World Building: Romancing The Setting Part 1

World building is critical to weaving a spell for the reader so they can escape into your novel and lose themselves in the story. It should be relatively seamless, and yet the setting or ‘world’ has to match the mood of the story you’re trying to tell.

Setting – and setting the stage – are tools you can hone to make the reader’s experience so memorable they want to come back for more! Here is the first of three ideas for your world building.

Part One: The Right Place

Where you choose to set your story is contingent on a variety of factors. You’ll have to decide what matters most to you from real world options to creating a brand new place for your characters to play. You’ll need to be sure the landscape (real or fiction) supports, enhances, or offers a challenging counterpoint for the characters and the story you want to tell.

I tend to choose cities I enjoy visiting or that I feel enhance the mood (dark or light) of the adventures I want to create. I might have been raised in the Midwest, but my hometown just doesn’t scream urban fantasy landscape to me. I’m not sure I’ll ever set a story there (I’ve tried) My hometown as a setting just doesn’t hold much appeal after I’ve been away for so long.

When a quick short story idea exploded into something bigger, I knew Chicago was the right anchor for what became my futuristic urban fantasy Shadows of Justice series. There are so many facets to that beautiful city and it’s been a blast creating a gritty and thrilling future there.

From gloomy alleyways to shining condos on Lakeshore Drive to secrets tucked away in the Field Museum, Chicago had everything I needed to let my imagination soar as I built my 2096 world. While those novels all have a strong romance, adventure and danger is the thing and the sheer array of options and obstacles for my characters keeps me excited about the stories I have yet to tell in that series.

While present day Chicago has plenty of room for romance, I pictured something ‘quieter’ when I ventured into the lighter paranormal romance Matchmaker series. The series has a much tighter focus on the romance, though there is an element of adventure as mythical creatures try to find (or avoid) their soulmates. So the first books are planted amid all the romance, wonder, and charm of  of Charleston, S.C.

Like Chicago, there is plenty of history and legends abound in Charleston – from real world to ‘otherworldly. While the heart of Charleston is vibrant, the pace and flow is different. With the art, churches, and gardens everywhere, it’s naturally a romantic destination. And there are so many options from restaurants to parks to shopping districts for my characters to enjoy romantic dinners, interludes, and a few conflicts too. 😉

Live the adventure!

Regan Black paranormal romance author


Today’s coffee art by journeyscoffee

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