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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Building a Story World

Typology in Social Structure

What types of social structure will best establish a foundation for growth and conflict? We’ll examine the government formats in a later session, but begin here at the basic family core. Even if your world no longer follows those principles there still has to be a remnant for or against, especially if you’re in a dystopia or utopia. Is it a patriarchal or matriarchal-based family structure? Does the fairy Queen rule or does the Chieftain?

Here’s an interesting question to start brainstorming with. What is the society’s attitude towards their children and at what point do they see them as independent? A good study of one range of criteria can be found in any BBC historic series set in the late 1880’s where some children from five up worked in appalling factory conditions on one end of the economic scale, while others were raised by servants and nannies and boarding-schools with minimal contact with their parents. This is a particular focused view of course, which doesn’t necessarily fit all the truth of that era, but the principle holds. What would an outsider looking in think of this society by watching how they care for their young?

Exercise: Choose a specific culture, historical era, and geographic location that could bolster or conflict with your story world. Apply the above questions/concepts. Become a social investigator for this timeline. What can you adapt for yourself?

Share: Did you find any surprises?

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