Kids Listen Activity Podcast, Episode 52:
The Easy Way to Build Your Own Alternate Earth Part IV
This Week in the Multiverse is a podcast of skits and stories about alternate Earths. Recommended for the middle-grade set, ages 8+. More info at multiversethisweek.com.
This special Kids Listen Activity edition of the show springboards from a live interview we did with SpiderMan (not the one you're thinking about). Listen to the episode here.
After the episode, do the activity! Enjoy a final lesson on world building writing exercises for kids. See below.
World Tweak Your Way to a Story!
First, let’s review the five different world-tweaking techniques we’ve covered in previous episodes:
Give it a Goatee, taking elements of our world and making them the opposite, creating a mirror Earth. (i.e. Evil Gandhi)
9 ¾ It, taking elements from our reality and shifting them to fit another fictional setting, like a post-Apocalyptic Earth or Steampunk Earth. (i.e. your neighborhood, but everybody’s a cyborg)
Mad-Lib It, taking well-known people, places and other things and changing them by replacing a word in the name for another. (i.e. an Earth where everybody watches a movie series called “Star Peace”)
Catch that Cat Gator!, mixing and matching people, places or things to create hybrids that don’t exist on our Earth. (i.e. an armadillo labrador)
Rescue Rome!, imagining a historical event—big or small—and thinking about how it might have turned out differently. (i.e. an Earth where no one has invented the corn dog.)
Start to think of these ideas in the context of a story. Ask yourself questions like:
How would a person interact with Evil Gandhi, or suburban cyborgs, or a world without corn dogs?
Who’d be happy in this sort of Earth?
Who’d be unhappy?
What sort of change to this setting would affect a character and motivate them to go do something about it?
If you figure that out and you like where it may head, then you’ve got a story.
Disclaimer: Just don’t to go overboard. Sometimes it’s best to use a few of these ideas as your BIG IDEAS (cyborgs, Evil Gandhi) and the others as the details that get sprinkled in along the way (world without corndogs, unless the quest to create the world’s first corndog IS the story).