In a long post on The Writer, DIY MFA‘s Gabriela Pereira dives deep into the psychology of world building, discussing an ecological approach that centers the character as the most important aspect of the world. This approach draws on the ecological systems theory of child development, which places the child at the center of an ecosystem, the layers of which have a different impact on development. “When we apply this same approach to world building, we see that different layers of the story’s world impact the characters in different ways,” Pereira writes.
Pereira recommends starting with the protagonist’s view of their world. That perspective will shape how readers see the environment and will likely influence how you write about it. Layer 2 is the supporting cast, who support the development of the lead character. Only after considering the supporting characters should a writer tackle Level 3, the actual setting, beginning with the protagonist’s intimate settings. Next, you should consider the society and culture you’ve placed your characters in, and finally, the larger historical and geographic landscape of your world.
Read the full post here
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