As a paranormal romance author I’ve learned a great deal from well crafted movies in the fantasy, sci fi, and romance genres. If you’re a fan of movies or television and, like me, you’re a fan of fantasy, you probably know new shows Once Upon a Time and Grimm have been out a couple weeks.
If you haven’t seen these shows yet and you do enjoy reading fantasy, romance, light horror, or otherwise paranormal stories, these shows will surely appeal to you.
Personally, I adore the rich and detailed world building they’ve done with Once Upon a Time. No, this adventurous fairy tale storyline is not strictly limited to the romance of Snow White and her Prince Charming, and it weaves other fairy tales into the large cast of characters.
The writers have done a fabulous job bringing it together, giving everyone detailed and believable motives and background and then carrying it forward (thanks to a nasty curse courtesy of the evil queen) into the modern era. And the world building details just make it all the more enjoyable.
Once Upon a Time shows it is possible to put a terrific new spin on the old classics and they pay homage to those classics with the flashbacks to the fairy tale world itself. It’s the blend of old and new, the layers of world building in both settings that makes this such a special show.
So how can that translate to paranormal romance writers or authors of any genre?
First of all the incredible scenery and costuming, along with the multi-layered characters, feeds an author’s creative side. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about this shadowy modern town. It’s a way to give back to yourself after all those hours at the keyboard.
Second, you can learn a lot about throwing your reader expected and unexpected twists and surprises along the way. Just when you feel hope blossom, the wicked queen (mayor of the modern setting) out maneuvers the good guy. This past episode, my romantic side thought they’d make a giant leap forward, and they did, but the writers promise it won’t be easy.
Cool- because the best triumphs never are.
Third, this show can really teach you about theme, if you let it. (It’s okay to just enjoy it, btw). Hope is a theme of fairy tales, and the writers have done an excellent job of translating that to the modern side without letting it get hokey. And the best part, for me as a paranormal romance author, is the way they’ve managed to vary that theme as it ripples out to the other characters.
Next time, I’ll tackle Grimm – just for all the action lovers out there!
Live the adventure!