Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Ghosts Can Cry, Because I Say So!
When I originally started writing (mumble mumble) years ago, I started out with contemporary. Even though it's pretty straight forward, you still have to build a world around the characters. Maybe they live in a small town or in the heart of the big city. We need to give the reader, who has never been to New York City, for instance, a feeling for what it's like to walk the streets of Times Square. Accuracy is a must. Ya can't have your heroine bathing in a fountain in the middle of Broadway and Seventh Avenue if there isn't one there.
The beauty of writing paranormal is, maybe there is a fountain in the midst of Times Square because we're in an alternate universe. Or maybe it's three hundred years into the future and the mayor's cousin was in the fountain building business. Ya never know.
The main reason I love writing paranormal is, no one can tell you you're wrong. They can think it, they can believe it, but they can't prove it . . . so, nanner nanner :Þ I have ghosts in my current WIP. They can laugh and cry as well as float and walk through walls. I love finding creative ways to make them unique to my story.
Use all five senses. If you don't know what it feels like to walk through a wall (and I'm assuming you don't) make it up, but be creative about it. Somehow I don't think anyone or anything would perform this particular exercise if it felt like millions of tiny splinters sliding under your skin while smelling smoke and hearing ringing in your ears.
One of my favorite lines in a not-so-great movie was by Lauren Hutton in Once Bitten. When the heroine tries to shield the evil vampiress (played by Hutton) she held up a cross. Lauren's answer to that was:"That's just a myth. Besides, I'm an atheist." How awesome is that?
As Lori mentioned yesterday, you do have some rules to follow . . . your own. No fair having a witch take a shower early on in the book and then have a bucket of water melt her in the last chapter. And ya can't have a character suddenly learn to fly in chapter seventeen to get him out of a sticky situation either. You need to at least hint in the beginning that it's a possibility.
I like to throw a little bit of research into my world building, but be careful not to gag the reader with it. I can't speak for all writers, but when I do research I want to show the world how clever I am by throwing it ALL in there. Not a good idea. For one, it bogs down the story. It also prevents the story from being completely your own.
Be creative with your research. A little known author by the name of J.K. Rowling named one of her characters Dumbledore because it means "bumblebee". She imagined this character walking around the castle humming to himself, much like a bee would. Remember, characters are just as important to your world building as purple trees and flying donkeys.
So make your world your own. Do your research, use that imagination God gave you and have fun with it.