Writing For Children: World Within a World

Welcome to a brand new subject area here on the blog: Children’s Fiction! You’ll find all future posts like this one under the Children’s Fiction category or you can just do a search from the top of the blog.

One of the things I see time and time again in stories for youngsters is the idea of the world within a world. It’s in Harry Potter and it’s in Artemis Fowl. It could even be argued that it’s in the Young Bond and Alex Rider books, too. Essentially, it’s something fantastic or impossible, existing within the confines of Earth as we know it. The reason I think it is so used and so successful, is because of the following reasons:

  1. It’s so versatile
  2. It gives the reader familiar references
  3. It makes our boring world feel more fantastic

You only have to look at concepts such as Diagon Alley and the Ministry of Magic to know that it’s such a great concept to use in children’s fiction. You can literally take anything from the real world; be it school, home or something as generic as a forest and transform it into a place only possible in the reader’s imagination.

Personally, I feel this concept works the best when reality is tweaked very slightly. For example, a secret restaurant for London’s pigeons hidden at the top of Big Ben. The environment and landmarks are all there, we’ve just changed one tiny thing, but it’s something that could never possibly happen… or could it? There’s the beauty. Nobody really knows whether pigeons have a restaurant at the top of Big Ben, because nobody ever looks. You need to make children believe that these fictional things could possibly exist in the real world. Take Harry Potter as another example. You had tourists trying to push trolleys into a solid brick wall at King’s Cross Station, between platforms 9 and 10.

How many hopeful geeks out there occasionally wave their hand about in the hope they have been granted superpowers? Loads, I bet. There’s the secret – make people believe that something could be real and you’re onto a winner.

Remember, you’ve only got 3 days to leave your entry for Fiction Friday: The Story! Episode 6 is at this link!

~ James

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