#Amwriting: How to Create Believable Paranormal Characters

How to create believable paranormal creatures

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…

1. Originality
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?

2. History
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.

3. World-building
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.

4. Science
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.

Related articles
Why We Love Paranormal Romance
Which Paranormal Creature Would You Be
If a Vampire Offered You Immortality, Would You Take It?

Creating believable paranormal monsters
What’s your favorite way to create a believable paranormal story?

Please leave your comments below.

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About shondabrock

I'm a southern in my heart and a northern in my soul. I've had a few bad wines, but for the most part I've enjoyed enough good wines that it makes up for the few bad bottles. I enjoy writing, but more than writing itself, I love telling a good story, taking my reader off on an adventure starting with "What If"…. I'm a sucker for the Paranormal Romance genre. To me, its nice to be released from "What Is Expected" and believe for 250 pages in "What If's". Its like a vacation with out passports, waiting in line and an expensive credit card bill when you return home. Please Enjoy, but more importantly Stay Inspired…
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One Response to #Amwriting: How to Create Believable Paranormal Characters

  1. Great article! Nothing to add.

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