More details about this ongoing series, which began last week, can be found here. In short, I’m reproducing the course outlines for Dr. Parker’s Parageography curriculum. This one in particular might be handy for writers who wish to world build.
First, a Pre-Point: AMBIANCE is the Important Thing. [“What?” I hear you cry.]
1. Where is it?
2. When is it?
3. Macro: Shape, size, implied map
4. Homogenous or Heterogenous?
5. Ratio of water to land
7. Micro: Features of featured landscape
8. Ratio of nature to artifice
9. Significant flora
10. Significant fauna
11. Rational inhabitants
12. Homogenous or Heterogenous?
16. Spatial distribution
17. Homogenous or Heterogenous?
18. Monomphalic or Polyomphalic? Archipelagic?
19. Type of government
21. Relation of divisions to macroenvironment
22. Relation of divisions to microenvironment
23. Political stresses
24. Physical expression of political structure
25. Homogenous, Heterogenous, or non-existent?
28. Relation to macroenvironment
29. Relation to microenvironment
30. Religious stresses
31. Homogenous or Heterogenous?
32. Relative status to Now
33. Imbalances and Stresses
34. BUTTONS (or Drehdels, or McGuffins)
35. Physical expressions of civilization
36. Typical microenvironments
37. Stable or vectored?
39. Arts & Sciences
42. Magic (i.e., manipulation of the paranormal)
44.* How is the place supported economically?
45. Does anachronism occur?
46. Does anatopism occur?
47. Can people affect (or effect, for that matter) landscape? [and here I’ve written the word “skerries” for some reason]
48. Is the world cogent and cohesive? If so, why? If not, why not?
49. Is there a pattern or patterns under all this?
50. Any parageographical world exists in some relationship(s) to the world (ours, that is) that produced it. What is that relationship—allegorical, ironical, what?
51. What is the effect of outsiders on the world? [this does not = 48 above]
52. Does the world end?
53. What is the general atmosphere [to speak metaphorically] of the place?
54. Is the world possible, in our terms? Is this significant?
55. How is the world apprehended?
56. Is motion in the world centripetal or centrifugal, or something else?
57. Is there a history to this place? Is this important?
58. Is this a nonce-world, or does it have continuation?
59. Agora-world or Claustro-world?
60. Of course: How does the nature of the place, or space, condition action? Is it, then, Moral Space?
…and just what, came the teeny-tiny voice, IS this MORAL SPACE to which you occasionally refer? Precisely, WHAT?
*Note that I am reproducing these as faithfully as I can in terms of layout and exactly Doc Parker’s singular tone. And so I’ve skipped the number 43 because there is no number 43 on the original outline.