Why is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy so compelling? How about The Matrix or Harry Potter? What makes these disparate worlds come alive are clear, consistent rules for how people, societies – and even the laws of physics – function in these fictional universes?

In this animated video from TED-Ed’s Writer’s Workshop, author Kate Messner shares the methods and questions she uses to build the worlds in which her books take place.

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‘Anyone who makes something for its own sake, whether you try to have it published or whether you’re just rearranging twigs on the ground because it pleases you, people who do that are artists.’

Jonathan Safran Foer is one of the most celebrated writers working in the English language today. He is best know for his two novels, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and for his first major work of non-fiction, Eating Animals. In this video recorded by  Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, View Post