Writing Tips: Using PMESII-PT Part 4: Social

By now, you’ve probably realized that there is a lot of overlap between each section of the PMESII-PT structure. But just like in a Venn diagram, you’ll find that most of the information lays in its respective fields. With that in mind, let’s dive into the social aspect of world-building.

Where Social Media is such a large focus in our own society, it’s become easier to see different religious, cultural, and ethnic composition within our world. Half of the time, we’re observing different traditions without understanding. But now that it’s time to create it in your world, time to pay attention. Because the social aspect impacts previous and future segments of the PMESII-PT acronym. So let’s look at some examples of a social construct.

Working with Singular Societies

I’m currently reading Matched by Ally Condie and from the beginning of the story Condie creates clear and unique societal standards. The concept of this society is that they all live the healthiest lives and follow the rules for the best life possible. Everything is controlled, calculated, and produced with precision. The societal norm is that everyone accepts the guidance of their officials because it is the best option for a healthy life. No one questions the rigid schedule, limited activities, or who they will marry. It’s all about following the counsel of the officials for the best life. At first, it would appear that there is no division within such a society, but the outliers are pushed to the outskirts of society. These outliers are called aberrations. With two groups, you create the us vs them approach, even if the others aren’t spoken of. The social aspects created in Matched is a great example of a unified society with contrast given by the other. But as most that inhabit earth know, that is an idealistic community and not real for every story.

Working with Large Societies

A social system, at the very least, contains people, groups, and institutions that convey shared values, norms, and convictions. Every city, town, or tribe has norms within their norms. Society is like an onion, and each layer you peel back might make you cry, but it reveals another layer. Whether class, species, skin tone, eye color, hair color, or other attributes created these layers, there is always something that separates a part from another. In The Lord of the Rings Series, readers find many fantasy races and species within the great epic. From hobbits to wizards and orcs, (oh my!) each given their own traditions, status, and norms. One most well known is the concept of a hobbit leaving the shire, blasphemous stuff, but that creates instant tension once the rule is set and broken in the story.

So I’ve given a few examples and shared some stories to reference, but let’s ask some questions that might help you in building your world.

Questions to ask?

Do you have a singular society with established social expectations? Or are you working with a realm, kingdoms, and countries that require their own customs and expectations?

If you’re working in a singular society, does everyone believe in the path, or are there factions? (Even if the factions are just male versus female, north versus south, etc.) Look at history if you want some reference material on conflicts within communities.

If you’re working with large-scale worlds, then how are your different societal norms separated? Is there blending in some areas? Or does the conflict stem from contradicting beliefs, norms, or traditions?

Sometimes social norms are created by one person choosing to be different. How were your norms created?

Final Notes

As always, there’s no right answer to these questions, and do not limit yourself to these examples. If you have questions you ask yourself as you structure the social aspects of your stories, add them in the comments below. If you’ve read books with great examples of social structures, then please share those as well. And don’t forget, stay fresh, my nugs!

PMESII-PT Part 3 Economic

PMESII-PT Part 5 Information

4 thoughts on “Writing Tips: Using PMESII-PT Part 4: Social

  1. Pingback: Writing Tips: Using PMESII-PT Part 5 Information – Myers Fiction

  2. Pingback: Writing Tips: Using PMESII-PT Part 3 Economic – Myers Fiction

  3. Pingback: World-Building: Creating Characters from Setting – Myers Fiction

  4. Pingback: World-Building Closeout – Myers Fiction

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