World Building Lessons From Dolly Parton

What can a paranormal romance author learn about world building from a legendary country music singer? Well, when you’re sitting in one of her Dixie Stampede dinner theater shows, you can learn quite a bit about world building, setting the stage, pacing, mood, and more!

For our anniversary, my husband made reservations at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede production in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Don’t rush out to get your own reservation, after 18 years, the show has closed. (Dolly will reopen the production company this June after a major renovation to create a Pirate Adventure).

Talk about world building… and re-building!

But more to the point, the stage was set – or rather the world was built – from the moment we drove up. We were greeted by people in period costume, escorted into a hall styled like a country saloon, and amused by an expert entertainer (a juggler). The waitresses and bartenders were friendly and stayed in character as they bustled about serving drinks and snacks.

Inside the arena, an emcee set the tone for the evening and introduced talented riders and their horses as well as amusing acts in between, and inviting the audience to become a part of the show. The show was even written for Christmas, including a living Nativity I’ll never forget (and not just because of the silly white goat who decided to head-butt all the sheep).

The food was delicious, the service friendly and efficient and the show was absolutely amazing. The combination of fun storytelling, music running the gamut from foot-stomping to a quiet Christmas carol, and horses and riders displaying impressive skills, created a memorable experience for everyone.

Even more, we learned (first from the young man sitting next to us and later during a presentation within the show) how much Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede production has been involved in the Myrtle Beach community. Evidently, since the production came to the area, the company has given books to every child born in the county from birth through the child’s fifth birthday.

That’s a whole lotta books! As a paranormal romance author (and lifelong fan of reading) I was impressed.

So a show purposely designed to provide fun, family entertainment reinforced their world building efforts by extending those values to their host community. Getting involved and giving back meant a better experience for everyone involved.

When you’re world building for a paranormal romance the same keys apply. That first impression (even that very first line) lets the reader know what to expect. As the reader turns pages, paranormal romance authors keep the stage set with steady tension and pacing and description that enhances the mood of the story. Keeping the reader engaged with the character adventures gives them the best possible escape into the paranormal romance world you’ve built.

Then, as a paranormal romance author, you can give back to the community of readers through events, giveaways, social media, and sharing a little about you and what you care about.

Live the adventure!

For the fastest access to the worlds I’ve built for my paranormal romance novels, visit Amazon or your favorite bookseller today!

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