Romantic Times: Notes on the World Building Seminar

Hi Folks. I’m home and I have a WEEK’S worth of stuff to tell you, which clearly can NOT be done in one post and clearly, I was a massive #fail at live blogging the Romantic Times convention.

First of all, I couldn’t take my work laptop so I borrowed one and I literally couldn’t type on it. It had a huge built in touch pad and would delete everything I wrote or scroll away from it every thirty seconds. It was beyond frustrating. If I had bought the laptop I would have returned it within five minutes of trying to use it.

Secondly, I really didn’t have the time to write anyway. Not staying at the hotel meant hours of driving in and out of Venice Beach and I’d be so tired I didn’t get crap done on the blog. In a nutshell, I seriously underestimated how hard Romantic Times would kick my ass.

However, It was a ball. I made some great new friends; I met some amazing authors and even shook hands with a hero or two. It will take me many posts to catch you up on all the super cool things I got to see and do. I’m also massively behind in writing reviews, so my promise to you my dears is mucho content this week, as well as LOADS of contests. I have so many new books, it’s staggering, which just means great books coming your way.

To start, Mike and I stayed at a friend of ours in Venice, which was right on the beach. Ron just got back from months of touring with Prince as his soundman and was home one night and then left to tour with Bad Religion. I asked him when he would be home and he said, “November.” I just looked at him, but he was serious. He had an Emmy on the night stand. I was teasing him about it and he said he had two more (they were for doing sound for TV shows). He said his mom had one of them and he thought he’d lost one in a move. His sheer nonchalance was so punk rock. He has 7 Surf Boards in the living room and misplaced an Emmy. He said he had a friend who had seven of them and uses one for a doorstop.

Venice Beach was something to see let me tell you. We were there the better part of a week (we spent one night at the Bonnaventure), but we only actually sat on the beach and chilled for an hour the last day, we were so busy running around. Mike would take me to the convention, and then go hang out with friends or go to museums, while I did the convention thing.

Diana Rowland and Jaye Wells Discuss World Building

The first day I went to a great seminar on World Building. The panel was hosted by Jackie Kessler and featured Kelley Armstrong, Jaye Wells, Diana Rowland and Rachel Vincent. It was a great seminar. Kelley stated she has twelve books in the Otherworld with 4 books in the same world focused on Young Adult. Jaye Wells talked about her series of Sabina the half Vampire/Half Mage, Diana Rowland is an Ex Cop who also worked in the morgue so she brings an almost police procedural aspect to her Urban Fantasy world building. Rachel Vincent talked about how her Shifter series is over and she is working on a new series.

One of the things they discussed was, when creating your world you have to decide is it an open world where Humans are aware of the supernatural entities living around them or is it a closed world a Masquerade, where the humans must be kept in the dark. Jaye Wells talked about how old Folklore, and Mythology are great resources for creativity. How you can take what you like and combine it with what you are working on.

They talked about how you have to know the rules of the world you build. Rowland discussed how she had originally created her character to only summon during the full moon but how that became too limiting so she had to find a work around. Wells discussed how the authors don’t reveal all their secrets at once and it creates plot twists. Writing yourself in a corner becomes an opportunity but you must be consistent, or the fans will not like it, and they do catch anything that is inconsistent and let you know.

When asked how they keep things straight in their world as a series continues, Rachel Vincent said she had one line in her first book that caused her problems in the next three. Just one line. Wells said she wished one of her fans would write a Wiki of her world just to help keep things straight and Rowland said she’d actually hired someone to do just that. Kelley Armstrong said she has what she calls a Bible for her series that she refers to all the time, and also her Beta readers keep her on track.

When asked about Trends in world building the panel said that Dystopia was big right now in Young Adult, also Zombies and Steampunk. That someone is always saying Urban Fantasy has peaked and is on its way out and it just keeps going strong. That good stories always sell. Wells said it isn’t enough to come up with just a regular story, you have to find your own twist. Find new ways to look at old monsters. Kesler said not to write to a trend. It takes 2-3 years for your book to hit the shelves AFTER you write it , get an agent and get a publishing deal. By the time you come out, the “trend” will have already passed and your book can languish.

Every author, when asked if they would like to live in the world they had created said “No” very vehemently! Rachel Vincent said No about five times which cracked us all up. Wells summed it up great. She said something like that she could buy a pair of leather pants and a gun and go look for trouble in the real world, but that she’d rather be home in comfortable clothes writing about it. I couldn’t agree more.

When asked what the hardest part was, Vincent said it was to keep your own rules straight and not break them accidentally. Wells said that Sabina being half Vampire/Half Mage she can go out in the sunlight but that Wells has to remember if she’s been out she gets tired so it can really affect her if she is in a fight or something later she can’t be at full strength.

They talked about visuals and music. Wells has a playlist for every book and photos to create a theme. Rowland said she has Butcher paper on the walls around the house when she is working on a book with notes on them.

When they were asked about other authors world building the book White Cat by Holly Black came up a lot! (There was a huge buzz at the convention about this book, it was mentioned at about 3 different panels. I bought the book, had Holly sign it, and read it on the way home and it is amazing!)
Jaye Wells mentioned like Kim Harrison’s world building and Diane Rowland thought that Dune was the best world building. How it had religion and politics and language and how all these things worked together.

I took extensive notes on this seminar, one because it was my first one so I was all excited and two because it was a great panel with fun women who were really accessible to questions and gave great answers.

The beautiful and hilarious Diana Rowland

Jaye Wells and Adrian Phoenix visit after the discussion

Well that is it for my first post. I’ll write more tomorrow and put up my first free book contest. Stay tuned, I’ll be putting books up all week!

Missed you my lovelies. Glad to be back.

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