Monday, 7 June 2010

Carassauga Festival of Cultures - World Building Inspiration

A week or so ago Mississauga had its Carassauga Festival of Cultures. It was a great opportunity to not only learn about cultures, see them in action (dancing, singing, etc.) and eat their food, it was also a chance to realize how differently even similar things can be done.

World building's one of my favourite aspects of writing. I enjoy coming up with mythology/religion, architecture, etc. But I've never really delved into food, dance, and other aspects of culture. And I should. Even if the characters don't sit down to a fancy dinner, the fact that a Lebanese falafel is fairly dry compared to an Egyptian one (and doesn't have pickled red cabbage on it) is the sort of tidbit that can really make the world come to life for the reader. Maybe the character comments on this, or maybe they throw it down in disgust. Or maybe the person simply feels homesick because of it. The world building's in the details.

To illustrate it another way, here are three videos of belly dancing I took during the festival. I apologize for the bad quality. I had to rotate them and save them as mp4s, which reduced the quality significantly. Notice though, that not only is the style of music different, so are the costumes and moves.

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