Today on All Authors Blog, we're pleased to bring you another installment of Para-Con with Rose & Carol. In part 2 of the series, Rose and Carol discuss creating the heroines and settings of a story.
Welcome Readers! Today we began part 2 of Para-Con with Rose & Carol. Carol Cassada, here and I don't know about you, but I'm excited.
Hey there, Rose here! Super-uber (No, not like the cab.) excited too! Yay!
For those of you just tuning in, Para-Con is a series where Rose and I discuss the differences between contemporary and paranormal romance.
Last time, we discussed writing heroes and villains. This week’s topic is creating heroines and settings. We’ve got a lot to discuss, so let’s get started.
Rose, are you ready to begin?
You know it! Like a boss!
Female Lead vs Damsel in Distress
No hero is complete without his lady love.
The yin to his yang.
Any romance author will tell you the hero and heroine are important parts of the story. In the previous post, I discussed how I preferred heroes with a combination of strength and sensitivity. Those are the same qualities I love to have in my heroines.
A recent trend you see in contemporary romance novels is the heroine having an independent side. She has her own life, speaks her mind, and doesn’t let anyone control her. With the heroine’s soft side, you have to delve deep inside her personality. For me, I like to show why she’s hesitant to take a chance on love.
A perfect example of this type of heroine is Alicia Green in Westmore. On the outside, Alicia’s a tough rocker chick complete with tattoos. Yet, inside she’s a sensitive soul. Throughout the book, it’s revealed Alicia’s exes cheated on her. Because of their infidelities, Alicia’s lost trust in men. In fact, at one point she swears off of them. Yet, as the series progresses, she meets her hero and begins to rethink her stance on love.
Much like heroes, you’ve got to have the reader relate to the heroine. These are two characters that you’ll want to cheer on, and have them live happily ever after.
Rose, tell us what it's like creating your heroines.
I do agree that it is important for the audience to relate and connect to the heroine. Personally, I like to create the awkward or misfit heroine. Much like myself, if I were to be completely honest.
For example, Sophia, from "If Death Should Love Me" is strong, yes, but she is the blundering self-sufficient sort. That is to say, while she is strong like most independent women of our time, she is also eccentric, widely misunderstood and never quite fit in.
I often feel like this type of heroine is more relateable than the "I have everything under control" type. Because when the heroine has a clumsy side, it's easier to see her as human. Hence, the reader being able to connect with her more rapidly and profoundly.
Also, the fact that she never quite fit in is like a nod and whisper in the direction of paranormal. It speaks to the genre, if you will.
Real World vs Supernatural World
One essential part of a book is the setting.
When choosing a setting, you’ve got to have a place that fits with the story.
With contemporary romances, the setting is in the present time. The places chosen for the location are usually a real city. In Going Home Again, I used New York and Norfolk, VA as the two cities. When describing the cities, I use attractions to grab the reader’s attention. As they’re reading the book, I want them to visualize that they’re going to a Broadway show or dining at a fine restaurant. If it’s a place readers have never been, I want them get a sense of what the city’s like.
Another option authors have is creating our own fictional towns.
That’s what I did with Westmore. I created a setting in a small, New England town. I found it fun making up my own setting for Westmore. I can get as creative as I wanted with the scenery and the names of the local businesses. For instance, in Westmore the characters can be found shopping at the Charie boutique or enjoying dinner at Jack’s Bar.
With the setting, it’s important to create a place where readers can escape to. When they’re reading the story, they need to envision themselves there with the characters.
Rose, what’s it like creating a supernatural world?
That's a great question, Carol.
Dear reader, if you missed me, I'm C. Desert Rose.
Now, to answer your question.
Creating a world for a paranormal romance requires the ability to marry the real world with a fictional one. I find that the best way to do this is to use a real location for the real world, so that your fictional location seems more probable. For example, in the Fate's Endeavor series I've created an entire "universe".
The ability to conjoin these two elements flawlessly requires a lot of skill. Because the last thing you want is for the reader to question their validity.
Another facet that is important to look at is the setting of the story background.
Personally, I incorporate a lot of history when it comes to my characters lives. When doing that I have to consider things like "what they are, who they are, how they live, how they used to live, what their part in the story is." When all of these things have been figured out, then I can come up with a viable past world that can effectively tell the characters story from a place of both logic and necessity.
Let's take Zita from "Demoness Enchanted", for example. Zita was born and raised in a secluded section of the Amazon Rainforest, hidden from everyone and everything. In setting up her history effectively, I had to consider what this place might look like, be like, sound like and how it played into the overall role of who Zita is.
I believe quite a bit in the fact that our surroundings play about 50% of the role in our lives that make up who we are. THAT is why the setting is SO important. Because if I am not authentic in the portrayal of the character as per the influences of the setting, then people WHO ARE from there WILL be able to tell the difference.
And, like you said, the funnest part it to take those who have never been there to that place to enjoy the sights and sounds of it.
Creating characters and settings can be hard at times. But once the creativity sets in, it’s fun to write.
You're right, Carol. It IS hard, but that's just half the fun!
Rose, as always it was a pleasure talking with you.
The pleasure is mine, amiga.