Monday, September 19, 2011

Guest - J. Paulette Forshey

Good morning all! Today's guest is J. Paulette Forshey, a talented paranormal author, who's given us an article on world building and included some glimpses into how world building helped develop her characters. She's also offering a giveaway so make sure to follow the instructions. Enjoy!


World Building

World Building - I believe is as important as character building, because if you don’t have a believable world for your hero, heroine and cast to engage their story, it leaves huge gaps in the believability of the novel.
Whether it’s a distant water planet with three moons, a secret underground jungle on a barren desert world or a space ship sailing through the sky, if we don't create a favorable environment for our characters, they wither and die on the page.

We must give our hero & heroine suitable housing or structures to live in, appropriate clothing and transportation. Their food, customs, government and technology must all be applicable to their unique situation. To allow some conflict their world must have some order including restrictions. Your hero & heroine's culture, and your story, is richer if they have their own myths and legends. Don't forget the type of currency your heroine needs to pay for that latte she can't live without on her way to work each morning.
Which leaves us to the last thing in this new world, dialect, do your characters speak English, have an American southern drawl or communicate with clicks and whistles. If it's the latter you must make your reader believe these beings exist or you have no readers.

Here's how I built my novel.

The Tarczal Alliance needed all of the items mentioned above. Well, they say write what you know, so with some pixie dust or would that be blood thinner with vampires? Either way my hometown and surrounding areas have been turned upside down like a snow globe and shaken hard to transform into an entirely different reality. 

In building this Tarczal world I need to know more about my hero, Logan Kincaid. He's a 445-year-old Tarczal vampire, intelligent, attorney for the Alliance, wealthy, handsome and down to earth. I needed a home that reflected him and his taste, and that's when I started digging into real-life real estate listings to find what a mansion encompassed. Since the idea of traveling around the country to open houses was nice, the reality was I'm a stay at home grandmother helping to raise two small grandchildren. So neither the time nor money was available to me. Off to my trusty laptop and the World Wide Web!

Two days of internet searching later placed an aerial view of a house listing high atop a mountain in the state of New York in front of me.  I now had my hero's home.

It wasn't so much the house itself, but the outline of the single structure's roof tops that sold me. The house had several peaks which made it look like a tiny village and that was Logan's house for me. It also gave me a great line in my book.

From there I started mentally laying out the interior, his study/office, the billiards room, family dining area, his bedroom. Much of the dwelling and grounds of his home didn't make it into my first novel, and probably won't make it into any subsequent books, but laying out the house helped me understand more about my hero. What it all meant to him made him a richer character for me and eventually my readers.

Next, my new breed of biter needed to blend in to his community, and give plausible acceptability to any comings and goings of the many apprentice Janissary (security), and feeders (paid blood donors) to his home and the town.  What to do? I needed a way that several hundred people could influx a small area throughout the year without suspicion but how to do this?  My answer hit me when traveling through a nearby town, a college town. A place with students, parents, professors, and locals, constantly populating and depopulating the area gave me the answer necessary to build another part of my Tarczal world. That's how Logan came to build and continues to support not only the people of his home but the flowering community of my story.

My heroine, Allyson Weston's house and neighborhood were a bit easier to describe since we share the same 150 year old farmhouse. Just wish I had her garage.

Speaking of older dwellings, don't be afraid to ask people questions about their lives; it can lead to wonderful surprises. At the time I started working on this novel my mother lived in an assisted living center. Every day the 'ladies' of the apartment building would,  if I might ask them some questions. A couple of my characters lived in the 1800s and needed names from that era. They were delighted to assist me, and three hours later, not only did I have accurate names, which I adjusted, but detailed descriptions of homes, lives, and farms. My well-to-do farmer lived in a two story house with a parlor, mudroom, and new fangled stove with a warming oven.  High living for a 1800s homeowner.

Once you have your new universe, you need to find if it's believable. If you have a critique partner or group, run it by them to see if it passes muster. In another novel of mine, a fantasy paranormal, I read a section of my WIP to our local writers group. In this world of magic, my heroine grabbed a faucet to pull herself out of a tub to keep from drowning. As I read the word 'faucet' people's eyebrows around the table rose in skepticism. They questioned if the inhabitants of a magic world would need plumbing. The word faucet turned into 'brass hand hold' and everyone was much happier.

All in all, your goal as a writer is to suspend the reader's real world for the time it takes them to live in your novels. If you can't do this you lose the reader and the purchaser of your next book.

The Tarczal Alliance

Logan Kincaid believed Blood Witches and T’yhi√©ls of his vampiric childhood were things of legend and myth, until she walked into his life and all hell broke loose.

 “You disagree the painting is showy?” He turned the subject back to the painting, and with practiced ease, he returned what he surmised was a compliment from the flush blooming on her cheeks. He indulged himself by allowing his gaze to rake over her. A whine like a mosquito’s settled in his ears.

