More Paranormal Notes

Last Thursday, I left you all hanging with the promise of more from my notes on Paranormal Chat from the 2016 RWA National Convention. The speakers were Heather Graham, Nalini Singh, and Rebecca Zanetti. Sadly, my notes aren’t clear on who said what most of the time. But let’s just jump in, shall we?

The audience asked about best-selling tropes, those set pieces that the audience loves. No matter how many times you read them, you love the way this different writer handled them. So what never fails to have readers reaching for your books?


Alpha Males with more trouble than they bargained for. Shifter alphas usually know there is going to be a mate for them somewhere and they will be bonded beyond the laws of whatever country they live in. The problems can be a mate who doesn’t want to go with the Alpha. Or a mate the Alpha thinks is contemptible. An Alpha whose mate died now confronted with a new mate and the same old feelings. In fact, you can do anything in Paranormal Romance that you do in Contemporary. The characters drive the story, so make them pro-active.

What is the hardest thing about writing Paranormal? I think this answer goes for any category and genre. You are writing Book 16. You have to keep the continuity over the 10 years you have been writing this series. You’re writing them years apart, but the readers are devouring them over the span of days or months. And they will tell you when you get something wrong. A bible on your world comes in very handy.


Also, dead people who don’t know who did it can be troublesome to write. Still, world building is everything. Hold on to the rules of your world. You have the most demanding audience out there.

Write what you want to write, no matter what else you hear. Many of us read books and say, Nice, but I would do this in that situation. Trust your voice. It’s all about good writing.

In spite of being full of paranormal details, Game of Thrones has not had much impact on paranormal books or publishers looking for the same only different. Twilight had a bigger impact.


The best way to track your story details, as we said, is with a book bible. But everyone had different processes. One writer keeps papers in a folder. Not on the computer, but it works for her. Another keeps all the deleted scenes from her books electronically. She never knows when that scene might work for another story.

Of course, there is a hidden category of Paranormal Hysterical. But for historical, does the Point of View have to be rigid? The answer was to do what’s comfortable. This is where your editor will help you most. Heat levels are all over the place. Just be sure yoiur readers know what they are picking up.

And the best advice ever given, look back and remember why you started.


There’s a few more pages of notes to cover, so next Thursday I will be wrapping this up. Like a present! Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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