Among the things M.T. Anderson talked about in his keynote address at last week’s SCBWI conference in LA was using our creativity to extend the worlds of our books. In addition to the example of futuristic slang in his FEED (which he did not mention), he pointed to language invented by Sean Beaudoin in a forthcoming book (which I think must be YOU KILLED WESLEY PAYNE coming in Feb 2011, but don’t quote me).
But the invention can reach far past the usual stuff. Language and maps are pretty routine among fantasy folks, though less routine among the writers of realistic stories. Similarly, new transportation devices and weapons are staples for sci-fi and alternate histories. But other possibilities are infinite. How about an invented religion? A club or association? A type of clothing? A holiday? Such stuff can not only help inform the world of the book, be an additional creative outlet for writers, and open new opportunities for reader interaction. Check out Anderson’s invented Tourist Guide to Delaware for a few unusual examples.
What invented stuff have you read lately that really lit your fire?