With tips to have a go yourself! by Vashti Hardy
For me, one of the things that makes writing the best job in the world is the wondrous feeling that anything is possible. Creating fantasy landscapes allows you to abandon the rules of planet Earth and set down new world rules without limits. This makes for a lot of fun and endless imaginative possibilities.
With the worlds I create, I often start with an idea that makes my imagination fizzle, then I begin to ask questions of the world, such as what’s the most compelling and exciting story to tell within this world? Who’s the best character to tell the story of the world? What are the big questions to ask of it? What problems exist in the fabric of the world? Then I begin to build from there using a process of brainstorming, creating maps, collecting visuals (I love Pinterest), listening to soundtracks and collecting pieces of music, all to help me evoke the atmosphere of the world I’m building.
Sometimes people think that writing is solely about sitting with your pencil and notebook or at the laptop typing away all day, but for me it’s about so much more than that. There are many creative activities that support and help me to grow my imagination and worlds so that I can make them feel as real as possible for you, the reader. I want you to be transported alongside my characters and if I do my job well, you’ll feel that the places I’ve created are as real as planet Earth, whether the country of Moreland in the Griffin Gate, The Wide in the Brightstorm adventures, the city of Medlock in Wildspark, or the world of Inventia in Harley Hitch.
Each world I create is unique, but they all grow from my real-life fascinations in different ways. When I visit schools, I often tell children that your best writing usually comes when you use your natural interests and curiosities to spark ideas. For example, I love science, technology and invention, so you will always find that plays a big part of my worlds. I also love ghost stories (nothing too scary!) so in the world of Wildspark there is a fusion of technology and ghosts. I’m fascinated by explorers and expeditions, hence Brightstorm, and I absolutely love maps and geography, therefore all my books feature a map in some way, in fact, the Griffin Gate series published by brilliant Barrington Stoke is based solely on an idea I had about amazing map. The Griffin map is unlike any you would find in our world because it has special inbuilt teleporting technology which allows the Griffin family, who are wardens of the map, to teleport from their home city of Copperport to anywhere within their country of Moreland, solving mysteries and helping those in need. It all started because one day I was daydreaming about how amazing it would be to teleport into a fantasy map.
You could have a go at creating a fantasy world with its own unique rules based on your interests and fascinations. You might love magic, dinosaurs, fairy tales, Roman times, fossils, space, detectives, football, dragons, plants, Stone Age times… You could try mixing a couple of interests together and see what happens like I did with the Griffin Gate: maps + teleporting technology = the story of Grace Griffin in Moreland. Or ghosts + robots = the story of Prue in Wildspark. Perhaps if you love Romans and dinosaurs, you could create a world based on that? I would certainly read a story where Roman centurions ride on the back of velociraptors! Or how about fairy-tales and football? Imagine the fun you could have with the games set in Shrek’s swamp or fairy-tale goodies versus baddies! The possibilities are endless.
Don’t forget to have fun drawing maps of your world, collecting pictures and listening to soundtracks to help you. Then when you sit down to write the words of your story, you’ll be ready to fly (perhaps on the back of your very own space dragon!). Let your imagination loose with myths, magic, mayhem and who knows what incredible new worlds you might end up in.