Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Building Worlds Out of Nothing

I read these picture books as a little kid called Harold and the Purple Crayon. They told the story of a boy named Harold who drew worlds with his crayon--and they became true! He could draw things and then interact with them. I was always so captivated by the wonder and whimsy of that idea...

...And I realized one day that it's true for authors, too.

We build things out of nothing. We create whole worlds from thin air, from a whiff of a dream or a handful of memories or a single shimmering idea that won't let us go. And we can go anywhere with those ideas. When I'm writing a story, I can take those characters to China or the moon or a country in a cupboard. I can build any sized set piece I want or need for this story I'm telling. There are no limits except the ones in my own imagination.

Sometimes I forget how AWESOME that is, how open-ended and full of promise storytelling can be. As an author, I'm not limited by budget or actor schedules or locations. It's magical. It's amazing. I feel like Harold with his purple crayon and a blank canvas.

And readers build worlds in thin air, too. When you read a story, you take the script on the page and bring it to life in your mind. The characters, the setting...it can all be as grand as you can imagine.

Books are magic, and those who read and write them are wizards.

Wizard on, friends.


  1. So true!! And I know exactly what book you are talking about too. Isn't it wonderful how writers can just create things for the reader to enjoy? I just love that! Thank you for an awesome post!

  2. Just the little inspiration I need.

    I'm having trouble visualizing the setting, but I think it's because I'm trying to limit myself to places I've been rather than letting myself imagine new places.

    1. I have the same problem too sometimes...it helps me to turn on music or sound effects that remind me of the setting, and look at pictures or art online that evokes the same sense of mood that the settling is supposed to...


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