's world, Gandalf is one of five wizardssent by the Valar to guide the inhabitants of Middle Earth in their strugglesagainst the dark force of Sauron.
Gandalf's body was mortal, subject to the physicalrules of Middle Earth, but his spirit was immortal, as seen when he died as Gandalf the Grey and resurrected as Gandalf the White.
According to the Wachowski's script, an awakened human only has to link up and hack the neon binarycode of the Matrix to learn how to fly a helicopterin a matter of seconds.
Or if you are the One, or one of the Ones, you don't even need a helicopter, you just need a cool pair of shades.
Cheshire cats can juggle their own heads.
iPads are rudimentary.
No Quidditch match endsuntil the Golden Snitch is caught.
And the answer to the ultimatequestion of life, the universe, and everything is most certainly 42.
Just like real life, fictional worlds operate consistently within a spectrum of physicaland societal rules.
That's what makes these intricate worlds believable, comprehensible, and worth exploring.
In real life, the Law of Gravityholds seven book sets of “Harry Potter” to millions of bookshelvesaround the world.
We know this to be true, but we also know that ever since J.
typed the words wizard, wand, and “Wingardium Leviosa, ” that Law of Gravity has ceased to exist on the trillions of pagesresting between those bookends.
Authors of science fiction and fantasyliterally build worlds.
They make rules, maps, lineages, languages, cultures, universes, alternate universes within universes, and from those worlds sproutstory, after story, after story.
When it's done well, readers can understandfictional worlds and their rules just as well as the charactersthat live in them do and sometimes, just as well or even better than the reader understandsthe world outside of the book.
But how? How can human-made squiggles on a page reflect lights into our eyesthat send signals to our brains that we logically and emotionally decodeas complex narratives that move us to fight, cry, sing, and think, that are strong enough not only to hold up a world that is completely invented by the author, but also to changethe reader's perspective on the real world that resumes only when the final squiggle is reached? I'm not sure anyone knowsthe answer to that question, yet fantastical, fictional worldsare created everyday in our minds, on computers, even on napkins at the restaurantdown the street.
The truth is your imaginationand a willingness to, figuratively, live in your own world are all you need to getstarted writing a novel.
I didn't dream up Hogwartsor the Star Wars' Cantina, but I have written some science thrillersfor kids and young adults.
Here are some questionsand methods I've used to help build the worldsin which those books take place.
I start with a basic place and time.
Whether that's a fantasy worldor a futuristic setting in the real world, it's important to know where you areand whether you're working in the past, present, or future.
I like to create a timeline showing how the world came to be.
What past events have shapedthe way it is now? Then I brainstorm answers to questions that draw out the detailsof my fictional world.
What rules are in place here? This covers everythingfrom laws of gravity, or not, to the rules of society and the punishmentsfor individuals who break them.
What kind of governmentdoes this world have? Who has power, and who doesn't? What do people believe in here? And what does this society value most? Then it's time to thinkabout day-to-day life.
What's the weather like in this world? Where do the inhabitants liveand work and go to school? What do they eat and how do they play? How do they treat their youngand their old? What relationships do they havewith the animals and plants of the world? And what do those animalsand plants look like? What kind of technology exists? Transportation? Communication? Access to information? There's so much to think about! So, spend some time living in those tasksand the answers to those questions, and you're well on your wayto building your own fictional world.
Once you know your worldas well as you hope your reader will, set your characters free in itand see what happens.
And ask yourself, “How does this world you createdshape the individuals who live in it? And what kind of conflictis likely to emerge?” Answer those questions, and you have your story.
Good luck, future world-builder!.