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Help me with some development for my NaNo novel!

Well, I need to create the religion for my novel. So - what I need are some really crazy things this culture can't do or has to do because of religion. Be creative, I want some of this to be really rediculous. The novel is very early Victorian and slightly Steampunk in nature and religion is very, very important and the entire country is guided by a triad government which the most powerful person is the head of the church.
Now gimme something good!

10 thoughts:

Zach said...

What about looking at early Victorian superstitions for inspiration? Like how wary they were of sneezing for losing bits of your soul? Maybe smoking is forbidden instead for similar reasons? I'm spit balling here. What does this religion believe in?

Cid said...

Haahaa - I was going to attempt to be brief and not ramble too terribly bad.

Their diety publicly rejected them for lack of adherance to some ancient rules and has, as far as they know, abandoned them for almost seven hundred years. My novel picks up with this group of people who left their homeland and went to make their own country where they could attempt to follow those rules and get their diety's favor back. However, they were so far removed from their own land that they began to co-exsist with the indigenous people, their own culture mixing with the cultures around them that they have now lost their origional language. Yes, this is very reminiscient of early Christianity and the Catholic church at this point. Especially in the sense that only the upper ranks of the church even know the language of the origional texts and can read them. Instead this religion follows tradition - or liturgy - more so than their handed-down books, which are really just the personal writings of old heads of church.

The country is led by a tri-seated government. The highest ranking person is the head of the church, but he hasn't taken advantage of this in well over a hundred years. The country is mostly left to be run by a noble born King and a popularly elected person-who-has-yet-to-get-a-nifty-title to represent the people. I've worked out the government part, but perhaps it's important to know that the most powerful person is the head of the church, but there is not a history of abuse-of-power in this position.

I *am* trying to stay away from Judeo-Christian laws and come up with some of my own. I'm thinking a daily curfew with exceptions only on like religious days and maybe some laws about gold or other prescious metals in general. I have some stuff mulling around in my head too, I just want a lot of material to work on.

Sherilyn M Cook said...

Human sacrifice has always been a bit over the top. Simple things like...certain colors are NOT allowed to wear or it define members of a group. Superstitions with colors or animals.
You can get into creating rituals which many religions are hung up on.

Cid said...

Yeah, I don't think human sacrific would fit in with this. I am liking the whole thing about colors. I got a good idea from my NaNoForum post about dietary restrictions and I'm thinking about imposing some obnoxious curfews.

Rituals though - I have one that would actually be pretty neat - wich is traveling the Priest's Roads which are now only like little deer paths. But I need something more absurd and weird - and just more stuff to go on. I'm going to probably be vague when and where I can because I really don't want to get bogged down in the particulars of the religion, but it does need to have some substance - ya know?

Zach said...

I like the "certain colors" idea - reminds me of The Village, which was a movie honestly I liked the more I thought about it.

Okay, so their god rejected them over not following/forgetting the rules -- has what is deities' priorities are? Is it cleanliness that He/She/It desires? Is the diety Good? Or amoral? Sadistic? Does It enjoy arbitrary obedience so wrote tombs of rules to maximize the enjoyment It derives from It's followers?

Something to look at is maybe consider how restrictions on sex, marriage and gender plays a pretty big part across the board in most religions - what does gender roles look like through the lens of this religion? A lot of interesting and restrictive rules can come from that as well.

Cid said...

Because of some of the things I want the MC to do men and women are almost going to be on the same footing - though just barely. I'm figuring on some things being male-only and I think it will tie in religiously.

The diety I want to say is basically very good, and very simple and the trouble is that people are way overcomplicating things.

I had an idea that is growing on me. Basically people are not considered their own, fully functioning adult until they're like 25. Which is, realistically, obnoxious and a hindrance. This being so - the MC being like 19 or 21 or something, is still considered a dependant and is subject to the decisions of her new guardians who she has never before met in her life. I think her arranged marriage will be arranged because an older widdow didn't like the young man she bargand for to be her husband and the best way to dispose of her guardianship over him is to marry him off - thus the two characters end up together and the plot can plow along without the obligatory falling-in-love which I didn't want to write anyways.

I think there needs to be more examination of the gender-roles and sex and whatnot. Thanks Zach!

Oh - and I've started figiuring out the character inspired by you and I think he's going to be pretty cool. :)

Coy said...

First thing that came to mind for me was Flagellation. Not as a punishment though, but as a reverent, ritual practice - maybe as a constant penance to return their 700 year missing god, which with age and ignorance, has become some overzealous, self-masochistic, worship. Maybe it's their form of prayer.

This could bring in all kinds of blood magic, consumption for power, etc... for some really weird practices.

Maybe their thongs are cut from the skin of one of these colored beasts your batting around, making them holy and innately divine in their eyes. Maybe is quill that would work like a sjambok - although I think the cat-o-nine-tails or some kind of scourge might be more colorful.

I have this visual of high-priests or up and coming neophytes whipping themselves until they bleed, and like a rose petal passage of a bride, must make their own carpets of blood. Working out their salvation so to speak.

I'll stop there.

Hope this helps.

Cid said...

Hey - every bit helps! Here's some ideas I've gathered via the four places this discussion is up - doesn't have everything, just everything that was up when I copy/pasted it together.


*smoking is a good thing, certain herbs helped the lungs expand and be cleansed
*green not allowed except for priests on holy or high days or anything important at all
*need to create rituals
*look into restrictions via gender and age
*think more about diety's views on day-to-day stuff
*self-inflicted injury a road to redemption?
*after entering a church a person must turn three times
*beans must be avoided
*mandatory curfew after dark for everyone except on high or holy days
*select days as religious days during which things cannot happen, religious days determined by the sunrise and weather, very little notice
*lots of paperwork and redtape to do anything
*only eat animals with hooves
*restrictions on gold
*can't use wood of any evergreen type wood
*can't use wood of any crossed tree
*mandatory to wake up and wind a clock, all of which are made with sensors inside that really test the air quality but that bit of knowledge is lost and all people know now is that when the clock chimes you must close up the house and not go outside
*bathing is strictly enforced - public steam showers and baths are an abundant thing
*not allowed to expose more than a quarter of the body in public
*must drink a herbal remedy whenever a throat feels itchy
*big emphasis on herbal remedies for everything and approved by church
*people who are excessively sick must be given over to the church for care
*burn coal for fires, no wood, except on holy days or high days
*can't drink water that has not been boiled
*not allowed to be outside when it rains - if you are you must go to the church for a steam bath and stay there overnight

Yi said...

Women's ears are treated the way we treat women's chests. It is taboo to look at the exposed ear before marrying the lady, punishable by [insert gruesome torture here]. Because of that, they wear ear-bras and ear-blouses. Their chest, on the other hand, is a regular body part and they can walk around without covering it, as casually as men here walk around without a shirt when it's hot.

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