One of the critical things to understand with my Micro/Macro theory is to understand how the Micro world of your characters interacts with the Macro world, but also how it interacts with other micro-worlds.
I said that that a micro-world belongs to one specific character; each and everyone of your characters has their own micro world. You need to understand each of the your different characters micro-worlds interact with other characters.
Are they a couple that live together, therefore influencing each other’s spaces? Are they colleagues that share a communal kitchen and one is cleaner than another? Are they brother and sister with separate spaces within the house that is there own territory that gets invaded by their sibling? Are they visiting a friend’s home for the first time and have been invited into a new environment that they have never encountered before?
All of these are examples of how various characters own micro-worlds overlap and interact, and potentially cause tension or create stronger bonds. These are just examples of common interactions that happen in everyday life.
All micro-worlds though are subject to potential change from the macro-world. Many great stories come from aspects of the macro world having a sudden effect on the micro-world of your characters.
- Katniss Everdeen is surviving in District 12 until she is taken from her home to the Capital to compete in the Hunger Games. Her interactions with Effie Trinket create great contrast between two characters whose micro-worlds and the attitude to the macro-world are different. With Cinna though, who has the same upbringing as Effie, but has more sympathy with Katniss, the interactions are completely different because he doesn’t conform to the cultural normality of the Hunger Games.
- The discovery by the Rebel Alliance of the the building of the Death Star, leads to a series of events that destroys Luke Skywalker’s home and family and prompts him on his journey to beginning a Jedi.
In TV series like Doctor Who and Star Trek, the micro world of the characters remains fairly consistent, but the wider macro-world changes in each story, which is where the interest is generated from.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation the micro-world of the USS Enterprise D remains consistent throughout the majority of the series. In one episode, ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’, after an encounter with a time travel anomaly the macro-world of the Star Trek universe changes; they are still at war with the Klingons. The ship of exploration transforms around the characters, into a fully armed battleship. The episode is one of the most compelling ever made and is a great example of how the change within the macro world has an effect on the normal micro-world your characters inhabit.
- In Doctor Who, the TARDIS is one of the consistent sets (subject to the occasional redecoration) and the homes the companions leave behind. This was especially true of Rose Tyler in Series 1 and 2 of the reboots. Her world consisted of just her and her Mum in their little council flat. For Clara Oswald, her micro-worlds have included the imagined world inside a Dalek’s head, a Victorian Public House and Upper Class home, and the modern day London she lives him which changes from being a lodger, to a teacher. Some of the stories in Doctor Who are set in these micro-worlds, but in the majority the characters are taken from what they know into the unknown.
These are just a few well known examples about Micro/Macro interaction, but one of the best ways to learn how to build a world around your characters is to look at your own life, but also to look at all the great examples you have out there that you can learn from in order to start thinking about your own. When you do, the only limit you have is your own imagination.