I’ve written a few contemporary romance short stories but while writing, as a seat-of-your-pants writer, I’d never given much thought to the world-building part of it. When I first started writing, this part of the craft was one of those things required for the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres. While thinking about blogging topics specific to the genres I write, this came up as a possible topic and I decided to do a little research to see what I could find.
It turns out that world-building is the process of creating any fictional world that is believable and consistent, with its own rules, cultures, and history. Although it is often associated with science fiction and fantasy, world-building is a crucial element in any type of fiction, including contemporary romance short stories.
Think about when you create the fictional setting or town for your main character, and you begin to fill in their surroundings. This too can be world-building. When it comes to contemporary romance, world-building is about creating a rich and compelling setting that enhances the story and draws the reader into the character’s world. In a short story, due to the brevity, you wouldn’t want to create anything too elaborate or complicated, but you should include bits and pieces of information to make your characters and their surroundings realistic.
Here are some tips on how to world-build for your contemporary romance short stories:
- Set the scene: The first step in world-building is to establish the setting. Where does the story take place? Is it in a small town, a big city, or a rural area? What is the general vibe of the location, and how does it affect the story?
- Create a backstory: A rich backstory can add depth and complexity to a contemporary romance short story. Consider the history of the location, the culture of the characters, and any relevant events that have shaped their world. This can help you establish the rules of your world and create a sense of verisimilitude.
- Establish cultural norms: Cultural norms are important aspects of world-building. They can create tension, drama, and conflict between the characters. Think about the social mores and values of the setting, and how they affect the relationships between your characters.
- Develop secondary characters: While the focus of a contemporary romance short story is usually on your main characters, secondary characters can add depth and complexity to the world. Consider the supporting cast of the story and how they interact with your main characters.
- Consider the role of technology: Technology plays a significant role in modern romance stories, so it’s important to consider how it affects the world. Does everyone have a smartphone? Is online dating a common practice? How does social media affect your characters’ relationships?
- Don’t forget the sensory details: Finally, it’s important to create a world that is rich in sensory details. Use descriptive language to paint a picture of the setting, including the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the environment. This can help immerse the reader into your story and create a more vivid reading experience.
In short, world-building for contemporary romance short stories is about creating a setting that enhances the story and draws the reader into the character’s world. By setting the scene, creating a backstory, establishing cultural norms, developing secondary characters, considering the role of technology, and including sensory details, you can create a rich and compelling world that will resonate with readers.
When I finish with my work-in-process novel (Book 3 of the Style and Profile series), I’m planning a large book of Christmas short stories. Some will be romantic, some mysterious, and some will be paranormal. Whatever the genre, world-building will be an integral part.
My short stories aren’t your normal boy meets girl, will they or won’t they be together. Mine are about mature couples between thirty-somethings and retirement, who later in their lives after some time apart are interested in forgiveness and second chances (A Dream Come True and In His Arms). Or they are couples struggling with the obstacles of life and fighting to make their relationships work (All For Love and Love Conquers All).
Below are my single short stories:
Purchase as singles (above) for 99 cents each or get them all together for the same price (left) in a short story set, Dream Conquer and Love.
Amazon Kindle: A Dream Come True, In His Arms, All For Love, and Love Conquers All.
Other Booksellers: A Dream Come True, In His Arms, All For Love, and Love Conquers All.
Dream Conquer and Love: Amazon Kindle, Other online Booksellers.