Ladies and Gentlemen, please enjoy this second guest blog, contributed by guest blogger and paranormal writer Donna Lea Simpson. This is a great introspection into the process of writing, and more specifically of creating new and exciting paranormal worlds. Whether you are an aspiring author yourself, or simply enjoy reading the creations of these creative individuals, you can learn a thing or two about the process in this enlightening guest post. So, read, learn and enjoy. And be on the lookout for my review of Eve of Chaos, the third book in S.J. Day's Marked series, coming later this week!!
(And, I am excited to say, I was lucky enough to score a review copy of Donna Lea Simpson's upcoming novel Lady Anne and the Ghost's Revenge a while back, and that review will also be posted in the relatively near future!!)
Writing the Paranormal – The Difficulties of World-Building
Guest Column for Patricia Ramirez
By: Donna Lea Simpson
My first foray into writing paranormal romances (Awaiting the Moon – Berkley – February 2006) came when I responded to market pressure. I wanted desperately to move from the traditional Regency romances I had written for Zebra/Kensington into longer historical romance novels. I chose, among all the possible paranormal avenues, to write werewolf romances because I could understand, at least, the appeal of werewolf males, where vampires leave me, pardon the expression, cold.
But when I moved into werewolf romances I did not realize that by the second book (Awaiting the Night – Berkley – November 2006) I would have begun to include witchcraft and then… well, it seems that once you begin with paranormal elements, it’s kind of like potato chips, you can’t stop at just one! In planning Book 3, Awaiting the Fire (Berkley – September 2007) I found myself intrigued with the idea of an earthbound werewolf becoming involved with a spiritual, virginal angel. Except that the virginal angel (ancestor of one of the Fallen Angels) was the man and the experienced werewolf the woman. A little odd in a historical, perhaps.
And now I am trying to finish #4, Awaiting the Magic, just to be able to cap off and finish the series for my supremely patient readers who still, two years later, want to know what happens to long-suffering Christoff von Wolfram. It’s not easy while I’m writing another series, planning three more, and attending to other duties, but I’m more than halfway through.
However… how do you know when enough is enough, when it comes to paranormal elements? How do you stay true to your world, and go your own way as a writer? How do you tie all the threads together in a logical fashion? I read a lot of message boards on which romance readers express their dissatisfaction with how weird an author has made their once-straightforward paranormal world. I am trying to be true to the world I created in Awaiting the Moon, and that involves bringing to a natural conclusion a storyline inspired by an original concept.
As I wrote about werewolves, and about Christoff, in particular, who is going through a difficult time without knowing that he is a werewolf (really, I put him through hell, poor guy, one reason I feel compelled to give him the happy ending he deserves), I began to wonder if there would be some who would resist the ‘change’, that moment when the werewolfism kicks in, some time around puberty, in my werewolf world creation. To resist such an elemental part of yourself would warp everything, and so it did for Christoff, whose ‘change’ was delayed by things he wasn’t even aware of, among them being drugged by the villain in the first book. So, in my paranormal world I created the concept of being an ‘unchanged’ or ‘unveraenderte’ (my butchered German); being an ‘unchanged’ has dire consequences of which werewolves superstitiously do not speak. To be one of the ‘unchanged’, having resisted the werewolf change that is a natural part of his soul, means that his physical being will gradually fade until he walks the earth invisible, unable to communicate with anyone.
It’s a horrible thought but it’s a metaphor, my expression of what I feel happens to people when we aren’t true to ourselves, or don’t express our inner selves openly; we fade, until we are just a ghost of our true selves. As Awaiting the Magic is intended to be the final book of the Awaiting series, I have to deal with the consequences of creating that concept, and take it to its natural conclusion for a character I introduced in book #2, Awaiting the Night, and I have to find a way to do that without damaging the integrity of the world I’ve created.
It’s a fine line, for a writer, being true to ourselves and our characters, and yet writing fulfilling, entertaining novels.
To learn more about my novels, visit me at: http://www.donnaleasimpson.com
Or drop in at my blog, where I have an excerpt of Awaiting the Magic online: http://donnaleasimpson.wordpress.com