I get my hair colored tomorrow, but that’s probably not why you checked in. This is supposed to be a world building day… although hair color can be vitally important to the real world we build for ourselves. But, I digress.
As a paranormal romance author, I’ll admit, hair color is something I often have to go back and double check as I’m crafting my novels. My beta readers are even warned to watch for it.
In short stories I usually keep pertinent details together without a cheat sheet, but for whatever reason, in the process of writing my paranormal romance or urban fantasy novels and learning more and more about my characters, the hair color changes (often without warning).
Sure, as the author you’d think I’d naturally be in charge of things like that. Unless you’re also an author, in which case you probably understand how myriad details can get blurry as the story charges forward and attempts to take over. Writing Trina, the alpha female assassin in Tracking Shadows, was a recent exception. I never once forgot she was a sultry red head.
Years ago while reading an epic romance novel, no matter how the author described the heroine’s hair, I pictured the woman as a blonde. It still throws me when I re-read that fabulous romance, or the other novels where that dynamic woman makes a cameo appearance, that the author insists she’s a brunette.
But I didn’t build that world or those characters…
When world building for a paranormal romance novel, authors often have other things on their mind. Setting and circumstance and other elements can seem far more important to the story than hair color. But hair color is an important world building element of any novel, simply because it helps your reader identify with and create a mental image of your characters.
It’s a detail, sure, and it doesn’t have to come into play or be mentioned in every scene, but you want the reader to have the best possible experience as they read your books.
World building for a paranormal romance novel encompasses everything from vivid characters to anything-goes settings. As trivial as it might sound, hair color is a part of that.
And who knows, maybe coloring my hair will inspire me to write boldly in new directions or even build new worlds.
Live the adventure!