Posted by: kshayes513 | May 18, 2013

Worldbuilding While Mowing the Lawn

I’m having some fun with mundane chores today. What do you think about while you’re mowing the lawn?

A fantasy fan thinks, “I wonder if Sam Gamgee would like having a power lawnmower for all that grass on top of Bag End? Or would he would think a gas mower is a noisy, smelly Sharkey machine?”

A science fiction fan thinks, “Could you grow a lawn on a big space station? How well would grass grow in microgravity? Does it ever need to be mowed and how would you mow it? Is it a good enough source of oxygen to be worth the space and energy, or do you grow it mainly for crew morale?”

A gamemaster  thinks, “How would I use a lawn like this in the game scenario? Hmm, big open space, no cover but also no obstacles, so the player characters could cross it really fast. What magical traps could it have to slow them down?  What could attack them from the air while they’re distracted by the traps on the ground?”

A literary writer thinks, “How does my protagonist feel about mowing the lawn? Did she have to mow it as punishment as a child, or resent that her brother got to use the mower and she didn’t? Did she not have a lawn because she lived in an apartment or a tenement? Does she think having a lawn to mow is a sign of success, or that success is having a lawn service? Does she care about success?”

A horror writer thinks, “What if this lawnmower were possessed by a demon or a ghost? The ghost of a boy who was sexually abused by a neighbor whose lawn he mowed? What does a possessed lawnmower try to do to the living? Has anyone written about a possessed lawnmower before? Maybe the lawn is possessed and attacks the lawnmower….”

A worldbuilder thinks, “Do they have lawns in my space colony world? What would the lawns be made of? Imported Earth grass, some local plant, a genetically modified plant or a synthetic- the future version of astro turf? Who has lawns, and who doesn’t? What is the lawn’s cultural significance in the new colony? Does everyone want to make the colony more Earthlike by planting lawns? Or do some people think that wanting a lawn means you haven’t truly committed to your new home world, that you’re still hanging onto Earth? Do Asian or African colonists even give a shit about lawns?”

Scientists studying creativity have proven what writers and other creatives have known for centuries: doing simple, repetitive chores is a great way to stimulate the right brain’s creative processes. This week, have some fun with all your daily chores by thinking about how they are done – or not done – in whatever world you’re building.

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