‘Planetoplasty’ is a fancy word I’ve contrived to describe ‘worldbuilding’ (a popular term used by fantasy and science fiction authors) where we’re using the old and familiar (planet Earth) to contribute ideas to creating the new and unfamiliar as a landscape for our writing and other creative outlets.
I’ve always wanted to create a fantasy world (or universe) from scratch, and had the idea to make it open source, usable by anyone – i.e. public domain, copyright-free. That means, treat the concepts here as you would the real world, as ideas of locations for your own stories and creative projects.
That doesn’t mean it’s linear, like a chain story, or that you submit your stories to this blog. Just go away inspired and treat the imaginary planet – let’s call it ‘Crud’ (another name for dirt, or Earth) – just as if it IS Earth. Nobody owns it, nobody can sue you for writing or publishing a story set in it. It’s a resource, a prompt, for you to practise and showcase your creativity, or even to profit from having been inspired by.
You can write magical stories, or steampunk stories. You can introduce your take on zombies or vampires. You can write about glamour or dystopia. You can write one-shot horror flash fiction for adults, or a series of illustrated children’s fairytales. You can invent religions, or invade it with aliens and blow it up altogether. Crime fiction, satire, thrillers, romances, farming manuals, and even speculative cookery books can all be based here. You may take it as seriously or treat it as derisively as you wish. The kiss-and-tell autobiography of a Crudling pioneer? The diaries of a Cloud Islander family who are afraid of heights? Bring it on…
Your stories and original Crudling characters and creature creations are your own intellectual property, and unless you suggest them here officially to be part of the open source, open-to-everyone concept that is ‘Crud’ they belong to you to do with as you wish – write, publish, film, sing, paint, eradicate – it’s up to you.
Remember it’s a big world our imaginations live in, and that there’s room for everyone and for anything to happen. You can open portals from it onto worlds of your own. You can be witty or serious, romantic or apocalyptic. You can write about it, draw it, paint it, perform plays and produce films set in it. Everyone can.
You can even use it as an Alternate Universe (AU) setting for fan-fiction – only remember that if you land a TARDIS on it, or Imperial Stormtroopers turn up on Crud expecting to find the droids they’re looking for, you can only profit from those sort of stories if you are indeed the BBC and own the rights to Doctor Who, or are Lucasfilm/Disney and own the rights to Star Wars. (All are welcome).
If you have been inspired by Planetoplasty, let me know by leaving a comment, a link to your work or to your product page. I’d love to see your interpretation.
18 June 2014: Added to the creative collaboration website HitRecord.
For more on world-building as taught by the genius that is Terry Pratchett, click here.
More to come… check back again soon 🙂