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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Supernatural (How to Write)


S is for Supernatural (How to Write)

Supernatural means anything above and beyond what is natural, something we will never be able to understand. Supernatural characters include demons, spirits and angels. This genre has become pretty popular. Whenever I can, I love to write a supernatural story, so I’m giving you 6 tips if you’d like to do the same.

1. Have characters that are supernatural beings, like angels. Something fun would be to mix different creatures that wouldn’t normally go together, like vampires and fairies. That could lead to quite a funny story.

2. Give your characters power, such as the ability to fly, Telepathy, healing touch, or storm manipulation. There are many supernatural powers from talking to animals to super strength. Try to match up the power (or powers) you pick for your characters with their personalities. Or give your characters a power that wouldn’t be expected. A seemingly weak teenager can have an extraordinary power that involves a lot of strength. You can find lists of superpowers on Google.

3. Set your story in a place unlike our world, such as the underworld. Or you can create a whole new world, a new planet, a new universe. You can also keep our world as the setting but change it beyond our understanding of Earth by revealing something our world doesn't have, such an underground fortress beneath a major city full of fallen angels.

4. Include extraordinary plot events that can’t be explained by science or nature, such as a character coming back to life or the use of a godly power. A supernatural story, with supernatural characters, tend to be full of strange events, both big and small, but it can also have events that are typical. For example: your young adult character going to college.

5. Keep up the supernatural element throughout the story. This can be done with apparitions of spirits, the use of powers on a daily basis for mundane chores, or simply the continuous presence of different supernatural beings.

6. Use a good vs evil story line. Let angels battle demons, or humans battle vampires. As a matter of fact, you can spin a new good vs evil battle. Remember the vampires and fairies I mentioned? That could actually be a dark story. Imagine vampires and fairies fighting to the death.

Whatever you do, stay true to the story you're telling. If you have vampires in your story, research vampire lore so you won't have your vampires out in the sun, frolicking on a beach somewhere.

There’s a lot of debate between what makes a story supernatural and what makes it paranormal, since the two have very close definitions. 

If you look at the publishing world, a novel can have supernatural beings in it, but if it has a strong romance theme, it is described as paranormal-romance. Confusing? Yes. But I guess the publishing world can make its own rules.

My advice is to write the story you want to write, with the characters you want. You can ask your beta readers for their opinion on the genre later.




SHARE: Your supernatural writing tips.


QUESTION: Do you like supernatural stories?




46 comments:

  1. Supernatural is very close to my heart, being that I love a good ghost story, both writing and reading. Paranormal vs supernatural is the bane of my classification attempts - there are so many different terms for essentially the same thing. I like Smashwords where you can create as many tags as you want, unlike Amazon where you get two categories and no tags! ;P

    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

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    1. Supernatural is also very close to my heart. It was the first genre I started writing. My series is a supernatural-thriller and it's the most important thing I've ever written.

      It's is extremely hard to define paranormal and supernatural because they are so close, and there's always a debate over what falls under which category. Sometimes it's just up to the individual.

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  2. I love books with supernatural themes - and I love the show of that name too. ;)

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    1. So do I, Trisha. I love the show, too. I can't get enough of Sam and Dean. ;)

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  3. I don't know if it's full-on supernatural, but I'd love to infuse a little magic into some of my middle grade novels. The book series that won over my agent was about tween ghost hunters. Never could sell that sucker although a lot of editors got behind it...by the time everyone dragged their feet, a thousand other people had come out with similar books and it entered the, "This has been done to death" phase of its existence.

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    1. The use of magic is often identified as fantasy, but I've also used magic in my supernatural stories. I feel that it's all right because supernatural creatures can certainly harbor powers and magic. :) I'm sorry you weren't able to sell your series. A series about tween ghost hunters sounds great, something that I would love to read. :)

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  4. The supernatural is sure a great place to explore, great show too

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    1. Supernatural is limitless. And how did I know that a lot of people would mention the show of the same name. :P

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  5. I love to write supernatural stories. You made me laugh about the vamps on the beach. I don't care for the vampire stories that give vamps some kind of special powers so that they can be out in the sun. I love the idea that they are restricted to the night and the dark.

