From cozy mystery to romance to edgy urban fantasy, world building is something authors apply to help connect the reader to the adventure. The skills are necessary no matter what medium - movies, video games, or novels - and as creative people tell stories in new and fresh ways in known and emerging media, one thing becomes clear:
Know what your target audience wants.
This point was driven home for me when I recently walked into the family room where my son was playing a fantasy game on the PS3. When he finished the battle, I asked what kind of monster he’d just defeated. (I happen to be a fan of the mythology this game employs). His answer: Rage Demon.
Wow. Really? Because that thing looked nothing like Kresley Cole’s rage demons from her Immortals After Dark series. Of course I kept this opinion to myself as I was loathe to get into an analysis of the critical differences. And I'm well aware that logically, the game designer's idea of a rage demon doesn’t nullify Cole’s version of the same creature. But still...
My son wouldn’t appreciate what I find fascinating about Cole’s rage demons and their world as she built it. I can't imagine Cole’s fans would be very impressed with the nearly faceless, flame coated thing my son was battling.
Clearly, world building for paranormal romance novels and world building for gamers means meeting the expectations of two very different audiences and invovles two very different interpretations of the mythology.
My favorite young adult paranormal authors won’t focus on the same things as a paranormal romance author wanting to catch adult fans. A fantasy or sci-fi author might spend as much page time on the mythology and origins of the world itself as they devote to the characters' journey toward the goal.
I think that's absolutely fantastic for everyone from readers and gamers to authors and developers. Do you have a favorite author who's written a world you wish you could fall into?
You can explore the worlds I've built for readers at ReganBlack.com or join the community fun at my Facebook page.
And always...live the adventure!