Last night, during my interview with ParaYourNormal on Blog Talk Radio, Kelli McCracken, Jess and I were chatting about what we love best about reading and writing paranormal romance novels. All three of us seemed to agree that it’s the wide range of possibilities available within the story. The conversation got me thinking about what I love best within the worlds building for paranormal romance novels and why.
The stand out settings of paranormal romance novels is much of the draw. Whether it’s alternate reality, history, contemporary, or futuristic the setting is imperative to the reader’s experience with the characters.
As authors we’re often told to ‘make the setting a character’ and in world building for a paranormal romance novel, this is especially important. It means setting solid ground rules and carefully constructing the framework the characters will venture through.
That doesn’t mean smothering the reader with the type of brick and number of windows in each building, but rather giving them a flavor and overview of the environment that will work for or against your characters as the story moves forward to a satisfying conclusion.
Additionally, in world building for a paranormal romance novel, the supernatural element – whatever it is – must be planned out thoroughly. Whether you put your own spin on a Roman or Celtic pantheon, or create your own death and taxes system for vampires, werewolves, or ghosts, you need to be sure you stick to your set up. Those rules give the reader a context and shouldn’t be broken without a reasonable cause and effect.
For example, in the Sixth Sense, director M. Night Shyamalan kept to his rules and only dressed certain characters in red. Most viewers didn’t even realize it as they watched the movie, but it sent a subtle cue to the viewer and became a vital clue to the development of the characters in the story.
This is exactly the sort of thing that matters when world building for a paranormal romance novel and has a profound effect on the reader. The overview is important, but the details make or break it for the reader. If your hero can’t fly, but needs to, there has to be a valid reason and plot progression to help him overcome and succeed.
Readers turn to paranormal romance novels to escape, but a reader won’t buy into magic wand theory unless you show them the wand was there and endowed with power that the characters could access after they completed the right challenges.
It may sound contradictory that fiction has to be more true than reality, but the world building for a paranormal romance novel has to be more logical and more structured or it won’t be believed.
Live the adventure!