Nothing irks me more than when I’m reading, happily lost in wherever the author has carried me, and I come across a word or phrase that doesn’t fit the moment. I’m all about reading to build vocabulary, that’s not what I mean. I mean those moments when the prose is too twisted, a bit too clever maybe, or even just out of character.
How characters think and speak is an integral part of world building for a paranormal romance novel – or any genre. It helps weave the spell that keeps the reader immersed in the fantasy or romance or thrill ride.
As an author I’m guilty of it too, and it’s one thing I ask my beta readers to look for when they read for me. No, you can’t please everyone all the time with every phrase. But I try. If several beta readers get stuck on the same thing, I know something needs to change. I want to be sure that when readers open my novels, every possible aspect of the world building keeps them in the adventure.
Harsh, unexpected, or ill-fitting jargon is as troubling as finding Cleveland’s restored’57 Chevy (from the Shadows of Justice series) cruising through the streets and terrifying the horses and populace of of early 18th century London.
There’s a fun (distracting) site my web team pointed me to called Dack.com and it’s a BS generator. Which means you can play around taking a simple word or term and making it too complex for the moment.
For example, collaborative becomes “embrace interactive convergence” and engineer (since I live with so many analytics) becomes “benchmark efficient infomediaries”.
You can just imagine paging through a book, glued to the anticipation of a collaborative effort, only to read how your hero will “embrace interactive convergence” to catch the villain. Really? As a reader, that sort of jargon hiccup would bump me out of the carefully crafted world an author built for me to enjoy.
Dack.com is pretty much a fun exercise in time-killing. Unless, of course, you need help developing the vocabulary and speech patterns for an ultra techno-introvert or conversely, an obnoxious, extrovert dictionary salesman. (I think I sense a short story here…)
Hey, you’ve gotta use whatever works when it comes to world building for a paranormal romance novel.
Live the adventure!