Vision: A Resource for Writers
Holly Lisle's Vision
Holly Lisle's Workshop
in Hell and Other Delights
god (or anti-god) or more than one? List the gods’ names.
the gods have birth or death dates? List relevant dates.
they oversee specific facets of human life, like farming, fishing,
housekeeping, childbirth, etc.? List areas of specialization.
they intervened in human affairs in specific instances, either in
mythology or in fact? For example, did Smard, God of Lightning,
smite the invading, armor-wearing Pettites on the Fifth of Togush?
Bet they celebrate Smardstuurm Day.
about saints and martyrs? List any of those that interest you,
along with their histories and associations.
holidays of other religions that this religion wants to eradicate?
Figure out ways that the religion can absorb these holidays and alter
them to fit its own needs.
are the key features of the religion? Deep piety, self-sacrifice,
reproduction and expansion of the people, wild and unbridled lust?
Some holidays will emphasize ways of encouraging people to participate
in these major values.
Who rules the area now? List names. These folks may get their own days.
Who ruled it in the past? List names. Those still held in favor by the current regime may have their own days.
Which groups of people are in favor with the current regime? Soldiers, medical personnel, priests, cowboys, hunters, laborers, miners, strippers? Consider holidays for these groups.
What civic virtues would the current regime like to encourage? Honesty, industriousness, keeping the streets clean, eating more meat, enlisting in the military? Give these desired virtues their own holidays.
What wars have your groups won and lost? Name the wars, give them dates, then give them holidays.
Now think smaller. What significant battles were fought in each of these wars? Where were they fought, and who fought them? Any special heros? Any special causes? Why didn’t Helen of Troy get Helensday? These smaller events will be great for local holidays.
Now think sideways. Any bizarre, humiliating, or weirdly appalling events in the national past? Any attempted overthrows of government that resulted in the would-be usurpers blowing themselves up? Any battles lost because the war-elephants came down with horrendous diarrhea on the night before battle? (I confess I can’t think of how you’d celebrate a holiday based on this event, but I’d love to find out.)
Any great terrain discoveries? Where, what, when, and by whom?
Any famous people whose lives changed their world, either for better or worse? Who were they, when were they born, when did they do their greatest thing, and when did they die?
What are the major products mined, harvested, raised or manufactured by your people?
Which of these products are most necessary?
Which of these products are most profitable?
Which of these products were seriously overproduced last year, causing falling prices and a need for someone to come up with a new killer app to use them? For example, if you really need to get rid of vast oversupplies of corn before your storage of it causes vast oversupplies of mice, what events could your folks create for National Create-With-Corn Week?
What are the weirdest sects, weirdest events, or weirdest people in your chosen area? List a few of these, and come up with holidays to celebrate their achievements. (If you need help with this one, you need only go as far as the Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not, and those reality programs on television for inspiration.)
back to Holidays in Hell. I think we have Demon Days, the Impstravganza
All-Souls Festival and Bazaar, Torturers’ Day, National Temptation Week,
Creative-Uses-for-Middle-Managers Month, and The Feast of All Gluttons (where
gluttons make up the main course).
of course, Lucifer Day. Or maybe every day is Lucifer Day in Hell.