Do you remember that feeling - the world was at your fingertips, there were no thousands of miles or oceans away from you and your dreams? Do you remember thinking one actor was the same actor in everything. That every face you saw and thought you knew, had to be someone in your family or from your school? There was no way it was a stranger...
I'd forgotten that until recently. When my mother told my children a story about my "so cute" days of kindergarten.
The Story: a friend of mine was out for one whole week of kindergarten. Toward the end of the week when no one had mentioned her absence, I started getting worried. Before I went into full-on hyperventilating mode, I asked the teacher what had happened to my dear friend. She had been gone for-EVER. The teacher patted my head and in the most soothing voice said, "Oh, honey. She's at Disney World."
That was the best thing I could have heard. She wasn't hurt, or sick, or even far away. Everyone knew what Disney World was, and more importantly: where it was. Disney World was that big castle that we passed sometimes on important trips. I'd seen it before, just not up close.
Here's the "so cute" part. I don't live in Florida, lovely reader. I live in Southwest VA. And in my youth moms and dads didn't drive all around town and into different cities/counties, unless it was necessary. Therefore, I didn't go into a certain area of the city often. And when I did, there was this grand (Disney World Castle Huge to little 5 year old me), gorgeous Catholic church. Which I always thought was Disney World.
Exhibit Faux Disney World:
So, it's not all fairy tales and princesses like the real Disney World, but it was just far enough out of my small world to be the exotic, real deal.
Anyhow, this childhood story got me thinking about fictional stories and creating those phenomenal worlds that millions of readers clammer to read. Think of your favorite escapism stories. I'd bet they're based on huge worlds filled with secrets and well developed characters - all while existing in the small confines of the main characters bubble of space. Even when the main characters go off on an adventure it always exists within their small world. And it usually involves secrets only they know about - secrets into this bigger world.
Just a thought for all my writer friends out there: Make your story as huge as it can be, in your characters close-to-home space. Excitement paired with the relatability factor will pull readers in every time.
I hope this makes sense. If you have any thoughts to add feel free to leave them in the comments.