“The artist captured Kandinsky’s style completely,” she sputtered. Logan didn’t give a damn about the painting or the artist. He wondered if the large, dark purple sweater that hung mid-thigh on her was an attempt to hide her body. If that was her goal, the tight black stretch pants, and thigh-high ebony suede boots were a poor choice. Any movement pulled the sweater tight like a second skin over her compact, lithe body.

“Absolutely. He copied a style. You wouldn’t have, Ms?” She fidgeted, and the movement caused the sweater to pull snug over her breasts making them stand out like ripened fruit and accented her flat stomach. Nice. Bet that stomach quivers when a tongue is run over it. Wonder what she’d do with a tongue in her belly button? She’s probably a giggler. He licked his lips. And a squirmer. It was apparent she had no idea what she did to him. He didn’t mind. Several parts of his anatomy were already stirring in response. Her front equaled the heart-shaped derriere he’d seen earlier while she browsed the competition.

“Weston. Allyson Weston. How did you know I paint?” The tiny frown across her brow made him want to laugh. So this was the estranged wife of his latest hire, Michael Weston. During the job interview Michael had constantly moaned and bitched about his soon-to-be-ex-wife. Guess Michael didn’t grasp he’d let go of an extraordinary woman. Logan let his gaze travel down to her legs, dancer’s legs, long and well-defined. Legs any man would enjoy wrapped around him.

Smoothly, Logan reached down, slipping his hand under hers bringing both up to eye level. “You have paint under your nails.” His thumb brushed the skin of her knuckles.


Quickly, she withdrew her hand from his. Next, she folded her arms across her mid-section, lifting the orbs and tucking her hands safely under her arms.

Logan’s smile widened. “Do you have family in town?” His attention wandered back to the boots she wore. The way they encased her legs from toe to over the knee were a wonderful enticement, and his imagination flared to a deliciously wicked conclusion when she interrupted his assessment of her intriguing appendages by blurting out. “An STB.”

How fresh, honest, and naive she was. Logan bit back a chuckle. Heroes and bartenders: everyone trusted them, confiding intimate details of their lives they’d never reveal to anyone else, an interesting quirk of human nature. He arched an eyebrow in query, and she clarified. “Soon-to-be-ex-husband.”

He stopped himself before he could lick his lips. At the same time the essence of her blood rose from beneath her skin to mingle with the pungent leather of her boots. He inhaled more deeply, drawing it inside him, and swirled his tongue in his mouth to better experience the bouquet. Sweet, delicate, and exotic. Fit for the gods. He stopped his feeder teeth from slipping into place. A taste of her blood would never be enough, and an ocean too little for a man to quench his thirst. Stunned, he wondered where that thought come from, while trying to wish away the growing arousal in his groin. The whirr in his ears grew a little louder.
Available Now: The Tarczal Alliance 

Other books by J. Paulette Forshey: 

Chances TakenIan Cathmor, wealthy Irish CEO, believes women want the money, not the man, until a shy American comes to visit his cousin’s B&B and teaches him about “chances taken”.

Cat and the Wizard - Fionnghuala born from a Fairy and Human bonding is kidnapped as
a child and sold into enslaved prostitution. Until the day a spell goes awry landing her in the normal world and she finds the fate of two worlds rest in her hands.

Contact Me: 

I'll giving a vampire fangs necklace to one reader who leaves a comment on world building. Make sure you leave your email addy so I can contact you!

-- Lynda Again
   What great insights, Paulette! Thanks for being with us today!
    Everyone - Get those comments in by Monday night and don't forget to include your email addy.

    Have a Blessed Day!


Rita L. Smith said...

I loved the Tarzcal Alliance, Cat and the Wizard and am looking forward to reading Chance Taken.

Paulette said...

Thanks Rita!

CookieChix Chris said...

Gr8 tips and insight!

Chris Anna

Kerry said...

I absolutely love to find photos that inspire my world building (and characterization). To me, the absolute best reads are books where the world comes alive as a character.

Leanne109 said...

Great post! Your one in a million to be able to build a world. It's so much harder then most ppl think. WTG!


Karen Hayes-Mitchell said...

I loved The Tarczal Alliance, and being from the same area, I could picture the world she created. Before I even knew where she got her inspiration from, I pictured the "college" based on the local college.

Paulette said...

Thanks Kerry, Leanne, and Karen!
I love building and sharing the worlds my characters live in!

PSRitchey said...

Thanks for such an informative article, Paulette! You did a great job building Logan's world, pulled me in instantly!

Victoria said...

It amazes me how you are able to build worlds for works. I wish I were that creative. Thank you for the very informative post.


Paulette said...

The winner of the vampire necklace is

If you would email me your snail mail address I'll get the necklace sent to you ASAP!
Thanks for leaving a comment.
You can reach me at:

Paulette said...

Thanks Lynda for having me today.
Best to you and yours.
Blessed Be,

Jen B. said...

I love it when an author is able to slowly unspool info about the world as the story is told. A gread example is Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. I had a very specific picture of Jocelyn in my head for the first 5 books. Then bam, Jacqueline Carey gave a little tidbit of knowledge that was a total wow moment. Did it change the whole world? No! But it did alter my picture of Jocelyn!