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What Color is the Sky?

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The grass flickered, briefly.


“Is that normal?”

“Yeah, it does that. Happens when the author doesn’t specify what our world looks like.”


Some of the strongest willed people in their world were able to change details. Nothing major- it was impossible to rewrite what the author had written. That took another author. But sometimes a character had enough soul in them to change what the author had only implied. With the best works, almost half of the characters could world write.


“Class, what color is the sky?”

“Red and Gold.”

“No, Anthony.”

“Um, Ms. Hill…. He’s right.”


If it wasn’t specifically written into the text, just assumed, any character could change it. Sometimes the world had a tendency to… adjust itself. Little things. Maybe they woke up and the sun shone, but it shone white, instead of yellow. Or the houses were suddenly made of brick instead of wood.


“What does your house look like, bub?”

“I dunno. It was yellow last time I saw it.”


It wasn’t intentional. It just resulted from lack of detail. It really didn’t take much to keep it steady. A quick sentence describing the lake kept the water blue. A single word made the trees oaks instead of willows. (Or wood instead of brick, but that’s a different story.)


“Why can’t she have written ‘oak’? Just that one little word!? I dinna want to walk to the Blue Mountains for firewood!”


That was the problem with being fictional. They assumed their world was mostly normal, but if the author didn’t tell them that, well, sometimes it caused issues. Hard to trust…. Anything, really… if anyone can change almost anything.


“Old Man McDaniel was poisoned? How do you know?”

“Because carrots don’t normally make him foam at the mouth!”


It sometimes came down to the writing. If a stubborn minor character decided the clouds should normally look like dragons, but a very shy supporting character wanted them to be cats, it depended on a lot of things. One of them was belief. There were a dozen ways to phrase it, but every change happened because a character truly believed that it was true and said so out loud.


“You idiotic floor, I know you’re an ice rink! Show yourself already!”


Part of it was how much it matched what was implied. If there was a scene where characters were fleeing the volcano, the one who wanted it to spew ice was going to win out over someone wanting it to erupt in pillows. (Much as the characters might prefer this…)


“…keyboard, keyboard, come on, I need a keyboard!”

“Forget it, Q. Run!”


Another part was the character’s personality. Someone written as very motherly would have an easier time world writing if they did it for someone they saw as a child. There are legends of mothers who literally moved the world for their children, because it was never written that they couldn’t.


“What color is the sky, Mum?”

“What color would you like it to be, dear?”


Certain characters have more or less power to change anything during different points. Main characters were at an advantage while their stories were being written, because they could whisper their hopes and dreams directly to the author. But once the story was finished, they were almost entirely unable to change their worlds. Lesser known characters, however, kept a low level of power throughout their lives. The most overall power was granted to secondary characters. They were mentioned enough that they had the power and characterization to use their gifts, but not so locked down as a main character was.


“John, I need you to believe very hard that the road is made of something soft.”

“What?! Why? Why me?!”

“I’m the title character! Do you really think I have the power to change a caterpillar into a butterfly right now? I need to wait until the next season, and by that time we will be quite definitely a small spot on the pavement!”

“Oh. That’s a bit not good, there.”


The grass flickered, and suddenly disappeared.