On Wednesday, we talked about how real world taboos influence fiction. But as integral as taboos are to authorial and reader perspective, they should also be a part of creating fictional worlds.
The most important thing to remember when inventing the taboos that a fictional society holds is that they are not your own. Certainly, some can be similar or a few can even be the same, but don’t copy your own culture’s exactly.
Beyond that, keep in mind that taboos generally pertain to certain groups of behaviors. They often relate to the body, what is covered and what is not and how such as swimsuits over the decades. They can relate to space, where a person or type of person, male or female for instance, is allowed to go or be in the company of another. They can relate to the most fundamental aspects of life: eating, drinking, sleeping, reproducing, and courtship. But don’t limit yourself to these. Feel free to explore the wide range of your imagination.
And lastly, always remember to come up with reasons why these taboos exist, especially if they influence your plot or your characters’ decision. Knowing them, whether you state them or not in the story, will give a greater sense of verisimilitude to your fiction.
What are some of your favorite taboos that you’ve seen in fictional worlds?