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Daily Dose | World Building for a Paranormal Romance

January 6, 2010

The Daily Dose
Smattering of Romance, Paranormal, and General Observations
Have you ever wondered about the process of world building for a paranormal romance? Most paranormal romances are set in the contemporary world that looks an awful lot like our own with a few exceptions. The twist in most paranormal romances is the presence of the paranormal. That requires a certain amount of world building.

Understanding the Rules

Readers and writers have one thing in common where new worlds are concerned. They need to understand the rules of that world. In TWILIGHT, for example, vampires are created when one vampire bites a human and injects venom. If the human survives the venom’s effects, they become a vampire. If not, they die. No matter whether they transform or die, the process is excruciating and takes about 48 to 72 hours. This is important information for the audience because it’s a different take on the creation of the vampire.

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the blood swap between vampire and victim is necessary and the victim must die. Then you wait to see if they rise again. Apparently, it doesn’t always happen. However, when the victim rises as a vampire, they are not that person as a vampire, instead the soul is gone and a demon moves in. Again, this is important information for the audience to know because it establishes the rules for that world.

Supernatural Out in the Open

Nancy HolznerIn both of those examples, the supernatural elements are “secret” from the world at large. When you bring the supernatural out into the world, you open up a completely new can of worms. For Nancy Holzner‘s DEADTOWN this means cordoning off part of Boston as the “deadtown” and giving Massachusetts the “Monster”chusetts nickname as well as making those supernatural creatures fight for their rights.

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