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Writing Paranormal Romance

July 1, 2009

Paranormal romance seems to be the flavour of the year, with the huge influx in romance stories filled with demons, werewolves, shape shifters, the ubiquitous vampire, superheros, Gods and other fantastic creatures. Vampire porn has simmered in the background of erotic romance for years, but it has enjoyed a renewed interest after the Cullens were thrust into the limelight. Although it may seem saturated, the market is always keen for more paranormal romance with the key having a new angle, a new twist or take on the world and beings which inhabit it. The fascination of allure of the dark, dangerous realms in which the paranormal exists is a huge drawcard for many readers; especially if there is forbidden love involved. If, as a writer you decide to dip your fountain pen into its murky depths, then there are certain rules which you must adhere to.

The Vampire
Vampire Lust   Image via Wikipedia

As with any story, there are major elements of a story which act as the adhesive for the plot.
Strong characters with strong motivation to their decisions and actions (which may be hidden or teased out gradually depending on how you like to introduce them)
Strong elements of conflict. Within romance, this needs to be a simmering pot of emotions.
However add to the pot –
Thorough research or definitions to your paranormal rules
Consistency within your paranormal rules.

Character Building
There has been ample information shared about building characters, fleshing out their desires, emotions, fears, likes and dislikes. Look specifically at the species (the supernatural or paranormal creature you create) and its definitions and life rules. Paranormal beings tend to be drawn upon human characteristics. This is particularly important for the romantic hero/heroine of your story, so that your readers can relate, lust or hunger after them.

Creating conflict within paranormal stories is extremely enjoyable, adding a romantic twist to it make it even more delightful. It gives the audience the chance to completely abandon their mundane life and wander into new worlds and be enchanted and seduced by new beings. It a chance to ‘suspend disbelief, so ensure that there is enough simmering conflict to keep the story and romance rolling.

There are many types of interesting situations to explore explosive chemistry between subspecies and research or thorough character class definition is the key to believability. The most common is for a paranormal being to fall in love ( or the other way round) with a human and for this love to be rejected by one or the others society – or for them to keep it a secret from all but the reader.

You may choose to make up a sub species or superhero character for your story. If you use a creature with an established mythology, like the vampire or werewolf, ensure you do extensive research on their capabilities. Nothing kills a paranormal story quicker than inconsistencies within mythology, and some readers get very precious about the ‘known’ knowledge of some beings. You can of course fly in the face of superstitious knowledge and create your own rules ( thanks Stephanie Meyer with sunlight and vampires)

Create your own world and be consistent with the rules you set. If you borrow from other worlds or myths, ensure your angle or idea is constant the entire way through your story. Be mindful of the physicality of your beings, especially if they become romantically involved with a human. Tentacles, wings and other appendages may get in the way of love making or present a completely unbelievable scenario.

Write from your passion. Don’t focus on fads and what’s ‘hot at the moment – write from your bliss and stay consistent with that.

Continue to read in the genre you wish to writing in. Look at the things you like and don’t like about books you read. Make notes on the parts you would edit out or how you’d take a character or a scene a step further – if it were your story.

Keep it Simple -Don’t try to introduce too many ‘beings’ within your story – or include a paranormal creature just for the sake of it. They generally don’t live in the same space comfortably in anycase, but tramping a variety of vampires, gnomes, fairies, werewolves, angels, elves, Gods and trolls throughout your text lead to your readers becoming extremely confused.

Where to next?

I’d suggest looking at Zerotime for detailed info on vampires and werewolves.   Paranormal Romance has forums and yahoo groups to discuss romance within science fiction, fantasy, and romantic fiction with paranormal elements, including time travel, futuristic, magical, ghost, vampire and shapeshifter themes.

Bringing a new eye to the genre, a new twist is key to breaking into this growth area in writing. Most importantly, don’t get lost in the paranormal elements of the novel. As always, the main focus is quality writing exploring the romance between the main characters and the development of their relationship. It just so happens that one or the other has certain physicalties or powers which sets them apart from the readers.

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Annie Evett is guilty on many occasions for the over use of weird stuff simply for the sake of it being spooky or unusual. Can’t help it – double scorpio. Catch her growing amount of websites and blogs here
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  1. July 1, 2009 11:55 am

    Hi, Annie! Found the link on Twitter. I’ve been writing Paranormal/Fantasy for several years. Thanks for the wonderful tips.

  2. July 2, 2009 6:07 pm

    Hi Judith – glad it was of assistance to you.

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