A paranormal romance story infuses your usual romance story with twists that are simply nonhuman and abnormal. Because of the supernatural elements injected into these stories, there is a lot of room for your imagination to run wild in developing them. However, there are some important guidelines that you might want to check on before going on to write the next Twilight-level bestseller.
A paranormal romance is still a romance story at the end of the day. The paranormal world can be rich and intriguing, but it should ultimately provide the backdrop for creating a romantic relationship between two beings, human or not. Hence, it is integral that you properly develop the duo characters whose romance you will be exploring.
The vast genre of romance exhibits quite a lot of clichés like the typical alpha hero, who usually assumes the more active character, and the typical heroine, who is easily a human female. However, you can study these archetypal characters, what makes them work as a romance character, then turn these clichés on their heads. For example, a shift in power dynamics can create a new world of possibilities in their interactions.
Developing a romance requires one thing: conflict. It’s common to see internal conflict among romance characters, usually the unwillingness to commit to a relationship. This internal conflict is often driven by a backstory that explains why they cannot just kiss with feelings in page 3. However, you should still make sure that the possibility of romance between the characters is real. You must develop this opening, think about how this window of weakness interacts with the character’s backstory, and allow your characters to have a connection that will mature into a romantic relationship.
The Paranormal World
Although the paranormal world is a secondary consideration, it is still a major point to talk about for your story. The paranormal world is definitely different from the one that we live in, so your story should show that. World-building is crucial in setting the differences between our world and that of your story, but in a way that should still make sense.
The change brought about the presence of supernatural beings can range from subtle to severe, but it should be apparent. LivingWriter’s Board features the Story Elements, where you can describe how each setting is different from the one we might usually know. It can be especially helpful in keeping track of settings and locations that might be significant to the story, and you can even attach images so you can have a visual input if you ever forgot how the café where the characters first met looked like.
One thing to take note of is the deus-ex-machina trope. These are plot devices that often come up and solve the book-long conflict with little to no consequence. In the romance genre, where the resolution of the conflict bears the most importance, this is definitely something you should avoid. Set limitations on the world that you create, balancing the supernatural beings and giving them weaknesses that they should work with while giving them human-like characteristics where readers can relate despite the race differences.
However, you should also take advantage of the world that you’re creating. The beauty of the paranormal world is that it opens up possibilities of character backstories. These kinds of backstories can enrich your character, and create new ways of developing an otherwise overused cliché.
The Paranormal Romance
Developing the paranormal romance can usually entail the development of two plots, that of the world and of the romance. In an ideal story, progress in one plot results in progress in the other. Of course, this can all be up to you, the writer.
A usual setting is one where the world plot occurs, and the romance plot develops along the way. The world plot allowed the two characters to meet and interact, and an important trait of this setting is that the world plot must be solved in part because of the romance plot (since this is still a paranormal romance story, after all). The other way, where the romance plot is more prominent and the world plot is essentially a side plot, is also possible.
Of course, you can (ab)use the paranormal world and make it a driving factor for developing the romance. There should exist some lull points where the action of the paranormal world calms down, and your characters get to interact in the paranormal world with romance in mind. The important part about romance novels is the emotional connection that two characters create amidst all adversity.
Since the paranormal romance is still a romance at the end of the day, the Happy Ever After ending is almost required. The resolution of your plots should indicate that the characters will achieve the HEA, and if they don’t, then you better have a very good reason why. HEAs might be the rule for romance, but it’s a rule you’re free to break, as long as you can show in the story why it’s justified to do so.
Wrapping It Up
Writing a romance story is no easy feat: you need to touch the reader’s heart and make an impact. Making an entire world different from the one we have sure doesn’t make it any easier. However, there are more than enough references and material that can help you in your journey of writing a paranormal romance. If you’re looking for something that can help you in writing that next banger paranormal romance story, LivingWriter will make the entire process a breeze. Let LivingWriter remember the nitty-gritty details, and focus on writing your story!