BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

World Views

I mentioned earlier that I sold another short story to Nocturne Bites. I've been immersed in this world ever since, writing and thinking about things. The basic world building is done and has been for a while because this is the third story I've set in this society, but areas that were only vaguely dealt with earlier are playing a bigger role in this story.

The two previous stories set in this world are Blood Feud in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2 and Demon Kissed, my first Nocturne Bites (May 2010). Just as an FYI.

Each story has a different hero and heroine with a different view of their world. To stay true to Point Of View (POV), and a writer has to or they're doing a disservice to their h/h, some things just don't get mentioned. When people live with something their entire lives, they tend not to think about it or notice it much. And the difficulty with the world building is that if your character isn't thinking about a piece of their society, the reader doesn't get that information either. It's a balancing act that gives me headaches of epic proportion.

That's one advantage to writing multiple stories set in the same world--each character reveals something different because different pieces of the world impact them differently than other characters.

In Blood Feud, the key piece of world building for Isobel and Seere was that vampires and demons had waged a 300 year war that ended 800 years earlier. Because so many of the original combatants are still living, hatreds and prejudices seethe between the two groups. Isobel is a vampire who works as an enforcer for her clan. Seere is a demon prince. Neither of them lived while the war was in full swing, but it impacts them anyway when Isobel's sire (who is also her clan lord) forbids her to see Seere again. And he's got the power to back up that edict.

But when I wrote Demon Kissed, the war between the vampires and demons didn't factor much in either Andras or Bree's lives. Andras makes an offhand remark where he calls vampires bastards, but that's really the only indication of a situation that was of critical importance to the h/h in the previous story. POV and perspective. :-)

In Blood Feud, there's an offhand mention at the end of vampires and demons needing to band together, but not really why. Demon Kissed has a demon-slayer heroine, so it's a start to revealing what's going on. The Bites In Progress (currently called Shadow's Caress, but I don't know if that will be the final title or not) introduces the vampire hunters. So if you go back to the first story, the reason why vampires and demons need to put aside their old hatreds is because they both have a new threat--humans who know how to kill them.

I've tried to write it in such a way that everything stands alone, but if someone reads all three stories, they should begin to see a bigger picture than what each story can reveal. Shadow's Caress (as far as I can tell at this point) isn't going to mention the demon-vampire war either because the heroine is unaware of it and the hero doesn't really care about it. But they both are impacted by the vampire hunters.

And this is what I've been thinking about lately. I've always known there were vampire hunters, but they were a vague presence where I didn't need to be intimate with how they work. Now I have to flesh them out, become familiar with them. They're important.

I have more ideas for this world, more characters, and if/when I write them, more of this world will be revealed. The first idea, the one that's clearest in my mind, will highlight more about vampire society and the clan lords because it becomes critical. Pieces that were only brushed over in Blood Feud will be the focus. And I love this kind of thing--revealing the world bit by bit according to what the characters care about because of who they are and the situation they find themselves in.

I hate reading books where the author gives me a primer on their world. Not only is it a boring info dump in most cases, but it also often has nothing to do with what the characters would notice and/or care about. It's a trade off, I understand that, but I'd rather err my direction--on the side of how "real" people would really behave. Seriously, do you even notice the color of the carpeting in your home anymore? Who walks into their house and thinks the beige carpeting contrasted beautifully the taffy-colored walls? No one. It's the same with characters. They live with the reality of their world every day, they're not going to notice the carpeting. :-) But a character who's never been in that house before? She will remark on the carpeting and that's why it's awesome to do multiple stories in the same world.