday, April 11, 2013

J Is For Jobs...

Everyone has a job, even in fantasy. Hard work is what makes a world run. From the servant girl in the kitchens of the castle to the tailor, there is something for everyone to do.

A castle runs on the commoners who work it. The question remains, where do these people go at the end of the day? Do they have homes outside of the castle or is the castle their home? If you think about the kitchen of the castle, the people who work it are generally women. And they start before the sun rises to make sure dinner is done. Breakfast and lunch are made along the way, but they begin with dinner. Meat has to cook over fires for quite a long time, depending on what it is and how many you are feeding. Breads and pies have to be baked and cooled. Servants need to be fed as much as the King and his family and any guests that are staying over. Think of "Downton Abbey" and all the bustle to get ready for one simple meal.

Outside of the castle, you have stable boys, groomsmen, blacksmiths, tanners, weapon-smiths and guards. In the city you have tailors and bakers and innkeepers. Farmers and merchants and people who maintain the streets and keep them free of debris and human excrement. People who light lanterns at night and patrol the docks. Fishermen and traders.

There is a lot to keep a world running. You don't have to show all of this in your stories, but you have to build up an image of the area. Make sure you are including everyone from the King and Queen all the way down to the people who empty the chamber pots to make a world turn.


D.G. Hudson said...

Excellent advice. World building is fun, and there are many layers to daily life. It used to take so much longer to do the ordinary things like cooking.

I had a sampling of this when we visited a friend's cabin with a wood-burning stove. She cooked a turkey which took nearly all day on that stove, but it also warmed the cabin.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Somebody has to run the place!

Laura S. said...

Hello, Mel! Great advice. You can't forget about the people in the background because they are just as important!

Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Jemima Pett said...

That's a great post. I found myself thinking of this last year when I did an A to Z of my fantasy world. It helped a lot. I think W was for Waste!

This year I'm just doing stories :)

Happy A to Z-ing

Jemima at Jemima's blog

Unknown said...

So glad I'm not one of those chamber pot emptiers. Yuck.

Really though, it is important to remember. It's easy to get caught up in the main characters that make a book and not those that give it depth.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I tend to find the folks in the chamber and the kitchen are much more interesting... and with any sort of luck, more multidimensional than the "stars" of any castle.

It's interesting to think: like, does the baker bake at home? Who cleans the sheets of the laundress?

Enjoyed the visit immensely!

Happy A to Z-ing!
Julie Jordan Scott
Our Literary Grannies from A to Z:H is for Hannah Adams
tweet me - @juliejordanscot

Mel Chesley said...

@ Laura ~ Thanks! Good luck to you as well.

@ Jemima ~ stories is a good way to do these posts. Good luck to you as well!

@ Janeal ~ I'm glad I don't empty those pots either. ;)

@ Julie ~ I often wonder who does the work at the homes of these workers as well. They do add lots more spice to the stories. :D

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

It's another case of the iceberg effect--you need to know the information but don't include ALL the info in the story.

Unknown said...

I agree with Lynda; there's no point writing every detail down for the reader, but you still need to be aware of how the world works.

Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom