(A message from our sponsors: pre-order your copy of The Wand that Rocks the Cradle: Magical Stories of Family now, and get special Kickstarter-exclusive bonuses! A collection of fantasy short stories that range from tender, to grim, to poignant, to breathtaking, The Wand that Rocks the Cradle is a Lagrange Books anthology you don’t want to miss!)
This writing exercise is meant to accompany this post about the Clergy “polity,” in which power is held (at least in part) by a religious leader or organization. If you like this exercise, read the above-linked post and then come back.
- What religious/spiritual beliefs do the Clergy have in your society? How do they justify its political power?
- Is the Clergy the sole ruler? Or does it provide legitimacy for another ruler, like a king with divine right? What kind of legitimacy?
- Does the Clergy make political demands on other powerful figures, or society in general? How are these enforced? Does the Clergy have an army, or magical power? Or do people obey because of its moral authority?
- What sacrifices must the Clergy make to demonstrate its religious piety? What sacrifices does it demand of others?
- Does the Clergy observe its own rules? Does it have the respect of the people? Of the elites?
- How can members of the Clergy exploit their positions for personal gain? How often do they do so?
- What happens if a member of the Clergy has a crisis of faith? What about someone not in the Clergy?
- What would happen in a religious schism? Or a sudden outbreak of unbelief?
- Looking over all the potential conflict points you’ve noted, which have the most resonance for your story?