September, 29

Word Watch: Paracosm

Featured in:

Last May, Wired Magazine’s Clive Thompson filed an interesting piece about the utility of fan fiction and its relationship to the concept of paracosms — imaginary realms replete with their own well-imagined geographies, flora and fauna, which often belie certain psychological dispositions on the part of their inventors.

As Thompson writes:

“Paracosms are the fantasy worlds that many dreamy, imaginative kids like to invent when they’re young. Some of history’s most creative adults had engaged in ‘worldplay’ as children. The Bronté siblings, in one famous example, concocted paracosms so elaborate that they documented them with meticulous maps, drawings, and hundreds of pages of encyclopedic writing.”

Thompson’s piece suggests that the worldplay demonstrated in fan fiction is a form of “practical creativity” that can have positive application in one’s work life. As Thompson points out:

Fleshing out a universe demands not just imagination but an attention to detail, consistency, rule sets, and logic. You have to grapple with constraints — just as when you’re problem-solving at work.

And sometimes, it can lead to book deal as in the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, which began its bestselling life as a Twilight fan fiction and then evolved into its own world (thank goodness for “find and replace” eh?).

Read Clive Thompson’s piece.

Find us on

Latest articles

- Advertisement - spot_imgspot_img

Related articles

Shit, I Missed Banned Books Week

Despite all of the press releases, despite all the bookstore banners, and despite the groundswell of media...

Two Buck Chuck 20th Anniversary

As the wine world raises a glass to the late Fred Franzia, the unorthodox businessman behind the...

Under the Influencer: The Cost of ‘Free Beer’

I’m not an “influencer.”  I’m not even a diminution of an influencer like a micro-influencer or nano-influencer, which...

Sterling Lord, Agent Provocateur

Not only was the recently passed Sterling Lord the literary agent of Jack Kerouac, he had, as...

The Dangers of Monetizing Creativity

When you’re a broke-ass-art-person, there are about a million podcasts and blogs and online courses encouraging you...