Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | September 29, 2012

World Creation–Quasi Existing Worlds

I come from years in science fiction and fantasy as a short story author and more recently an associate editor with Space and Time Magazine (not a romance venue).  When many of the female science fiction and fantasy authors turned their attention to romance, the genre began having greater in-depth world building.

A lot of romance happens in the real world whether contemporary or historical.  Then there’s the paranormal authors.  They have a choice.  To create a world or to use an existing world.  This week I’m going to talk about Quasi Existing Worlds.

It’s easier to use what you have and know than to create.  So start with a place you know very well, and alter just one area or put in an additional area that only your hero or heroine can see.  An example would be Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

For my Vampires in Manhattan series, I used New York City extensively.  My supernaturals run businesses that serve both humans and the supernaturals alike whether it’s working in the garment district, having a florist shop, or being a waitress in a coffee shop.   Then there are places that look like an office building, but it serves the the supernatural community.  I believe in using hide in plain sight.  Make the differences subtle and intriguing so they are more memorable. But for the human populations, these places and buildings blend in.

In The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais, I moved the action from the Big Apple to the Big Easy.  Hurricane Katrina was a natural fit as it caused mayhem for the humans but didn’t appear to affect the vampires in the book.  I say appear since in fact, the hurricane moved the plot with a fury.   I used what I knew about the French Quarter and added Marchon’s bar that caters exclusively to vampires.

In When Love Survives, I was inspired by the heroism on the darkest day of New York City history when the Twin Towers fell in a terrorist attack.  New Yorkers came together.  In the story, the supernatural community came out to help, including two rescue workers that fell in love while working to save lives.

To create your quasi existing world, you can add a little or just use your real world and filled it with a diversity of human and supernatural characters living together in a day to day existence.

Next week I’ll explore creating worlds of your own.

–Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley
http://www.susanhannifordcrowley.com
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!

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Responses

  1. Yes, I think people try way too hard to create a world from scratch that is totally different from anything else. One downside of this is that it doesnt’ give the reader reference points. When I started to write my novel Dark Side of the Moon about a murder on a Lunar Colony, I decided instead of going the traditional lunar colony route of having big metal buildings with doors that went whoosh, to build the colony underground and make it like a small town with it’s own weather, parks, stores, etc. I patterned the town after a couple of small towns I lived in and I got some Ideas from Gerald K O’neill’s High Frontier, a book from the 70’s about how to build an oribting space habitat.

    It made it much easier for me to create this “exotic” environment by adapting what I knew. It also gave the reader a sense of grounding. They get sucked into the ordinariness of the world I built and then something pops up like a holographic mirror in a dressshop or kids creating games from skimming over craters on the surface and they realize they ain’t in Kansas anymore.

    Good poste.


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