For the book I’m planning, I decided to toss a religious schism into the mess of the king’s succession and all the political maneuvering that goes along with it.
I started flipping through the volume of the Durants’ The Story of Civilization that deals with the Reformation. But I didn’t get far–reading about John Wycliffe gave me enough ideas for what I could do.
That gave me the schism, but I also needed to invent their religion. In the other books and stores I’ve written in this world I’ve only included tiny details because it just hasn’t been very relevant. But knowing what people are arguing over and why each side believes they’re right requires more than a few details.
If you’ve created a religion for a book, how did you go about it? I’ve generally avoided it in the past. Fantasy religions often seem silly–the god is a giant sentient lizard who demands human sacrifices on Tuesdays when there’s a full moon–or like the author has a bone to pick with the Roman Catholic church. I wanted something more rational.
I started with some small pieces that seemed reasonable to me and worked forward and backward–if they believe this, what would the religion be like; if the religion is like this, what do they believe–until I had something that seems to hang together, fit into the society, include the details I’ve already used–and that allows for a schism. Because really, I’m only inventing this so I can make people fight about it.