Thursday, April 21, 2011

Get a Life.

Carrie Harris had a great review of Jeri Smith-Ready's book SHIFT over at her blog today and it got me thinking about paranormal books and the common trends we see there. Yanno, stuff to avoid.

"But one of my big pet peeves is when the characters in books like this seem to have no lives whatsoever. I'm left with the impression that they pretty much just floated through life without engaging in ANYTHING aside from maybe an occasional party. Their life doesn't start until they meet the sparkly mutant wombat/were-yeti/frankenthulhu/whatever."

We've all read books like this, right? So obviously there not bad books. Some of my favorite books include one or more of these common trends. But there are definitely some pitfalls in paranormal fiction to avoid.

  • The boring protag who falls in love with hot paranormal guy
  • The best friend who is completely oblivious (and usually ignored when hot boy comes in)-but I can see this one as being realistic with a lot of girls, so not such a HUGE no-no to me.
  • Parents that are MIA or have no idea their daughter is dating a monster
  • Protag chasing after hot paranormal guy even though he's a complete a-hole to her.
  • The first half of the story the protag is trying to find out what's going on with strange hot guy--but you, the reader, already know because the back cover told you he was a vampire/fallen angel/werewolf/ghost/something-someone-just-made-up
  • The awesome human boy who is totally into the protag never gets the girl
These are the biggest trends that I've seen and attempted to avoid, even though I can understand why the character(s) do these things. It's just been done enough. I'm sort of guilty of that last one, but he might get her later, you never know. What are some of the big trends you've noticed in fiction? Anything to add to my little list?

On an unrelated note, we've hit 500 followers! You guys are amazing. We want to do something extra special to say thank you, and we'll let you know as soon as we get the details hammered out. Seriously, you guys are awesome


  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!! It's SO TRUE!! OMG, some of the writing is gorgeous, but yes, it's been done to death. Good things to watch out for in our own writing, especially those of us that write paranormal. :D

  2. Thanks, Lisa! I'm not harping on any book in particular, but these are just a few things that have been "done to death." Lol!

  3. Great post! Like you said, there is some truth to these recurring themes, but they are becoming cliche. I especially hate protags who have no life before the start of the book.

  4. Jesi, that was a big one for Carrie too in her post. I totally agree. I get that for some girls, life seemingly doesn't exist before that first big love. But you're right, it's become cliche.

  5. Great post, Lacey. Yeah, the ones where the MC (usually female) have nothing going on for them until the hot paranormal guy shows up bother me. I never understand why the hot paranormal would be interested in them anyway if they were that boring-lol. :)

  6. This is a great list, and is just the beginning of all the things that have gotten old. A lot of books nowadays seem like people just cut and paste the same situations and characters into the story, even if the story is original. I'm trying to stray from that--so much happens in life that surely writers can come up with something new and original.

  7. So true. The parents thing bothers me, but not just in books. Smallville is my guilty pleasure, and there are no parents ANYwhere for most of the side characters that only pop up for an episode or so.
    But it's more than just books. Fortunately, as the trend comes to focus, it's fading out a bit.

  8. Mariella, here's to being original!

    Riv, the parents thing bother me in a lot of books, but I can get by it with others. I never got in to Smallville. I'm a Superman nerd, and it was way too far off his original story for me. Lol!

  9. Kristi, those get me too. Why is he interested in this incredibly boring girl?

  10. I agree that it's annoying when the protag has no life!!! I love a strong, independent character who doens't rely solely on others (or other, as the case may be) for mental/emotional sustenance.


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