Anonymous asked you:
do you have any tips on how to write rules or amendments for my fictional society?
Start with the type of government your society has. Certain governments will have different laws and economies.
If your society sees dogs as divine beings, it might be illegal not to have a dog in your home for more than 30 days. That is a law based on cultural values. If there are robots in your society, there will probably be rules about robots. If your society is prejudice against a certain group of people, there might be rules about that.
Think about what your society values and what they see as taboo. You should also think about current issues and how the population feels about it. If there is a great fear of a form of government, it might be illegal to support that government. If murder is common and your society doesn’t see it as an issue unless the person murdered is a noble or someone in the upper class, it might only be illegal to murder certain people.
There’s also the little details that most people don’t think about. If there is private property, there will be laws about that. Can law enforcement officials enter private property without permission? Or just public property? If all property is public property, there probably won’t be much privacy.
Write out any laws that are relevant to your story. The exact wording of your laws will reflect your society. If the laws are broad, there will be loopholes, but also leeway for people in power to make it mean what they want it to mean.
If the laws are old and outdated, decide if people want to change them or not. Older laws with outdated terminology might make laws more confusing or irrelevant, but they can also allow more options.
Think about how laws are made. Do they have to go through several people before becoming an official law? Who has the power to propose laws or reject them? Who has the final say? Who can make adjustments? Can laws be adjusted over time or are they final the first time around? Does religion have a say in laws? When and why are laws created?
With laws there are punishments. One form of punishment is called a Draconian Law in which the punishment outweighs the crime. Are the punishments for breaking the law mild, moderate, or severe? Can stealing something small get you a life time sentence in prison? Or just a slap on the wrist?
Punishments and crimes can be matched up if you want them to be equal (i.e., the greater the crime, the greater the punishment), or certain crimes might have to meet certain requirements for certain punishments. For example, committing one major crime might have a low punishment because only one crime was committed. Committing several small crimes might have a higher punishment because more than one crime was committed. Do whatever you want to do.
You should also come up with exceptions of punishment. For example, it is legal, in the US, to kill a person if the intent was self defense.
Think about the types of punishment. Are they physical? Can people be sentenced to death? Do they have to pay a fine? Do they have to do community service? Are they exiled?
- Prisons: You don’t need prisons or something similar, but they’re a form of punishment. If your society has dungeons, prisons, jails, or similar places, decide what they are like, who goes there, what it’s like there, and where they are located. Are they located far away from populated areas? Are they underground? Are people given free reign throughout the property, or are they confined to a small space?
With law and punishment comes people who enforce those laws. You’re going to need some kind of government force that controls the population. Decide how many different groups there are, what they are in charge of, how many law enforcement officials exist, and how much they enforce the laws. They might not do much to enforce laws or they might be extremely strict.
Holders of Power
The people in power are most often the ones who create, destroy, and uphold laws. Laws that are not written down can be changed by the person in power, depending on the culture, and will naturally change over time.
Go back to the idea of who decides what and why. If business has power or great influence over government, laws might cater to business. For example, in the US, monopolies were at one point illegal. However, the law never defined what a monopoly was and therefore capitalism kept going and business funded the government.
If laws change easily with each ruler, the laws of the society will reflect the personality of whoever is in charge.