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Building Fantasy Worlds With Kids

"Owning things of value is secondary to creating things of value where none once existed."

Brandon Sanderson, Shadows of Self

Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson has played a key role in my writing-with-grandkids adventure. I read many of his series—e.g., The Way of Kings, Mistborn, Wax & Wayne, and Skyward—and listened to his podcasts to better understand fantasy worldbuilding. In his YouTube training sessions, Sanderson shares details about creating his fantasy books.

My approach to midgrade books took an unexpected turn when I introduced Sanderson’s Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series—which he wrote with input from his young sons—to Brady when he was ten years of age. 

 

Brady sent me the following text on 8:57 PM on January 8, 2021 

Text: “I finished the 1st book of Evil Librarians!!! I am so happy ☺”

Sanderson’s abundant illustrations, tied to the text, made it easier for Brady to transition from humor books to a text-driven novel.


Brady’s reading accomplishment inspired me to add illustrations and maps to Star Life Keepers.

  • Place & Time

  • Characters & Creatures

  • Everyday Life

  • Magic Systems & Spirituality

  • Technology & Warfare

Examples of Worldbuilding

Here is the model we follow in creating the Dragon & Dinosaur Chronicles world along with some examples.

Kids & Dogs

Brady wanted to include a dog in Dragon & Dinosaur Chronicles based on Max, my Golden Retriever.

 

So, we created Max the Wolfhound, which the midgrade beta readers asked us to put in more scenes.

Astronomy Rings & Magic Systems

Brady and I decide to use some kind of magical astronomy jewelry to activate the Star Globe and launch time travel through Orion’s belt.

We first explored the idea of having the protagonists use a traveler’s sundial pendant...but it seemed a bit cumbersome.

I then bought an inexpensive astronomy ring, which Brady and his brother Caleb both liked.

Brady came up with the idea of activating the Star Globe when the kids’ rings touch. His idea worked so well it became a key part of the Star Life Keepers story! 

Fun Stuff

As a subscriber to our newsletter, you can receive a free pdf that goes into more detail about worldbuilding for Dragon & Dinosaur Chronicles. There is also an electronic chapter from Star Life Keepers about Jason, Amanda, Elisa, and their elven friends who must work together to stop the attack of a Flying Raptor (Velocidactyl).

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