World Building – The Challenge

Last week we looked at characterization and how to describe a person using only animal attributes. Did you try it? If so, how did you get on with it? Was it easy? Did you struggle? What did you learn from it?

Myself, I found it rather challenging, but interesting at the same time. It made you look at a person in a new way and then describe them carefully so that you could still see the person through the detail, and yet be able to see the animal being depicted in their persona. It definitely took some thinking over it.

Now on to this weeks challenge.

This week we decided to try a little world building exercise, again it comes from Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creative Imaginative Fiction. My writing partner and I have both agreed that we’re going to work through these challenges in a random order, as and when the need arises, but we will be using other topics as time goes on.


The challenge we decided upon comes from page 222. The picture you can see to the left of here, and the details that went with it are as follows: Take a close look at Aeron Alfrey’s flying city (2009). Several questions might occur to you . Is the setting fantastical but realistic – or is it surreal? What kind of cause-and-effect might exist here? What are the creatures lying dead on the ground? Is the city fleeing? Is it in the midst of being destroyed?

Construct a reasonable rationale for the setting of this image that might lead to a story, even if it uses the logic of dream.

Having thought about how I’d like to approach this task, an image came to mind about how it came to be. Though I’ve side-stepped the challenge in a round-a-bout way, there were no rules to say we couldn’t explore in our own ways. What I’ve come to realise is that while my drafts, like all others, are ridden with errors, they still show some hope of forming a story in the long run. What you’re going to see next is my outcome of the challenge. I kept it to two paragraphs and left it open to work on in the future, and also kept to to less than 250 words.

The end of days all started with a single ball of fire falling from the sky. We didn’t think much of it at first, but then more fell. With each new collision, plumes of rock and dust were sent into the atmosphere. Though few fell at first the numbers increased, some hit harder than others. The pace they were falling increased and earth trembled with each collision. As even more collided we witnessed our worst nightmares coming true. Earth was crumbling, we were in danger, and our home would never be the same again. Then one massive boom sounded, our ears rang, and a plume of dust to match an atomic bomb going off erupted miles away.

We dropped everything and hugged our loved ones, saying out last goodbyes. But the end never came. Not truly. The dust thinned out enough for us to see what had changed. We couldn’t believe our eyes.  We were looking out onto a new dawn of time. The earth’s gravity had been changed forever. Small towns and cities were no longer assessable by land; no you’d need a good strong rope and anchor. Or if you were fortunate enough to have it, then access to a helicopter or small plane would open the doors for you. Yes, that’s right, these places were no longer attached to the earth’s crust, but were floating like some magic trick sent to deceive you.

It’s definitely different from what I’d normally work on, but it has potential, don’t you think so? If you’re taking up this challenge, how are you going to approach it? Will you just use the image as a guide? Or will you stick to the challenge given and then use what you’ve come up with to produce a story at a later date?

I’m interested in seeing what you, if any of you, dare to come up with.

Until the next time, happy writing!



Filed under Writing Update

3 responses to “World Building – The Challenge

  1. Pingback: World-building Challenge | Dominique Goodall

  2. Reblogged this on Dominique Goodall and commented:
    My (writing) partner in crime did her own version of my own challenge – check it out!

  3. Pingback: World-Building Challenge | Shaven Wookiee

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