Wednesday, August 10, 2011
My sister actually came up with the title for today's blog post. We were talking about our favorite paranormal/UF books and the discussion came around to books with large casts of supernatural characters. Hence, alphabet soup. We like our books to be crammed with supernatural creatures from A to Z.
When a story is brewing and percolating in my mind, I already have an idea of who (and what) my major players are going to be. And since I love to write series, I have to be really careful not to paint myself into a corner. A small cast of characters can be the kiss of death to a series.
I need variety. I can't settle for just vampires. Or just vampires and werewolves. I want vampires, werewolves, fae, goblins, ghouls, demons, and as many otherworldly creatures as I can think of. Now, you don't have to cram all of these creatures into every single scene. But, these fringe creatures should be introduced at least once, so they can be brought into later scenes or later books with ease. A series is only as good as its individual stories. And no one wants to read seven books about one creature. That's not what a typical urban fantasy reader is looking for. Neither do they want to read about every single supernatural creature under the sun hanging out in one book. That's just too much, and it's easy for the story to spiral out of control. Not to mention the burden of world-building that the author has to pull off in order to keep the story believable.
But by introducing a large cast, you can have one book that focuses on one creature, another book that focuses on another, and so on. Your world-building is only as good as the creatures in your world. And the story options once they're there, is limitless.
How about you? Do you enjoy an alphabet's worth of supernatural characters in the books you read, or do you prefer to focus on a specific creature? And does the lack or excess of either affect a good series?