Five Thoughts on Historical Worldbuilding

1. I definitely prefer when I can spend a lot of time with the historical background of a story, maybe not overtly by making notes but organically, letting my thoughts come together slowly as I read about different aspects of the time period. Ideally, I could read for several years…but that’s never happened.

2. Eventually, you have to stop researching and start writing. You might have to go back to research at some point. You might also have to learn to work around needing more research. Research can be done at a time when you aren’t able to continue with the story, perhaps when you’re too tired or are able to go to the library.

3. The hardest part of worldbuilding, for me, is knowing that my imaginary world can never be as complex as a real one. There’s no way for me to show everything. I have to make choices about what’s most relevant to the story I’m telling.

4. No matter how much research I do, there will always be something I miss; there will always be a geek who is geekier than I am. The corollary is that the geekier geek will always find me and point out my mistake.

5. I think the story often benefits from less detail rather than more. But you have to know the more before you can choose the less.

Published by Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s writing showcases her voracious lifelong love of books. She reads over 120 new books each year, especially historical romance, fantasy, and space opera, and incorporates these genres into her erotic fiction. Her first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. When not writing, Victoria conducts research in libraries and graveyards, lectures about writing and selling erotica, and speaks at literary conventions on topics such as paranormal romance, urban fantasy, erotic science fiction/fantasy, and the empowerment of women through unconventional means. Her daily writing blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and author interviews. She also guest blogs for Heroes & Heartbreakers and The Criminal Element. She lives in Philadelphia.

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