Paranormal romance is one of the most popular genres of romantic fiction. Why? Because we want to believe in the myths and the legends. We want these creatures to exist.
That’s why the key to making an engaging paranormal, horror, or sci-fi story is to make it plausible. We can’t be scared of a monster if we don’t believe in it. We can’t fall in love with a vampire if he seems silly and contrived.
So how do successful paranormal romance writers suck you into their supernatural world? Here are five techniques that keep an audience thirsting for more…
No one wants to hear the same story over and over again. Most people are familiar with the typical vampire lore, fairy stories, and werewolf legends. Familiar = boring.
Build upon obscure legends, create new mythology, or choose stories from exotic cultures to make your story more intriguing. Think of a new twist to the origins of your paranormal creatures. Why were they created? Why are they among humans? What is their role in the world?
One of the most effective tools for making your paranormal characters or monsters seem real is to tie them into history.
Give them a role to play. Use their existence to answer a question or clarify a vague event. Did your vampires aid in a miraculous victory during the crusades? Were your evil mermaids responsible for the real-life disappearance of a particular ship? Make sure you’ve done the research and that your facts are accurate.
Even if your paranormal characters don’t come from a different dimension or world, (e.g. they live in a place like Forks, WA) make sure you invent a good reason for them to be there. Explain how they survive in that area. How do they evade the detection of normal world?
It’s similar to creating a fantasy world because a paranormal creature’s perspective of the life on Earth will be different than a human’s. You must step into their shoes, adopt their psychological and emotional challenges, and even tackle some practical things, like evading the IRS through multiple lifetimes or trying to prevent morphing into a werewolf while driving.
It’s easy to get carried away with your imagination, and the possibilities with paranormal creatures are endless, but this is the age of science and your audience is well educated and will not be easily fooled.
Use scientific reasoning to explain why your paranormal characters evolved. Why do they look the way they do? What climates do they face? What prey do they feed on, or against what predators do they defend themselves? Make sure your monster’s wart-armored skin and Narwhal-like tusk have a biological reason for being there.
5. Supernatural limits
It is tempting when writing paranormal characters to endow them with infinite strength and incredible superhuman abilities, but if there is no way to defeat them, then there is no hope for a conflict or room for growth. Remember Superman, the strongest man alive, was rendered helpless with Kryptonite.
Outline the strengths and weaknesses of each paranormal creature in your story and be sure to assign limits to their powers. Use the interplay of their powers and limitations to create the suspense.
To tie it all together, these five techniques help construct a believable connection for the Reader, because in the end, isn’t that the goal? To create a connection on some level–rather it be terror, horror or even romance–to make the reader want turn the page, devour each line and crave to know what happens next.
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