Friday, October 23, 2009

A Pearl for Your Fantasy--offsite post

Originally posted in the April 2009 Samhellion.

A Pearl for Your Fantasy—World Building Made Easy

You’ve won a million dollars! Ever wonder what you’d do? Would you buy a sexy negligee, or a Maserati? Take an island cruise? Make a loan to a favorite relative?
What else would happen? Well, every investment broker on the planet would call you. Empty hands would deluge you. The one relative you can’t stand would demand the biggest handout (but you could flip him the bird. Go ahead. Hey, it’s your fantasy).
Take one thing, just one, and change it. That is the seed of world-building. The grit to the pearl. Take the world you know, plus one what if. What if I won that million? What if my job were perfect? What if people lived forever (except, possibly, that really noisy neighbor)?
What one thing would you change? Let’s try—what if magic existed? Imagine cleaning with the snap of a finger, everything you want free! Wouldn’t life be grand?
Well, no. Remember, we only get to change one thing in our fantasy world. Basic human nature doesn’t change. People are still good and bad and just plain silly.
Sex, though…that’d be fun. Imagine not just two hands and a tongue, but as many fantasy hands and tongues as you want…yeah, keyboard getting drooly here.
Should you invent language? Let’s take our magic example. Every culture has a way people get extra energy. Tea, coffee. Coke, both the legal and illegal kind. Kaffey’s been overdone (IMHO) but you’d need to name the substance people use to jolt up the magic. MagiCoke? Maybe that’s illegal too, so you’d have MagiCoke pushers. Assign a shorthand. Call them Mushers…or Puscokers…well, maybe not. But you get the idea.
Take one thing, and change it. Like a pearl, your world will soon grow!

Mary Hughes is the author of Biting Nixie. You can visit her website


  1. If I won a million dollars, my husband and I would probably take that dream vacation through Europe, and I'd hire a team for my writing. That's two things, but, hey, I could afford it. :) As for the fantasy hands and tongues, too many would be distracting for me. What I'd like to do is expand my brain power. That would be very cool.

    1. Hi Edie,

      Oh my, that's a great way to spend a million dollars. Travel is wonderful to expand the mind. The team would give you more time to write more of your awesome books :)