Wednesday, August 26, 2009

World Building a Room in Romance

Pic from ~ ~

So, if you write in the scifi/fantasy/future subgenres of romance how do you world build a room? Obviously, rooms can take on a whole new view and a different meaning depending on the story. Really, rooms in these genres are only limited by the author’s imagination.
I can tell you from having tons of WIPs in these subgenres that creating these rooms is often a challenge. I have to think about what makes sense for that particular world’s culture and for the characters.
How do you write a far future room that is primarily a technology most of us aren’t familiar with or haven’t thought about yet.
I mean, what is it like sailing through the cosmos on any number of space vessels ~ from a one-person cruiser to a planet-sized cargo ship?

Mostly, I enjoy writing rooms that deeply affect the heroine and hero in some way. For example, in ALL SHADES OF BLUE PARADISE, Lady Sheridan and Baron Zaggry have been apart for ten years. In love with each other and planning to marry, Sher sees what she believes to be a betrayal by Zag and breaks their engagement. Now, she’s agreed to be his slave lover for one year to save her brother’s family from debt.
The moment Sher enters the upstairs mansion room that belongs to her, she is both amazed and her heart is torn from its moorings. The room has been designed exactly as she and the Baron lovingly talked about during their engagement. As she moves within and remembers, it’s in those moments her heart knows that Zag still loves her and has always loved her. Her heart knows this, but she doesn’t. She can’t yet. It would be unbearable to her. Still, the truth has found its way inside her because of a room, the room Zag held in his heart and had created for her.

In contrast to Lady Sheridan’s fantasy-in-blue private boudoir, I’ll leave you with the ‘room’ Sun Rocket, my heroine in RED LIONESS TAMED, finds herself trapped inside.

Chapter One excerpt:

"Frax! My brain feels like it’s been spun out of cobwebs," Sun Rocket muttered. She squeezed her eyelids open and shut several times, shifting slightly on the hard metallic surface. Expelling a breath, she attempted to open her eyes. "Frax it to the sun! More cobwebs," she angrily complained.

Pressing her hand over her eyes, she sniffed carefully. Sterile, her surroundings, except for harmless micro dust--except for her--about half a day away from a bath or a good tongue licking. Experimentally she shoved with her foot. Half her usual body weight. She was probably inside some cargo hold, orbiting or...

Sun Rocket shot up to a sitting position. Her head spun at some undefined warp speed. Blinking rapidly, she forced one eye to remain open, seeing ubiquitous gray cargo containers randomly stacked around her. "How the friggin’ frax...?"
She fought to stand upright, assisted by the lessened gravity, and crashed into a tall stack of empty containers. Stumbling into more containers, she kicked at them, managing to knock them out of her way while her head whirled like a new-forming galaxy.

"Not like there’s going to be a port window in here," she muttered derisively. Both eyes open now, she watched the wall circle before her impaired vision like a dimensional portal.

Steadier and steadier on her feet, her brain cobwebs clearing, she automatically reached for her left flank phase pistol. Gone! "Dang the villain! Of course!" she reminded herself. All her weapons would have been stripped during transport into the cargo hold by the beam.

What cargo hold?

Frustrated, wild, she lashed out at the nearest containers with her combat-trained feet--scattering them, semi-floating them away from her. Spying a dark, glass-looking monitor at the top of the hold, Sun Rocket shoved the nearest containers beneath it. Rapidly she threw containers together like a tower. Heedlessly she leapt up the huge makeshift steps, leaned her palms against the wall. She stood on her tiptoes, trying to examine the convex reddish monitor--not a type she knew.
"Get down from there!" a highly irritated male voice commanded in third galactic vernacular.

Wobbling precariously, Sun Rocket knelt on one knee. "Not like I can’t land on my feet like a cat," she murmured, amused for an instant. Gazing down toward the voice’s origin, she saw the fierce male’s flowing locks, well past his shoulders--dark red amber. The humanoid-appearing male glared up at her, hands planted on his hips like a holo-romance buccaneer. From her view, the rest of him could be compared favorably to a lean, yet beautifully muscled hero. Even his garments--a style unknown to her in her far-flung galactic travels tracking down, taking in or eliminating cat shifters who had gone bad--even his garments were reminiscent of swashbuckling ancient Earth.

"Who are you?" she called down to him, resting on her haunches. It was her good luck moon, she was still in human form. Not every galactic race "appreciated" feline shifters. To put it tuna-fish mildly.

Yep, it’s a universe of room building in romance ~ the past, present and future ~ other fantasy dimensions, other worlds... whatever the mind of the writer can conceive.
So, what room are you penning right now?
Do you have a favorite room in a romance novel you’ve read?



Savanna Kougar

~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Author of ~

All Shades of Blue Paradise
Red Lioness Tamed
When a Good Angel Falls ~ In Print
Tangerine Carnal Dreams
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ In Print
Black Cat Beauty
Stallion of Ash and Flame ~ coming from Siren-BookStrand


Savanna Kougar said...

Rooms with a kiss or two ~

Serena Shay said...

Excellent post, Savanna! I love to world build rooms, especially rooms not known in the "real" world. :) There is just something about being able to make up any old thing you think would be cool and adding it to a room.

Maybe it's a room where the flowers grow with just a request from the occupant. Every day a different flower.

One of my favorite world building room ideas comes from Star Trek - the instant food maker know, Picard would always ask for Earl Gray - hot. That would be a fabulous addition to my home! NO MORE COOKING! My family would be pleased! hehehe

Lindsay Townsend said...

Fascinating blog, Savanna! Love the curses your Sun Rocket uses in the excerpt you give us. And yes, my heart would be torn if I saw a room that a lover had planned with me and then we were no longer together. You give us the vital emotional context, there.

Science fiction and fantasy rooms are always interesting and, as you say, follow the logic of the rest of the created world. I love reading science fiction and fantasy for that reason: the world building.

Great post!

(Serena - I'd love a food maker, too! And your flower room sounds lovely!)

Savanna Kougar said...

Serena, so true about a replicator, if that's the term Star Trek used. Yep, Earl Gray tea, hot... I so remember Picard saying that.
Actually, I've used that idea, of course, in some stories, since it's so logical... and, oh, the convenience.

I love that flower-growing idea!

Savanna Kougar said...

Lindsay, that is part of the thrill and challenge of writing fantasy/sci fi and futuristic... the world building and how it is both incorporated into the story and creates the story.
Thank you, for your kind words.

Serena Shay said...

Replicator!!! Yes! That's the name of it... lol some days, ya know. Thanks Savanna!

Lindsay & Savanna - thanks, I would be in heaven with a flower room! :)

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Brilliant post. I've always wondered how fantasy/sci-fi authors do what they do, and just how far they can go with building a new world - the answer seems to be 'just as far as they like!' (duh!) You can indulge your imagination to its limits, and creating a whole world and society as well as every room in it is amazing. Gotta say, you do this SO well, Savanna. :)
One of my favourite ideas - in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the breadknife that toasts the bread as it slices it. Waaaah, I WANT one of those!
Great post - thank you.

Jane x

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Jane, that would be great. Think what else you could toast while slicing... the villain, perhaps?

Jane Richardson, writer said...


J x

Linda Banche said...

Great descriptions, Savanna

Savanna Kougar said...

Linda, thank you!
Looking forward to your Halloween Story, Pumpkinnapper ~ forgive the spelling. Sometimes my brain doesn't cooperate. It's been that way since I was kid, a mild form of dyslexia, I think.