Ah! Fiction books. Those pages that hold the doors wide open to other worlds, allowing the reader to venture in. Those worlds can excite us, calm us, thrill us. They can trigger fear, tears, and evoke deep memories.
IWSG Question of the Month!
Have you ever wondered, out of all the books you’ve read, all the worlds you’ve experienced, which one you’d live in, given the choice? That’s exactly this month’s question being explored by the Insecure Writers Support Group network of authors across all our blogs.
Check out my answer below, add your’s to the comment section, and follow the links at the bottom of this post to other IWSG bloggers. This is a great chance to network with other supportive writerly types.
So… which book world to live in?
I thought I had an easy instant answer to this month’s question. But it was followed by several changes of mind, as so many other choices made their way back to my memory. This was a great exercise for me, bringing back memories of stories long forgotten, but loved.
The one consistency with every fiction option I mulled over?
All my true choices were from fantasies.
Sure, I thought about living in a riveting thriller as a detective (check out Dave Edlund’s series). But honestly, after living on the edge of danger for several hundred pages of my life, the continuous exhaustion would wear thin. Horror was never an option. I mean, I still can’t go to sleep without checking under the bed—a good 30 years after my introduction to the likes of Stephen King.
How to choose…how to choose?
Fantasy is a natural home for me. The worlds of dragons, wizards, fairies, and elves spun their way into my heart as a youth, where they remain firmly nestled today. My childhood was filled with The Hobbit and stories about Merlin and King Arthur. Even A Wrinkle in Time offered the concept of the tesseract—which I fully regretted not having mastered on the “few” occasions I found myself in detention in high school.
When my own children began to read, I took great joy watching them devour the fantastical adventures penned so many fabulous authors. I’ll unabashedly admit to frequently “borrowing” their books after lights-out—everything from Inkheart (by C. Funke) to the magical creature sanctuaries in Fablehaven (by Brandon Mull), to the Heir Chronicles (Cinda Williams Chima). Percy Jackson (yes, all of them!) and A Shattered Realm Series (Chima Williams, again) found their way into my heart. Christopher Paolini made an appearance, as well. Yes…the list goes on and on…
Of course, I read through the flurry of dystopian stories that the kids brought home, from The Hunger Games to Divergent.
But after the last of those were read and the trend passed, I wandered back to the library, blew the dust off an old Merlin saga, flipped on the light, and turned to page 1. Again.
But choosing one story to live in forever? Hmmm…
Weighing the options
In making these permanent life-altering decisions, I’m sure you’ll agree a certain amount of practicality is warranted. Safe stories, where little danger lies amidst the chance to frolic with fairies and wizards, would be boring, after the initial awe. As the spunky, trouble-making young Seth mumbled in Fablehaven, after the newness of finding fairies in a magical garden turned to boredom, “Oh, look, another fairy.” (Of course, his boredom inspired all sorts of trouble worth reading about.)
On the other hand, constant peril, with dragons trying to eat me for dinner and the Sauron’s of the world threatening an evil takeover in just about every chapter, would certainly become no fun by the midpoint of my character arc in the realm.
It seems like a no-win scenario: just picking a book fantasy world in which to live. Without actually being one of the powerful characters I so love in the stories, I risk the dissatisfaction of watching the story evolve around me—of being there, but not being part of the story.
But…if I’m able to pick who I am in the book world, my answer becomes much easier. So, I’m changing the rules of the question, just a tiny bit. (Or, as Star Trek’s Spock would say, I’m cheating).
The real question needs to be: “What character in a story world would you love to be, if you could?
As a youth, my answer would have strayed toward the dangerous, exotic, powerful beings- the Red Sonya types of Conan the Barbarian. Or Xena, Warrior Princess, because she was such a badass with that sword!
As an adult, I tend toward the powerful, but safe. The Lady of the Lake has long inspired other stories in my heart—I feel she is totally underutilized! And actually being Merlin would fulfill my childhood and adult self, quite well.
Not so easy, is it?
Wow- this month’s question seemed so easy at first! And here I am 2 pages in, still sorting out my desires. But I’ve finally made a decision: for me, the best choice lands me with immortality (yes, I slipped in a bit of selfishness, there) and magical powers in a world of mythical creatures. I choose to live in Tolkien’s Middle Earth as Galadriel, living amidst the elves, knowing that when my character arc is done, and the reader closes the book for the last time, I will find myself in Valinor, living out a blissful eternity. Kind of makes it exciting, but safe, all around.
If YOU could pick one fiction world to live in from the piles of stories you’ve read, which would it be, and how did you decide? Share in the comments section, below.
Need a supportive writing community?
So many social media groups have a poor return on time, negative interactions, and a general toxicity that leave some writers sitting in the wings, spectating, afraid to ask questions, but hoping to garner tips. The IWSG is NOT like that. It’s a very supportive group of writerly folks. Go check it out here and consider becoming a future IWSG blog hopper or join our discussion on Facebook.
See my previous IWSG monthly blog question posts here: