What does Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Dune, Star Wars, Star Trek and The Foundation have in common? Epic fictional/fantasy worlds. As Dr.Strange release date is getting near, I will like to share a very fun and creative hobby that is often easily overlooked as a hobby but is one of the finest ones there are by my opinion. This hobby is fictional world building. This is basically a directed form of daydreaming that we all humans do in some form or another. Here it is important to say that this is pure imagination and has nothing to do with writing. That is a different hobby. The creators of above mentioned worlds are fantasy world builders who also happen to be good writers. Also they decided to make their imaginary worlds public. This is the reason why it looks like a rare hobby limited to novelists and screenplay writers.
In middle school our English teacher used to give us creative writing tasks to make up an imaginary world of our own and write as detailed as possible a few pages about it. She told us it’s okay to borrow from famous books and movies as long as the overall shaping of the world is different. I started with a few wizards, elves and trolls which I borrowed (::stole) from Harry Potter and Lord of the rings. Then I kept on adding stuff from here and there like vampires, werewolves, mermaids and animals that were a cross between two existing ones. With time you get better and add original species/ideas of your own. Every time you get an idea of a new species, rather than changing your world you can populate it in the same world apart from other civilizations. It is fun to define at least one family in every species that has a story explaining their species in general. The interaction of different species and characteristics of their cross species is also very fun to get into. The best thing about imaginary world is that nothing is set in stone. You can expand it or go back to the start to change something essential to the world to fit in new ideas and no one can stop you. Or you can start a different world within the same universe for ideas that do not fit in your main world. The point is, you are the Sorcerer Supreme of your own world, only a billion times more powerful. If you want your earth to orbit around the moon, laws of physics can’t stop you. The only laws that apply in your world are the ones you have made or allowed. Look at Terry Pratchett’s Disk World or Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and you will realize that your world structure or story structure does not have to make sense to be good. You can have animals, shapes and even colors that don’t exist in real world. Or whole cultures that you wish could exist. The possibilities are endless.
Like all hobbies it has it’s up and down side. On the up side you do not need anything to start other than your brain.You are never lonely because you have your thoughts. Long hours of waiting can be turned into battles between two mythical creatures or an adventure in another world. But on the down side, ideas starts lighting up when you are doing something important like studying for an exam. This is distracting as hell when you are torn between doing what you are supposed to do and risking to lose ideas that may never come back to you again. Still the next time you are stuck somewhere with nothing to do, give it a try. Trust me it becomes more fun than playing video games or watching movies/TV shows. You can disagree only once you have given it a try. Later 🙂