When I was writing Flight of the Scions, I encountered a problem with world-building exposition. This comes in a lot of way, but when you create an entirely foreign world, you have to give some description of the rules. What are the measurements used? How do people view marriage? Death? Fighting?
It all came down to a chapter where Kanéko is worried about the consequences of waking up in a bed with a boy. As a baron's daughter, she has political ramifications beyond her own physical sense, but I couldn't find a smooth way of describing those without her sitting down in her own monologue going “as I've known my entire life, the perceptions of a virginal lady….”
After some fumbling, I came up with adding quotes to the beginning of every chapter. These little quotes either explain something that “everyone knows” or gives a little more background into the events of the chapter. They have been a lot of fun to write and I've had a number of people asked me if they are all fake (they are).
For example, in the first sample chapter of Sand and Blood, I have this quote:
When a child is waiting to become an adult, they are subtly encouraged to prove themselves ready for the rites of passage. In public, however, they are to remain patient and respectful. — Funikogo Ganósho, The Wait in the Valleys
Now that Sand and Blood is out, I have thirty of these quotes which come from plays, essays, and lectures by the fictional people of my world. But, like everything else, I feel the need to keep an internal consistency on those quotes because they contribute to the tapestry of the world I'm creating.
This weekend, I decided to add every quote I've written for Blood into my Fedran website. This is my sort-of wiki for the world which will eventually have all the characters of the novels, times and locations of the plots, and generally a corpus of the world I'm creating.
Naturally, I couldn't just add the quotes on a single page. I had to create a page for every reference (The Wait in the Valleys) and person (Funikogo Ganósho) referenced. There is a little back story on most of the entries, just a paragraph or two.
I actually have full plots for some of these, if I ever run out of novels to write.