When I consider some of the most popular literary and pop culture universes of all time — Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Azeroth — as a writer, the prospect of creating any universe at all, even a small one, is honestly pretty daunting.
Beholding a well-established fictional universe can be equal parts inspiration and intimidation when we’re on the other side of the pen and paper, trying to give life to one of our own.
How can I create all that? Where do I even begin?
Being overwhelmed with such questions recently, I’ve been trying to use tools taught at a world building seminar at Dragon Con last year. Then, yesterday, when I posted this in honor of Mickey Mouse’s 87th birthday, I found a great deal of new inspiration in one of Walt’s famous quips:
I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.
I had always loved this quote simply out of pure Disney fandom. But reexamining it through a creator’s lens, I realize what a helpful reminder this is that world building starts with a single first step. There was a time when Disney wasn’t the vast multiverse it is today, a time when it was simply a mouse and a dream.
Being reminded of humble beginnings is very motivational for me. The question now is, what will my mouse be?