A way with worlds: 32 - Yin and Yang: Knowledge and Ignorance
by Steven Savage of Seventh Sanctum
Page 2 of 2
So, I've thrown together a
list of places where I think understanding knowledge and
ignorance go hand in hand. This is based more on recent analysis
than experience, but then again this idea is new to me as well.
- In building our worlds,
it's important to understand what knowledge is common,
what people are likely to know. This will let you
determine how characters knowledge and lack will let them
interact in your setting.
- It's important to know
different cultures in your world and what they know - and
what they don't. This will help you understand and write
culture clashes and interactions easily.
- Understand your
characters educational background - be it school,
apprenticeship, ritual training, general experience. Look
for any gaps in their knowledge as well as their
- Track any significant
lacks of knowledge. You'll be glad you did.
These little exercises
should help you keep your ignorances straight, as it were. A
group of hunter-gatherers may not understand an airplane, but an
airplane pilot may not know how to survive in the wild. A
nobleman may know quite a bit about his kingdom, but not actually
understand the traumas farmers face, even though they feed him.
And, of course, a man
trained for years in a religious order may have learned alchemy
and theology, but never took the time to learn to drive a car.
In defining characters, a lack of knowledge is just as
important as what a character knows, especially in context of
Oh, and writing is an
experience you never stop learning from.
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