Tuesday’s quote from Marie Curie (about believing in your gifts and yourself) leads right into my thoughts on world building today. Anyone who’s friended me on Facebook or twitter knows I’m a fan of the Burlesque movie, so it won’t be a surprise that I’m using it as an example of excellent world building for paranormal romance novels.
But wait! Burlesque isn’t a paranormal romance novel…
You’re right. It’s a movie I expected to be good, fun entertainment that turned out to be a fabulous show featuring incredible vocal performances, great acting, a wonderful surprise cameo, and a great message about knowing yourself, trusting your talent, and following the dream in your heart.
It’s also a movie that was wonderfully crafted and tells the story with such vivid visuals – and tight spotlights – that authors can pick up all kinds of tips from character arcs to…you guessed it world building.
When you’re world building for a paranormal romance novel, you can choose to create (or recreate) everything or nothing. You can use a known place, or develop a brand new, perfectly lovely or terrifying place for your characters. In Burlesque the city is familiar enough: Los Angeles. And the story looks familiar enough: small town girl arrives with big dreams.
But the powers that be with Burlesque created a world inside LA and kept the spotlight locked on the story they wanted to tell, both on the stage and off. Like paranormal romance writers, they came to ‘forks in the road’ of the world they built, but the choices they made kept the story on the path they wanted.
One example: Ali’s robbed shortly after she arrives in Los Angeles. The directors could take a dark turn, showing the dangerous edge of Ali’s new neighborhood and new life, but they kept the spotlight on how Ali moves forward (and stays in character), going to the only safe place she can think of – until she can get back on her feet.
They gave us a taste of the challenges of a single young woman alone in the big city without taking their collective foot off the pedal of the inspiring, seductive and fun story they were telling in their ‘let your imagination fill in the blanks’ world of the burlesque club.
I believe movies can teach paranormal romance writers a great deal – regardless of the movie’s genre. Burlesque is a bonus, in my opinion. It offers lessons on everything from personal perseverance to character development to world building for paranormal romance novels.
And no, they didn’t pay me to write this.
Live the adventure!
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