A reader asked...
I'm most curious about how you integrate the rules of your "fantasy" world, with that of the real world.
This was in reference to a comment I made in a recent interview about how I was working on an urban fantasy. (It's on hiatus at the moment until I finish Shifter 2, but I'll be back to it before long). I said that I was finding it a bit of a challenge to write in the real world with real world constraints.
In any fantasy world, you have rules. The author makes them up, so they can do whatever they please within the constraints they set for themselves. The reader doesn't know any better, so unless the author breaks their own established rules, they're golden. In the real world, the author is constrained by the rules every reader is going to know. You can't have Bob suddenly able to read minds in you have no other supernatural element before that point. The telepathy has to be there from the start or the reader won't buy it. Just like they won't buy a student nurse suddenly able to perform complex brain surgery just because the hero needs it. As Scotty says, you cannot change the laws of physics.
But urban fantasy is different. It straddles both real and unreal worlds and plays by a mix of rules. With my urban fantasy, I kept trying to play by real world rules, even though I had already broken them by adding the fantasy element. What I had to do, was find a set of rules that worked with both sides. Create a world where this fantasy element co-existed and everyone played nice together. (well, not nice, that would be no fun, but you get the drift)
I did my world building the same as any other. I knew my fantasy element, and I did a lot of research so it fit as realistically into the real world as possible. I found adhering to what was known made it feel a lot more plausible. (Beta readers kept asking me how much I made up because it was so believable. I took that as a huge compliment)
But mixing the real and the fantasy caused me some trouble. I struggled for a while with this, especially when plotting the end, because I kept trying to find realistic ways to solve my fantasy problem. I kept trying to play by real world rules. Naturally, everything I came up with felt small compared to the problem at hand, and there was no way a typical teen gal could do what needed to be done if I played by real world rules.
Then it hit me.
This is fantasy. Duh.
So I took a step back and thought about what I would do if this wasn't a small town in Georgia, and it was Hildenar, a village in Gamdem. It was way easier to figure it out. And a lot more exciting to boot.
That made me realize that the block I was facing was in being afraid to push the story over the top. To make it work, I had to break the rules, and still stay in the rules. Yeah, I know. Sounds confusing. I had to shift my thinking some. I wasn't putting fantasy elements into our world, I was shoving a human girl into the fantasy world by putting her in contact with them. Even if they all stayed in that small town in Georgia. She was playing by their rules, not ours.
And those were the rules that mattered.