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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When Worlds Collide

Please welcome guest blogger Taryn Kincaid

Usually, when we think of world-building and what goes into that, we are talking about science fiction, fantasy, futuristics or paranormals. Things that may or may not exist, but are outside our usual and customary daily experience, beyond the confines of our day-to-day lives.

But historicals work the same way. We are taking a voyage into the (to us) unknown.

You may have to depend on research a little more and wild flights of fancy and imagination just a tad less (although I’m not so sure of that, considering the research one might put in to make certain a dragon’s vertebrae and wing span align just so, or that the phantasmagorical steam punk engine properly pistons).

The end result is largely the same.

The reader is not sitting on your lap, looking over your shoulder at your research notes, after all, when your writing is transporting him or her to another planet, another place, another time.

Yes, those Regency-era bastions of maledom known as Tattersall’s and White’s really did exist (and White’s still exists), but so do Jupiter and Mars. You can no more talk about the plexiglass bow window at 37-38 St. James Street than you can about earth’s moon being made of green cheese or Saturn’s rings being made of Popsicle sticks. (Granita, maybe. If you are clever and consistent about it.)

Going back in time (a place none of us have yet actually been or have yet actually travelled to) to show your reader the hierarchy inside Almack’s and how that affects your characters, is not a whole lot different than recounting the social more’s of life on a ring of Saturn. Well, except for the stale cake and tepid tea.

But your world, wherever or whenever it is, must be logical. And must make sense, if not in the realm of true physics, at least within the confines of the book covers.

In Sleepy Hollow Dreams, my erotic paranormal from The Wild Rose Press, the hero, Ryck Van Winkle, is a dream voyager who has been trapped in time and another dimension since colonial days. But he’s visited scores of women in dreams over the centuries, absorbing each generation’s mannerisms, speech, customs…and modern conveniences. He doesn’t speak like an ancient, and that’s the explanation why. And when Ryck finally meets the heroine, Katy, in the flesh, and she attempts to shock him by showing him a big-screen TV featuring a baseball game, Ryck isn’t shocked at all.

In Healing Hearts, my new Regency from Carina Press, I created a fictional windswept cliff in Kent, the same way I concocted that fictionalized version of Sleepy Hollow, where Ryck and Katy reside, suddenly overset with demons and an evil succubus.

And I so enjoyed my sojourn in both those worlds.

~ Taryn Kincaid

Taryn Kincaid started writing as soon as she could and never stopped. Sometimes she has been lucky enough to get paid for it. As an award-winning reporter and columnist, she covered everything from fires and homicides, to corrupt politicians and hero dogs. And also the fun-and-fluff stuff. Not usually a bit like TV. Nowadays, she haunts courthouses. That's not usually a bit like TV, either. Taryn reads and writes all genres. She is a member of RWA, Hudson Valley RWA and RWA's Beau Monde, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapters. She is the author of Healing Hearts, a Regency novella, and Sleepy Hollow Dreams, an erotic paranormal. Taryn is addicted to the blogosphere. And Twitter.

Read more about Sleepy Hollow Dreams and Healing Hearts on my blog: http://dreamvoyagers.blogspot.com

Healing Hearts

As a girl, Emma Whiteside asked Adam Caldwell, Viscount Riverton, to wait for her to be of marriageable age. Now, twelve years later, Emma hates Adam as much as she once loved him, holding the former army major responsible for the death of her brother on the battlefield.

Adam already blames himself for the loss of the men under his command. But the fiery young woman Emma's become sparks his arousal, as well as emotions Adam thought long dead. The passion between them makes him want to reclaim the man he was before the war.

Though she tries to hold on to her hatred, Emma's longing for Adam is undeniable, especially after the two share a smoldering kiss. Still, Adam is certain no woman would want a man so damaged. Can Emma prove him wrong?


Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Taryn, this is exactly something I stressed when I did a world-building workshop at a con. World building is as important in contemporary or historical, you just don't think of it that way. But whether you're building a whole planet or a small Michigan town, the details matter! Great post!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Thanks, Cindy! Will you be doing the workshop at RWA#11? I'd love to drop in!

MJFredrick said...

I'm writing my first contemporary series in a fictional town and I'm finding I have to world-build there as well. Chalk me up as one of those who thought world-building was the domain of Sci-Fi (though I think that task is MUCH harder than what I'm doing!)

Nicole North said...

Awesome post, Taryn! Worldbuilding is so important in any subgenre. It can also be fun and readers really get into it.

Stacey Kennedy said...

Great post, Taryn! World building is so fun! And I know...since I've read your work that you do it perfectly! I agree that world building must be logical! Everything must make sense no matter if it's magical or not. Details draw the reader in and that is exactly how I felt when I read HEALING HEARTS!

You rock, lady!!
Hugs & Kisses!!

Lindsay said...

When I'm not writing contemorary mysteries, where I also have to build worlds, I read Regency. Don't ask I haven't figure that out yet either. Anyway, Taryn did a great job in creating the world in Healing Heart. Just check out the review at Amazon on the book.

kara ashley dey said...

Hi Taryn, great article! You know when I was little my brother used to spend hours with me, going over stacks and binders filled with info and images of planets he had created. He had lists and drawings of the geography, climates, races, languages, religions, weapons, transportation, major cities, agriculture, you name it. At the time I had no idea he was teaching me world building. How lucky is that?! -Kara

Taryn Kincaid said...

Hey, everyone. Thanks for stopping by to chat. It's a fun topic, isn't?
MJ - best of luck with your new release and contemporary series.
(Waves at Nicole.)
Stacey - Every time I read something you write about Healing Hearts lately I sniffle! So happy you enjoyed it so much!
Kara - What great prep your brother gave you! So lucky! (He sounds like he should be a computer game programmer, if not a writer! Is he either ?!
-Taryn -T


Taryn Kincaid said...

Oops! And thank you, too, of course, Lindsay! Didn't mean to leave you out. I'm at work, writing comments on my BlackBerry and it is impossible to see, read, and most of all type! Your review of Healing Hearts rocked!

Lindsay said...

Don't worry about it. I know what it's like to work from a smartphone.
This is being sent via my iPhone

Marcelle Dubé said...

Good post, Taryn. World building takes place in every story, of course, to greater or lesser extents. I always admire historical fiction writers because they not only have to build the world for the modern reader, but they have to get the details right, because the reader can check up!

Jenny Schwartz said...

Good point! I tend to think of SF world building as imagination and historical world building as research -- but that's my studied-history-at-uni-but-have-to-make-up-my-science background showing. When it comes to science, if I don't make it up, I don't know any!

And talking about making it up (SF world building, I mean), one never-to-be-named SF editor helpfully explained that when the science was impossible but you were going to use it anyway, make the explanations a lot of really fast hand waving! and you know, I understood that because in real life conversations when I can't explain myself, I do wave my hands really fast :)

So I guess I learned world building doesn't have to be real (although some people do insist on real science), but it has to be something people are willing to suspend disbelief for, and as writers, we have to be consistent with it.

And now I've stopped waving my hands and am simply rambling. Sorry, Taryn. Great post that started me thinking...

Taryn Kincaid said...

If so, I'm glad.

kara ashley dey said...

Taryn--I totally agree! I tell him he should work in video-gaming every time I talk with him. -Kara