Wednesday, May 18, 2011

World Building for Paranormal Romance Novels - Guest Post by Regan Black

The rules and details in world building for paranormal romance novels can be as wild or tame as the themes and stories themselves. It's one of the most tantalizing things about writing - and reading - paranormal romance novels. 

Werewolves in one book can have a  completely different origin than another author's werewolves, and yet the reader can enjoy both stories equally. World building is absolutely key to invite the reader into the story and keep them engaged with your character's adventure. It can be subtle twists on a known skyline, or a whole new landscape as foreign to readers as the moon's surface.

When my first full length paranormal romance novel came about, it planted itself in Chicago, a city I love, in the year 2096. Setting the book in the future set my imagination loose. I enjoyed taking certain liberties with Chicago landmarks and what parts of the city survived and what parts morphed into something new.

Looking at where we were then (2005) I built my world anticipating where current trends might lead. I never really believed the American government would outlaw refined sugar and regular coffee, but I could totally see a defense department that fed soldiers a battle enhancing formula disguised as vitamins. Of course recently the culinary capital of New York City has been battling those who would legislaste salt content in restaurant food...

While world building for my 2096 I started with a few key details and let the story and characters spin out from there, adding more layers and details with each revision. I can't abide a morning without coffee and knowing I'm not the only one, naturally a coffee smuggling ring showed up in my books.

Of course, world building for paranormal romance means more than landscape and backdrop. A fully developed world includes rules applied by the author and broken only with good reason (and/or proper physics). If you have a world where vampires can enjoy garlic, you can't slip up and make it a repellant during a key battle. By the same token, your vampire may be allergic to garlic like I'm allergic to pine pollen. So what his comrades find innocuous, he finds appalling, but for a whole different reason - a reason with comedic potential.

If you're writing a political thriller, you probably won't care about coffee, or garlic (unless a state dinner leads to offensive breath during a critical moment on the dance floor). Instead you'll emphasize other critical details that show the reader the worldview, moods, and intrigues your characters are venturing through.

World building for a paranormal romance novel is as personal and unique as the author crafting the novel. What matters to me, what I choose to emphasize in the story, will differ from your story. That's fantastic news for creative authors willing and able to write characters and creatures who push the envelope of humanity and imagination.

Live the adventure!


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Bio: Regan Black writes action-packed stories with a paranormal twist so readers can savor a fantastic escape from the daily routine. Visit to preview her latest release, Tracking Shadows, and join the conversation anytime on Twitter @ReganBlack or Facebook Regan Black, Author


  1. Love your post Regan...It think that's why most authors write. It's a way to escape, like a reader, but with ALL the control of the world you escape to. Thanks for inviting me!

  2. Thanks for stopping by tlynne!

  3. Hi Regan,

    Great blog article here and absolutely true. World Building is such an intregal part of a paranormal story. When it done well, I can really get into any story and I love to be able to suspend disbelief and get so wrapped up in the action that I totally loose track of time.

  4. Hi Laurie! Thanks for your comment!
    I love that lost in the story feeling too. One of the biggest perks of reading a great book!

  5. First of all, what a 'Cutie' you are Regan! Secondly, I loved everything you posted. Word Building and World building are my life.
    Great post!!!

  6. Aw, thanks, Wicked Leanore, for stopping by and calling me a cutie! LOL

    Glad you enjoyed the post too! I appreciate your support. =)

  7. Hi Regan - great post. World building and detail is so important - I think some new writers forget that. Even the most wonderful story can be enhanced by the world built beneath it. Great blog - we may have to ask you to give a world-building talk for PRG Author Services come Sept!
    Best wishes!

  8. Regan,
    Wonderful guest blog!

    Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}

  9. Wow, Melanie, thanks! And thanks also for finding me today. I've given classes on goal setting and the perfect ending, but I'd love to do a world building talk for the PRG.

    Thanks again!

  10. Thanks, Lea Ellen! I'm so glad you stopped by!