When I read a book, I’m looking for much more than a few hours of killed time. I want to be swept up by and sucked into a whole new world. I want to see it unfold gracefully as I turn each page. That just doesn’t happen if the world isn’t carefully developed and laid out for me. I believe most readers feel that way. Why read if you’re not going to be drawn into the story? Character development and world building are keys to that.
Characters absolutely have to leap off the page and into my head. I’ve got to connect to them on some level or they just seem flat and well, artificial. Development is a delicate process that results in the readers learning bits and pieces about the characters as a plot unfolds. I don’t want to know everything at once; I want to learn about them, get to know them, just as I would if they were new acquaintances I met at a party. Love at first sight is rare in real life; it’s just as rare in fiction. Every page should reveal a little more, show a little more emotion, a little more history until you feel like you’ve known these characters forever and are completely invested in them.
World building is critical when writing fantasy of any kind. My series blurs the lines between urban fantasy and paranormal romance. The fantasy elements are uber important to the characters’ lives and shape their actions and their destinies. It’s absolutely critical that readers are drawn into their world so they connect with them, root for them, and fall in love with them. After all, don’t we read to escape into a world that’s more exciting than our own?