Paranormal/Supernatural Fiction- What do you look for?

On a previous blog post, I took a poll of favorite genres which the visitors of this blog were able to vote.  A wide selection of responses came back, but certain ones took the lead, paranormal/supernatural being one of them.  For those of you who didn’t vote, the poll is still open. I do continue to rely on it for helping me know what people may enjoy discussing.

Of course, you have most likely figured out which genre will be the topic today.  It is most appropriate since the next episode of “Vampire Diaries” will be coming on tonight.  One of my favorite shows, though I know many readers here don’t follow it.  That is okay, I’ll forgive you, eventually 🙂

I digress, though, because this blog is all about books, reading, and writing.  Today I would like to discuss what fans of the genre like to see when selecting a book.  Do you have a certain theme or style you prefer?  Do you favor werewolves, vampires, fae, ghosts or one of the many other paranormal creatures that are used for fictional storytelling?  Feel free to discuss anything that pertains to the topic.

As for me, I prefer vampires as the main race.  The book should also be in first person, with a strong female lead, who isn’t a vampire (at least in the beginning).  If it is a series, all the better.  I get attached to the characters and want to see more of their adventures.  There is a limit to how far a story can go, but I definitely prefer more than one novel.  Some people will claim authors write series only because it guarantees future readers.  That “might” be the case for some, but most actually do it because the world building is already set up and readers are already attached.  People like me want more books and the market has proven time and again that readers will follow a series if the author does a good job of catching their audience’s attention in the beginning.  I’m a sucker for such books and I’m not ashamed to say it.

Of course, there are only so many good vampire series out there.  So I have branched out to books with mixed races.  That can be a lot of fun too.  In rare cases, I even enjoy a story in third person, so long as the author can still get me attached to their main characters.  There has to be potential for romance as well, or I drop the series.  This happened with the “Chronicles of Elantra” by Michelle Sagara, where it is up to book seven and the main character still hasn’t settled down, even though the author has given plenty of opportunities for it to happen.  Many other readers gave up because of this as well.  She has written some great action, but having a character stay lonely for this many novels is driving a lot of fans away.  I stopped at book three after getting impatient and checking reviews of future books.  Most of them complained about the very thing I was worried about, but it let me know to give up, as I’m just not that patient.

Everyone has their own preferences, though, and you all are welcome to contribute your own feelings on what makes a good paranormal/supernatural book.  I think many writers who follow this blog will be interested as well!




~ by Suzie on October 6, 2011.

11 Responses to “Paranormal/Supernatural Fiction- What do you look for?”

  1. I’m up for any supernatural race/interpretation. I like the classic vampire, werewolf, etc. myths, but I also enjoy unique takes, like Maggie Stiefvater’s werewolves that are affected by temperature rather than the lunar cycle. (Too bad the other aspects of her trilogy were terrible.)

    I’ve noticed most of this genre seems to be done in first person. And I like romance, but only if I like the guy. A little rough around the edges is fine, but I’ve quit reading a couple books where the guy was 100% arrogant and domineering. I don’t care if the heroine “eventually melts his heart;” I’m not waiting around to see it. The guy has to have some kind of redeeming quality right off the bat.

    • Lol, Angela, we appear so different in what we look for on the guys in romance, but you still have great taste in books as far as I’m concerned so maybe we aren’t too far apart!

  2. Hi, Suzie: Another great blog. I, for one, am one of those readers that would be fascinated to learn what people like and do like in their paranormal romance. As you know, I’ve been working on one (a tad on the slow side) so the education would be invaluable.

    • You know I’ll be happy to help you out Tim. Paranormal romance is a tricky thing, but I have full faith in you figuring it out. Since yours is YA, though, I would suggest reading a couple of the really successful ones to see what those authors did (don’t count Twilight as one of your only examples). It may give you an idea of what readers of that genre are looking for. Angela follows those series much more than I do and can probably give you a couple good recommendations. Also, she reviews them on her blog and really covers a lot of important aspects which could be really useful to you.

      • Paranormal romance in YA is especially tricky. From what I’ve read, the romance is present, but not the focus of the story. The end goal isn’t the relationship like it is in adult fiction. If the romance plays a big part, the end goal tends to be overcoming personal doubts (i.e. “we’ve been best friends forever, how could I start to have feelings for him?”); overcoming jealousy (also closely related to the best-friend turned crush arc); falling in love with someone who’s already in a relationship; being stuck with a guy you despise but slowly start to fall for (this arc is where I want the guy to have at least some charming aspect or I quit).

        I’d be happy to suggest some YA books, though I don’t know what style you’re writing. WAKE by Lisa McMann is really good and reminds me a little of your creepy side. 😉 Need by Carrie Jones. The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr is fantastic, and even though it’s YA, it’s really all about the Fae courts and not high school. And for one with vampires, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy has forbidden love (falling for a teacher) and romance with the secondary characters in true high school drama fashion.

  3. I think that’s why I like a lot of YA Paranormal- because the romance isn’t always the sole focus.

    Anything goes with me as long as the author keeps it original. I need a twist!

    Angela, I bet you really enjoyed Fallen by Lauren Kate if you don’t like the male lead to be a jerk! (One of the first things he does is flip off the heroine off for no apparent reason.) I liked that one until the end.

    I recommend Beautiful Creatures since it has a male protagonist. I didn’t really like the girl in it, but the story kept me interested. Sorry, I don’t remember the authors- but it was a duo.

    • Thanks for adding some more tips, Heather, and for stopping by! Sounds like you have a lot of experience reading YA too. I rarely read it so I’m glad to see others who can contribute their thoughts 🙂

    • I haven’t gotten to Fallen yet. Hush, Hush is another angel YA and I quit before finishing that one. When the protag hates a guy’s guts, yet falls into his arms every time she’s around him, I gag. And the guy can be a jerk, but the author has to show me softer sides here and there so I can guess that maybe he’s putting on a front. I can understand a girl falling for a guy in those sweeter moments, but girls who fall for guys who are 100% rude and arrogant is disgusting and a recipe for an abusive relationship.

  4. I usually don’t read paranormal novels, but I’d be persuaded by a cover photo like the dark castle you have on this post. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. When I do read paranormal, I prefer a seamlessly integrated counterpoint of realistic horror to ground me in the story.

    • You know, a lot of the vampire books have gone away from being “horror”. It used to be that they were much darker. I found a book not long ago that was a lot more like you are talking about. An indie wrote it, and unfortunately there were a lot of typos in the novel, but the story was so dark and tragic that you didn’t care and couldn’t put it down. I didn’t even know I could enjoy something like that. No actual romance in it either. Just an awful tale of a young woman who her sees her whole family killed and is kidnapped by a cruel vampire. I was blown away by how well the author told the story, but was thankful the ending was better than what I expected it to be. Not necessarily happy, but not bad either. Unfortunately, it is hard to find newer books like that one. This particular book had 60+ reviews on it, so apparently some people are looking for those kinds of stories.

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