Monday, June 26, 2017

Getting The Details Right

When writing a paranormal fantasy you have the great potential to create your own worlds. You can walk around in it. Create new acquaintances, and make new friends and allies. You’re comfortable in your own skin and your imagination has no limits. I love those kinds of stories.

My stories are paranormal historical, primarily written in the medieval time, and you have to get the details right. You have to learn the customs, the food, clothing and traditions. It all comes down to research. Sometimes it takes more time to do the research than actually writing the story, but those details help to create the story. Not to say that my characters don’t break convention. What fun would that be if they didn’t? They are led by need and desires that would make the church blush.

My contemporary suspense is set in Chicago. I literally have to walk the streets of downtown to get the culture of a big city, what it smells like, look like, and feel like. Crossing a city street is a talent all its own. My favorite time to be in Chicago is during the Christmas season. The lights, the smell of coffee coming out of the coffee shops, and the smell of food as it puffs out the restaurant doors as patrons go in and out.

I’m working on a time travel story now, and I get to use everything I learned from both time lines and combined them together. I have copious notes of both medieval Europe and present day Chicago. All the research I did is helping this story move much more quickly and allows me to compare and contrast the two times periods and explore their differences and the conflict it creates between the hero and the heroine.

The heroine finds herself in the middle of the woods after being chased through a portal by two drug dealers. When men in armor ride up to her she thinks she had somehow found herself at a renaissance fair. She was unaware she had actually traveled back in time.
Here is a little taste of Quin and Grace’s first meeting.

Thank God, somebody who can help me. A group of men were wearing chainmail and metal helmets.
Grace let out a chuckle. “Sorry,” she said as she raised her hand. “I don’t mean to laugh, but you guys look great. Your costumes look so authentic. You’ve taken the medieval thing to a whole new level. Is the renaissance fair nearby?”
One of the men stepped down from his horse. The others moved around her in a tight circle. When he removed his helmet Grace’s heart tripped up. He had to be most beautiful man she ever saw in her whole life. Like Chris Hemsworth in the Thor movie. His blond hair fell just below his shoulders. Even though he was covered in chainmail there was no hiding the strong body beneath it. All he needed was his hammer. He was something right out of a romance novel.
“Who are you and what are you doing here?”
First thought. Handsome or not, what a jerk! There was no Hello, or are you lost, can I help you in some way, just ‘Who are you?’ like I stepped on his cat.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize I was trespassing” She said curtly. “Can you tell me where I can find the nearest road?” She raised her phone over her head to see it still reading ‘No Service.’
“Do you guys get cell service out here? I can’t seem to get any bars.” The ringing of metal scraping metal set her teeth on edge. Handsome had his sword pointed it at her chest.
“Give me the box.”
“Not on your life,” she said, pressing her phone to her chest.
“I assure you it won’t be my life. Now hand me the box.”
He towered over her, but most people did since she was only five-two. She gave up her resolve then slapped the phone in his hand. “Fine. Happy now?”
His stone like expression made her wary. “Your bag.”
“What is this, a hold up?” Stone silence. She blew out a puff of air and slid the bag off her shoulder and handed it to him. He in turn tossed it to one of the men behind her. “Hey! Be careful with that. It has my computer in it.” She turned back to him. “Now what? You have my things.”
He looked her up and down. Not in a creepy way, but like he was sizing up a sandwich. “You are oddly dressed.”
“It’s called jeans and a leather jacket. Look I’m not interested in your little roll playing game. All I want are directions out of here and you can give me back my things and  carry on with your reenactment, thing.”
Suddenly, two arrows thumped down at her feet Thor didn’t hesitate. He picked her up and threw her in the saddle and jumped on behind her. The small band of men broke their circle and flanked them on both sides.
Arrows came out of nowhere. “What is going on?” she yelled
“An ambush.”
“You mean those arrows are real?”
“Why would you question that?”
“Right now I can’t think of, why.”
He pressed her head down and lowered his body around her like a shield. Her heart beat like a jackhammer. The saddle pressed against her hip. This wasn’t as comfortable as it looked on TV. “I’m tired of this game. You’ve had your fun, now let me go!” She tried to shift herself in position to jump but he held her too tightly.
“Sit still, woman, I am trying to save your life.”
“Knock it off, or I’ll press charges for kidnapping. Now let me go!”

If there was a time you could go back to where would it be?


Diane Burton said...

Victoria, that excerpt was exciting. You are right about how important research is. Eagle-eyed readers will tell you when you get it wrong. LOL In high school and college, I hated research. Now, it's so easy with the internet. The bad thing is how easy it is to get lost in the research. Click on a link here, there, and everywhere. But all that research we have to know, most lies hidden from the reader. It helps us make the story real. You mentioned smells. I always forget that, yet smells evoke so many emotions. Great post.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I'm laughing, that excerpt was hilarious. I feel most sorry for Quin.