Years ago, I got into reading some science fiction romances. As a reader, I loved how the authors would create these unique, futuristic worlds. As a writer, I was fascinated with how they did so and I devoured books on creating worlds and read articles about the techniques used.
I am one of those people who tend to absorb information whether I need it or not and then tuck it away or sometimes forget it. That info was all tucked into the back of brain. So, when I started to get the idea for a unique little town where Cupid runs rampant, I immediately pulled up some of the info on building a world.
Daydream Your World
I spent hours daydreaming about this little town I started to call Cupid’s Crossing. What would the town feel like? When I’d drive through a small town in southern Indiana, where I live, I would study the courthouse and the homes and the buildings and try to imagine if any of those elements were similar in the town I was creating in my mind.
I imagined walking down the street in Cupid’s Crossing. What was it like? Did I know people as I passed them? Did they wave and say hello? Did I feel safe there? Where was my favorite restaurant? What was my favorite dish there?
I started to jot down notes about Cupid’s Crossing. A diner came to life called First Date Café where they served mini tartlets in a wide variety of flavors. Elements from my everyday life started to morph and change and appear in Cupid’s Crossing.
Map Out Your World
I knew I needed more than notes, though. I needed to be able to visualize this town, especially once I started writing. I needed to know where exactly that diner was located. What buildings were around it? Where would I park if I drove there? What business was next door? Where might my character’s house be?
I actually used a software and created an actual map of my town, which you can view on my website or in the first book in the Cupid’s Crossing series, Cupid’s Quest. I printed this map out and kept it next to me. I did change it as I began to write my story, because some things didn’t work the way they were. But, most of it stayed the same.
Give Your World Unique Elements
The next step was to give Cupid’s Crossing those unique elements that all small, Indiana towns have. I created a statue in the park that had a legend surrounding it, a parade that happens every year at the same time, and a fountain on a tree-lined street where true love meets in the moonlight.
Adding unique elements can make your world seem more realistic. Think about your own town and what is unique about it. I live in tiny little Henryville, Indiana, which is only known as being the birthplace of Colonel Sanders and the place where an EF4 tornado hit in 2012. Yet, there are unique things about this town. We have an annual parade, like most towns. We have a flagpole that memorializes what we went through in 2012 and how the world embraced our town and helped us. We have a beautiful state park as well.
Every town has something unique. So, a fictional town should have unique elements as well. The better you know your town, the easier it is to figure out what those things might be.
Move Characters Into the Buildings
My next step was to begin thinking about the people filling those buildings. Who was the waitress at the diner who would wait on me? Was there a town veterinarian? Where did the old folks live and who took care of them? For me, this was the point where my first book in the Cupid’s Crossing series started to take shape. The woman who runs the nursing home spoke to my heart. I used to go visit seniors with my church when I lived in Greenfield, Indiana. I always loved it. I’ve always had a special fondness for the older generation, even the cranky ones.
For you, the story might start to take shape at a different point. You might have a character in mind and create the town/world around that character. Whichever way it happens, it is almost magical the way it all comes together. At this point, Cupid’s Crossing seems so real to me that I can easily imagine spending an afternoon there. What world can you imagine?
Lori Soard is the author of the Cupid’s Crossing series and multiple other books. She also writes articles on business topics and designs websites. She loves to hear from her readers.