Stacks of fiction books randomly piled on dark brown wooden shelves

Which 1 Fiction World Would You Choose to Live in?

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?

Woman with long brown hair and blue blouse looking thoughtful with a large question mark near her head

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?

Kellepics, Pixabay 2022

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…

Long tousle-haired blonde woman in a long white skirt and burgundy 3/4 length sleeved sweater sitting on a rock reading fiction in the middle of a green grassy field with evergreen trees lining the horizon

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

Bored chestnut colored bulldog laying on the ground

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.

My Kobayashi Maru

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.

You’re turn!

 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.

Stop by the blogs of this month’s co-hosts and consider dropping a comment or two:  J Lenni Dorner, Janet Alcorn, PJ Colando, Jenni Enzor, and Diane Burton!

See my previous IWSG monthly blog question posts here:

4 tips for those stormy writing days

2 steps to better cope with those inevitably rough days as a writer

4 important questions to ask before writing scene with emotionally difficult subject

Happy Writing!

18 Comments

  1. I also chose speculative fiction. After all, that is what I read and what I write. But I never wanted power. What I always wanted was to live quietly and safely, and I think it is possible in some of the fantasy or sci-fi stories. I don’t have to be a hero there. I just want a source of a small income and a decent healer available. Running water would be nice too, so probably sci-fi and not fantasy. I think Bujold’s Vorkosigan universe would do best for me.

  2. I loved reading your decision making process. I went the easy way and chose a world I’d created. I don’t regret that, but it seems like you went the extra mile with this question. Great choice.

  3. Wow – you put a lot of analysis into this. I have to admit, when I read the question, Pern came to mind immediately and with a bit of thought, Narnia was a close second. Dragons and magic wardrobes have always been dear to my heart.

    1. Hi Lee- I’ve always loved the idea that I could walk through my closet to find a magical world waiting. Unfortunately, my closet is usually such a disaster that I’d never find my way to the inner, secret door. But definitely yes to dragons! Thanks for stopping by the post.

  4. Middle Earth was a pretty popular answer, as were other fantasy worlds.
    For the IWSG July prompt asking which book world I would live in, I narrowed it down to three choices.
    One is a short-story I published. One is from a popular series. And one is better known from television, but there are books. It’s all on my blog.
    “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett
    Over at Operation Awesome, our Pass or Pages query contest is open this week with July’s family saga genre. Know any writers who might want to enter?

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

  5. I am impressed with all the thought you put into the question! I’ve always known, in my heart, I am a Hobbit and should be living in a cozy hole in the ground. You can come visit me in the Shire if Middle Earth ever gets boring.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you- I will definitely have to visit you in the Shire. I have always admired Hobbits for their unashamed love of food. Second breakfasts are actually a thing at our house. Thanks for dropping by the post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.