Writing Exercise #10 / Conference Challenge #6: Creating Worlds

I had a very profound thought at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom


As Bob and I waited in line for Expedition Everest, we marveled over the work Disney’s Imagineers put into the queue. It was just as interesting as the ride, and immersed us in Tibetan culture with its architectural details, theming, and storytelling. The prayer flags, pottery, climbing gear, outpost store, and–of course–warnings of the Yeti, made us feel as though we were entering a whole new world. 

It got me to thinking: 

How awesome of a job is that, being a Disney Imagineer? 

How awesome would be it be create new worlds?

Which leads me to my profound moment. As we stepped aside to wait for the front row, (it’s always front row for us,) it hit me:

I create worlds.

As writers and illustrators, we all get to create worlds. And characters. And history. And the future, the past, the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between.

Sit back and really, really think about it for a second.

We create worlds.

How cool is that?

I have to admit that there are times when I don’t appreciate this fact. I sometimes get so bogged down with plot, deadlines, or publishing in general that I forget how much of a blessing it is, having the ability to create worlds and cast it with characters of my choosing. So, I’m using my profound Disney moment as inspiration for this week’s exercise/challenge:

Exercise #10 / Conference Challenge #6:

Don’t you love it when books include a map at the beginning? Debra Wiles’s Love, Ruby Lavender has one. (Love her.) So does Sheila Turnage in her mid-grade novel, Three Times Lucky. (Love that.) Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has maps that are daunting and complex, but then again, their journey is very daunting and complex. (Haven’t read it yet, but will someday.)

So here’s our task for the week, both for writers and illustrators.

We’re going to create a map for a new world.

Something different from any current work in progress. You can do anything – a charming Main Street with labels for the eccentric storekeepers, a gritty, abandoned theme park, a futuristic shopping mall, or countryside in the Middle Ages, anything! It can be simple or daunting, just sent your clock for thirty minutes, put on your Disney ears, let you imagination flow, and HAVE FUN with this one!

You never know. This map could lead to your next project …

Happy writing and drawing, everyone!

Conference Challenge #1

Conference Challenge #2

Conference Challenge #3

Conference Challenge #4

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
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13 Responses to Writing Exercise #10 / Conference Challenge #6: Creating Worlds

  1. Miranda McClain says:

    I was just talking to my son about how much I love books with maps. I’ve been reading T.A. Barron’s Merlin books in preparation for the conference and they have terrific maps. This was a fun challenge. I actually drew two maps. One for the challenge I called Turtle pond. The pond not only is full of them but also is shaped like one. My 5 year old loves turtles so it’s for him. I also drew one for my current work in progress that I hope to add to later. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Sue Poduska says:

    This was a good exercise for one of my MG novels. Thanks! I had to figure out how to get the heroine home by a different route. I drew a really nice bike path through a park, as well as a city sidewalk. I might fill in the benches when I get a chance.

    • Laura Bowers says:

      Nice, Sue! I had an awesome time with this challenge as well. For some reason, it reminded me of how much I used to love coloring. 😉

  3. Sarah M says:

    Drawing is really not my thing! I used this challenge to come up with some places a mom might run by while on a marathon training run. Of course, very exaggerated since the story I hope to tell is from a daughter and son’s perspective of why mom is out running for so long. A map was a great way to brainstorm!

  4. This was the worst challenge for me. I am so non-artistic! But I drew a map of my “dream writing space” from challenge #3. 🙂 I’ll scan it in later and post it on my website with that challenge.

  5. Pingback: Conference Challenge #8: Preparing for a successful conference! | As the Eraser Burns

  6. Pingback: Writing Exercise #12: Quote it up | As the Eraser Burns

  7. Jenny Sokol says:

    Reluctantly made a map that, as it turns out, will help with my current writing project…so, thanks!

  8. I made a Queen Bees and Wanna Bees-style map of my MC’s church–with all the cliques mapped out.

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