Stories have the amazing ability to stick with us and fire our imagination even after the supposed end. We want to journey into familiar (fiction) worlds to find unfamiliar places, and these days it’s much easier than it used to.
I read this article on The Guardian about JK Rowling revealing new magic schools across the globe, and I started wondering about everything that has come from the Harry Potter books. Spin-off books such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (and the upcoming movie), Pottermore, toys, theme parks, theater plays…
We love the world of Harry Potter and fortunately for the fans, Rowling loves it even more as she continues to develop it.
When writing fantasy and sci-fi especially, worldbuilding plays a huge role. You have to create rules for your new world and society, you have to know how the laws of magic work in the universe, how the story got to the point where it is now. While gathering all this information, you’re bound to run into a few characters who just won’t get enough “screen time” in your actual novel.
Still, big part of worldbuilding never makes it to the final product, but it lays the groundwork. It gives us something to expand in case we wish to. That’s where the usual prequel-sequel-juggling comes to play, but there’s so much more to it than that.
The worlds we create exist (or at least they should) beyond the scope of the novel. We have other important locations, other factions, other law systems if we just travel far enough to meet them.
I think that’s the appeal with places like Pottermore. We want to travel into the world we loved so much. We want to know the little bits of information that had no relevance in the Harry Potter saga. We want to know the side characters better.
And in this day and age, it’s so easy. You can post stories online in a heartbeat, either on a blog or even on places like Amazon. I’ve noticed at least a lot of indies following this road, creating character arcs and short stories that fill out the gaps in the main novels. Additionally there are huge communities that write their own pieces of the worlds they love.
Of course not every story gets a following big enough to create much additional content. But it’s still fun to wonder about it and think about how ordinary life is beyond the novel’s end.
Which universe would you like to know more about and see expanded? Or do you feel all these expansions take away from the charm of the core story?
Writers, how often do you wonder about what happened after your stories? Have you written/would you consider writing “extra” stories about the things that didn’t quite make it the first time?