Paranormal Themes in Literature
Paranormal fiction has a big following in literature, television, and radio. People love paranormal novels because they are a way to escape from modern realities. They put forth a world unimaginable to most and allow the mind to wonder off into spaces and galaxies not usually occupied by humans. Just imagine a world where there are werewolves and vampires, ghosts and ghost whisperers, flying horses and carpets, zombies waking up from the dead, and more. Many people also love these stories because they are just plain fun to read. They’re also fun to think about, and any writer who can pen down these thoughts is truly gifted. Writers of the paranormal speak about what cannot occur in our natural world, things that cannot be explained by science.
As with any other genre, authors who write paranormal fiction face some challenges, like how to make your vampire different from all the other vampires that have been written about, how to capture the imagination of both young and old, and, of course, how to make the book a must-read.
Here are 4 tips to get you started:
- The beginning
The first three pages are the ones that normally convince readers to actually buy a book. The first chapter introduces the setting and the characters, so make sure it throws a killer punch from the get go.
- The plot
Every story needs a nail biting plot, and it’s the same with paranormal fiction. The characters need to resolve a problem, and do it in a creative way. The exciting thing about the paranormal is that the plot can unfold in many different ways, and, as the writer, you can play with it whichever way you wish.
The plot must scream paranormal. If the reader cannot sense the paranormal theme from the description at the back of the book, then that, unfortunately, is not a paranormal story. It is just an action/romance/adventure story with a few weird things happening now and again.
Depending on whether you’re going for a happy or tragic ending, the main character must face many different challenges (most of which they will fail) to get to the end, where they become the hero and save the day.
- Be witty and creative
Nothing spoils a good idea like common clichés. The best paranormal novels have been about taking the normal (which, in this case is not quite normal) and adding a twist to it. For example, in the Harry Potter series the paranormal world exists in parallel with the normal, with human beings completely unaware of what is happening right under their noses. The concept of the paranormal world is introduced to humans in a sly and humorous manner.
The characters have to be believable and likable. People like reading about people that they can relate to.
- Research is key
In order to make your story as believable as possible, you need to research the paranormal elements you want to add. For example, if you want to talk about an experiment going wrong in a lab, research experiments that have gone wrong in labs before. To make the setting realistic, you’ll need to research the day-to-day happenings in a lab. You probably won’t use most of the information you have, but you will have a better idea of where to go with the story.
If you are an avid reader of paranormal novels, then you will already have a clear picture of what you want to write about. If you have only just stumbled upon a great idea, just keep writing and refining and writing. You will get it right, eventually.
Written by Zimasa Mpemnyama
Image credit:Ryan.Riot, CC By 2.0, via Flickr