Creating Societies

Societies are complex and honestly, to me, one of the most entertaining aspects to writing fantasy fiction or dystopian fiction. Societies that act and react so differently from my own. So what is the best way to create them? Here are some guidelines and questions to ask yourself:

1. What is the social structure? 

  • Is the society sorted by race, gender, class, education, or more? In one of my novels, society is separated by genetic make-up.
  • Is there a Judicial or Executive Government? Is there a monarchy? Maybe both?

2. Who are the celebrities? Who are the outcasts? 

3. What is considered being “normal” or conform in terms of behavior? What is considered “weird”? 

4. What is the currency? Is there a barter system? Are their differences depending on social standing? 

5. What are the most desired jobs? Are there jobs? How do you get jobs?

6. How is education developed? Is it done with a teacher and student? Computer? Instantly given? 

Societies can be developed by showing rather than telling. If you are trying to show how currency is done, create a scenario in doing so rather than saying how. Some things are okay to tell such as how a law or judiciary system is done but be sure to couple it with showing components.

What are some of your favorite societies? What do you feel your perfectly imperfect society explores? Or perhaps it is just for fun.


Kelly is a mother of a feisty two-year-old and married to a wonderful gamer husband. She has a business blog about compassionate leadership at She writes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in her spare time.

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