Worldbuilding: Political Systems in Conflict

All works of fiction require worldbuilding. This is true even of stories set in the contemporary world because it’s impossible to replicate the complexity and detail of the entire world—the author must always focus and refine the details of the fictional world to fit the story. In science fiction and fantasy, we often create entirely new worlds, to the point where different physical laws, etc., might apply. Political systems come into play any time there are communities of people, and they often form the major conflicts in subgenres like epic fantasy, space opera, and military science fiction. In looking specifically at creating political systems in conflict with each other, we’ll explore how to ground the conflicts in the basic needs of people. This workshop starts with the standard needs of human beings (always the audience, if not the subject of the story), how political systems are constructed to supply those needs—and how the balance of power can be destabilized to create an effective fictional conflict.

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