Hello, I’m Rebecca Rivard. First, I want to thank Natasha Lane for inviting me on her blog today! As a paranormal romance author, I create worlds with magical creatures like shifters, fae and vampires. I have books in two series—my own Fada Shapeshifter series and Michelle Fox’s Vampire Blood Courtesans series. When I started my Fada Shapeshifter series, I wanted my books to stand out in the crowded world of paranormal/fantasy romance. So, I set out to create a world that’s a little different—but that seems alive, real. To my delight, I succeeded, since readers often say they don’t want to leave my world. How do you build a fantasy world/paranormal world that readers want to visit again and again? Here are some tips.
1) Study your favorite fantasy/paranormal world(s).
Setting: Is the series set in the real world with magical elements such as Harry Potter (paranormal) or an imaginary world such as Faerie or Middle Earth (fantasy)? What is the geography and the socio-political system?
Magic: Note the rules for magic—and yes, your magic must have its own, consistent rules.
Origin story: A good fantasy world has its own origin story, one that affects the characters’ beliefs and actions. For example, the origin story may be celebrated with its own holiday.
I could go on, but for a thorough list of world building questions, check out this post by Patricia C. Wrede on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America website: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/
2)Give it a twist. Is everyone else writing fantasy worlds based on medieval times? Then create a fantasy world set in a different time; for example, 1920s steampunk, as my friend L. Penelope did in her Earthsinger Chronicles (coming in 2018 from St. Martin’s Press).
Are all the paranormal romance authors writing about wolf and cat shifters? Then write about dolphin and shark shifters, as I do in the first few novels of my Fada series.
Do most authors draw on Celtic mythology? Then draw on the rich mythological traditions of Greece, China or West Africa.
3)Don’t drown the reader in details. Details make your magical world come alive—but too many, and the story gets lost in the descriptions of how the world works. Strike a balance. Not sure how? Again, note how your favorite authors handle it.
4)Above all, the reader must believe in your world. You can make up your own rules—the sky’s the limit for fantasy—but within the world, the rules must be consistent. For example, if your werewolves only shift during the full moon, you can’t have them suddenly being able to shift at another time of the month.
Bonus tip: Keep a bible for your world. If you don’t have a series bible, start one. Now. You won’t be sorry. Mine lists characters’ names, descriptions, magical Gifts, relationships, etc. I also include photos of the character if available.
My series bible also includes powers and other information specific to that particular type of being. For example, my sun fae are glittery, fun-loving fae who take energy from the sun, while my night fae are vampire-like creatures who feed on dark emotions like anger or jealousy.
Some authors use a spreadsheet. Some authors assign colors to each book or type of character. I use tables in MS Word. Just choose a system that makes sense to you and that you can easily update.
My series bible is broken into different files for shifter clans, fae clans and humans. Add it all together and it’s approaching 80K words. That may sound like a lot, but most of it is descriptions or notes copied from the novels themselves. Having it organized into a series bible makes it much easier to search for the information.
Author Bio:
USA TODAY bestselling author Rebecca Rivard read way too many romances as a teenager, little realizing she was actually preparing for a career. She now spends her days with dark shifters, sexy fae and alpha vampires—which has to be the best job ever.
Rebecca’s books have twice been awarded the prestigious Crowned Review from InD’Tale Magazine, and her novel Tempting the Dryad (#3, Fada Shapeshifters) is a 2017 RONE Finalist. Her Vampire Blood Courtesans Romance, Ensnared, was a Night Owl Reviews Top Pick (5 stars). Her latest release is Saving Jace (#4, Fada Shapeshifters) which will be out on Sept. 25.
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