Guest Blogger: C.J. Barry
The winner of C.J.'s book is: Willow! Congratulations, Willow. Send me your snail mail info and I'll pass it along to C.J. Thanks to everyone who participated.
I have a sign over my computer. It says “Be fearless. Write the books that only you can write.”
I have no idea where this came from, but for over ten years I’ve looked up at that sign every time I sit down to write. I have to. I write paranormal.
When you write paranormal, there are no guidelines, not even from the pirates. There’s no pre-built worlds or historical documents or roadmaps that you can start with. And by its very nature, it is supernatural. Speculative. Different. And unworldly.
There is, however, a method to the madness of writing paranormal. I’ve done workshops on world-building. I can tell you all the rules that make paranormals believable. With Fantasy, your characters live and die by the rules you set out in their world. In Science Fiction, your world and technologies have to be plausible science. Whether you are writing wizards or aliens or vampires, there is a strange new world that must be built. Built well and built bravely.
Case in point. A typical conversation between me and husband:
Me: I’m thinking about creating giant fifteen foot lizard-like creatures in my book who eat little crab-like creatures on a deserted planet for my book.
Husband (opens the refrigerator door): Uh-huh.
Me: The big lizards are the bad guys and the little crabs are the good guys. The crabs live under the sand but when there are earthquakes, which happen every time the portals open, all the little crabs climb out of the sand and the big lizards have a feeding frenzy.
Husband (starts looking through the kitchen cupboards): Okay.
Me: The lizards breed very slowly and the crabs breed really fast.
Husband (frowns): Huh.
Me: Does that sound like a good food chain to you?
Husband (finally looks at me): What?
Me: Food chain. Do you think enough crabs could sustain the lizards that size?
Husband: Um, I guess so.
Me (throwing my hands up): But would you believe it if you read it?
Husband: I have to read about a food chain?
Me (headache forming): No. No, you don’t.
Husband: Oh, then it sounds fine. Are we out of bread?
You see the problem here. To write paranormal, you must be brave, fearless. We imagine things that are frighteningly unique, as individual as we are. Worlds that only exist in words. Places and beings so real, they have the power to take us on the journey with them. Any crazy ideas we come up with, we have pull off. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t, you don’t feel so fearless. But how could you give up something as magical, as challenging and hard and fascinating, as building something from nothing?
So to all the readers out there, thank you for allowing us to write the stories and the worlds in our hearts. Thank you for following us down paths no one has ever walked. And thank you for believing in giant lizards and little crab people. Who else would have us?
Thanks for having me here on Paranormality.
To read more about my latest paranormal adventures, visit my website at http://www.cjbarry.com/.