As I’m writing this, I’ve just finished reading through a bunch of the recent guest posts on Misty’s blog, and I have to say, my post is probably going to be a little different. I could write on and on about how I got to be a writer, or what’s going on in my life, or likes and dislikes, but its waayyy more fun to talk about ‘pretend’ than it is to talk about ‘real’, so let’s do that.
Earlier this month, I launched my new paranormal romance: Dirty Blood. Meet Tara, 17 year old werewolf hunter, who first learns what she is in a dark alley behind her favorite pool hall, when she kills her first werewolf. She’s got an uptight, slightly OCD mother, a boyfriend who can’t get enough of himself, two best friends she’s known forever, and a strange tendency for goose bumps.
I write about werewolves because I love the ‘normal’ you can weave into the supernatural with them. I mean, wolves themselves are a real enough species. And what paranormal lover doesn’t see a picture of a wolf and think “wouldn’t that be cool if there was a human in there?” I love a story that’s so tightly woven that the normal, the real, is grounded enough to make me want to believe the made up.
So let’s talk about the rules of pretend. In paranormal, you’ve got to have rules, or nothing is believable. Yes, I said believable. Even though you know werewolves are pretend (sorry if I just ruined it for anyone), you still have to create the rules of your world and then – and this is most important – you have to follow them!! If you break one of your own rules, in this case, it’s not a good thing. It’s not ‘thinking outside the box’ or whatever else you want to call a rule-breaker. It’s just bad. It makes the whole story bad. So, rules.
In some werewolf legends, the werewolves shifted into a sort of man-wolf thing, that still walked on two legs but had a whole lot more fur and hair on their bodies. (Gross) Older legends, the original ones, said that men actually shifted into a full-blown wolf. (Much prettier) Then there is whether the wolf can shift at will, or if it’s shifting is controlled by something; say, like the full moon, maybe. Then you have to decide if they have supernatural powers, like telepathy, or magic blood, or fast healing or … well, you get the point. Then, you have to figure out their weakness. Is it silver bullets? Or wooden stakes? Or a doggy treat thrown at the right moment, to distract them?
These are all things to consider when creating the rules of your paranormal world. And for me, this is the fun part. Creating the world, and how it operates, is always the fun part. Making sure your characters follow the rules; not so much. That’s when it gets tricky. Because if you mess up the rules, or break them, there goes your credibility. If your wolves are too strong to die, but then the bad guy dies at the end, how believable is that? Or if your wolves can hear each other’s thoughts, how does one get double crossed by another, without seeing it coming? See, tricky.
Now, please do not misunderstand, I am normally not a devoted rule follower. Sometimes I like to break them just to remind myself I can, and nothing bad is going to happen. (My parents were way strict, can you tell?) But in this particular case I’ve learned it is imperative to follow the rules. My consolation: I get to make them up in the first place.
I like to think I’ve covered all bases in Dirty Blood. You be sure to let me know if I broke any rules.
About the Author:
Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. (How was it? Try having your mother as your teacher.) She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her military husband and two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she’s not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she’s helping her husband with DIY projects in their home (he woodworks – she paints) or she’s lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.
Heather loves Mexican food, hates socks with sandals, and if her house was on fire, the one thing she’d grab is her DVR player.
You can find out more about her and her books at heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com
Dirty Blood by Heather Hildenbrand
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