Size matters! Just visit any fast-food restaurant and you’ll discover a wealth of choices just about size. What? Did you think I was going to use a different example? 😉
Regardless of the first thing to pop into your mind at the phrase ‘size matters’, when it comes to world building for paranormal romance or urban fantasy novels, size – meaning the depth and intensity of the world building – is actually important.
There are oodles of options and factors to explore, weigh, and accept or discard when you’re building a world that will be perfect for your characters. Tolkien developed Middle Earth – a massive, fantastic place where his characters journeyed through so many astounding, bigger than life adventures.
I’ve been to a Sherrilyn Kenyon world building class – it was awesome – and I’ve read nearly everything she’s written. Some of her books are set in unique, bigger than life worlds built from scratch (like Lords of Avalon) while others (the Dark Hunter series) are set in real-world places that are familiar to readers.
You might think a real world backdrop is on the smaller end of the size matters scale of world building, but when you choose a real place to plant your book, the details matter. Research is just as important as imagination when you’re developing that backdrop for your characters, and ultimately your reader.
In the Shadows of Justice series, I used the city of Chicago – as it might look by 2096. Sure planting the series in the future gives me plenty of room for my imagination. But because I love the city so much, I always want to do it the honor of showing readers what makes it unique and wonderful.
Every time I dig into a Shadows of Justice story, whether it’s a short, a novella, or a full length novel, I go back and do more research on Chicago’s history. For me that’s the best way to connect, to find the pulse of the city, to uncover and share what defines it.
Then I let my female heroines and their alpha male counterparts venture through their own adventures to the ideal happy ever after.
Do you prefer super-sized world building in your novels?
Live the adventure!