Today we're taking a short commercial break from romance in order to introduce you to my new friend Che Gilson, whose novel, Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight, will be released soon by Black Opal Books. It's never too early to introduce yourself to the world, right?
And the Kitchen Sink
One of the decisions an author has to make is how much to include. This is the same no matter what you write, but especially true for fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance. When building a world, or changing elements in this one, it's easy to go overboard. Some authors are genius at throwing fairies, vampires, Greek gods, werewolves, werecats, were-insert any animal you can think of, talking cockroaches (actually that's one thing I haven't seen) and every manner of mutant species, ghost and telepath, with maybe some Lovecraftian fish monster thrown in for good measure.
BUT more often than not, many an urban fantasy has a bit too much going on and no real reason for the Vampire Zombie knight that shows up in chapter 10 other than the author really wanted to use that character/concept/creature. In this world, as in any fantasy, people, places and things need to be connected somehow. Nature abhors a vacuum. So what is the knight doing in the story? Where did she come from, why is she there? Is there some mythology you researched that links the Vampire Zombie knight to the Elven P.I. protagonist. Or are they just there to be cool. If they are there only to be cool then it's a good idea to link it back to something already existing in your world.
This happens most in series, where there needs to be a new antagonist, or a new creature in every book in order to up the stakes. Sometimes variations on a theme is all that is needed. All ready have demons in the book? Add in a special new kind. Working with vampires? Research vampires from other cultures and you're sure to hit on something fascinating that is woefully underused. Come up with a reason for the new character/creature and include it in the book. Give the main characters a moment to see the shiny new Big Bad and reason out why it's there and why it's giving them so much trouble. As a reader I really love to see the 'why' of things. It adds to my enjoyment of the world and gives a clue to the author's thought process and their interests.
In my novella Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight I decided early on that only two things would be added to a contemporary setting. Shape shifters of various origins from many mythologies world-wide, and magic. Those two elements provided the foundation for having werewolves, kitsune- shape shifting foxes from Japanese mythology, and sorcerers who magically turn into tigers in the same story. Everything in the book I can link back to those first two decisions of what I wanted to include and both shape shifters and magic are open ended enough to give me fuel for multiple sequels and plenty more monsters.
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