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    1. I was hoping someone would chuckle at that. I also hate it when vampires bypass things like the sun or feeding, since those are the two things that strongly identify vampires.

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  6. I heard somewhere that Paranormal is when a character wants to date you, but Supernatural is when a character wants to eat you. :)

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    1. That's a funny distinction, and could very well be true. Despite the romance in my unpublished series, I still think supernatural fits it better. :)

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  7. Not my thing, but I LOVE the way you are approaching your #Challenge theme and knew when I started to follow, i would be glad.

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    1. Not every genre is everyone's thing, which is just fine. In the past I also discussed horror, romance, suspense, and mystery. Those links can be found by clicking the tab above "How to Write a Novel".

      Knowing that you're glad you follow my blog makes me so happy. :)

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  8. So, what is the difference between supernatural and paranormal?

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    1. Ha! How did I know you'd be the one to ask that? ;) According to all the research I've done supernatural is above and beyond what is natural and will never be proven scientifically (angels, spirits). Paranormal is also something unnatural that can't be proven scientifically, but the difference is there's a chance it could be proven by science in the future such as UFOs and psychic powers. Confusing, yes, I know.

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  9. Chrys, I'm all into supernatural writing. It infused my life with magick and mystery, while also coloring my work. It is a love of the supernatural that brought me to writing in the first place.

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    1. I can relate to that. The supernatural is what started my writing journey as well. :)

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  10. Excellent tips, Chrys. I started a ghost story once, but I scared myself and never went back to it. Had to wake my husband to protect me, so now he doesn't want me to experiment with ghost stories anymore. :-)
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Debi. :) Writing ghost stories can get scary, but if you're looking to scare people the first step is to scare yourself. :)

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  11. Don't aliens make it science fiction?
    I think the difference between supernatural and paranormal is intent.

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    1. Aliens are one of those beings that can be for either genre. They can be for science fiction as future human evolution or for supernatural because they are above our natural world.

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  12. I'm not a big supernatural fan, but I think one thing that is important when writing supernatural is to remember that - since the characters are so out of this world - the emotions should always be very much grounded in reality so the reader has something to connect to.

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    1. Very true, Kyra! No matter what kind of characters you have in your story their emotions should be real and grounded to reality.

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  13. In my understanding, anything with heavy romance and the supernatural would be classified as Paranormal. It's kind of taken on a different connotation in recent years--at least in the writing world.

    True Heroes from A to Z

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  14. I guess my story could fit Supernatural, but yes the publishing world and their genres. Some good tips here. I always write compelling characters put in interesting situations and when I am done I try to see what genre it may fit in.

    Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

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    1. The publishing world does change the definition of genres, which only makes it more difficult for us to figure out which one is the best fit for our stories.

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  15. Great advice to not try to categorize your novel until you're done. I'm not sure I agree with the publishing world's definition but like you said, they get to do and say what they want. They seem to toss everything into paranormal romance.

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    1. The writing world has definitely changed the definition of supernatural to fit its own needs. It kind of bugs me, but what can you do?

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  16. Great tips for getting your thoughts together for character profiles. I don't think I know how to write a story WITHOUT supernatural things in it! I love writing fantasy - usually other worlds, but I've also written urban.
    No sun? You mean you don't want any sparkles? ;)

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    1. I thought I'd never be able to write stories without the supernatural in it, but much to my surprise I started to get ideas. Now I have more ideas for non-supernatural stories.

      Nope, no sparkles. lol

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  17. I sometimes include ghosts in my writing, though they're not the main focus of the story. I'd say ghosts, demons, and angels would be supernatural, while creatures like werewolves, Vampyres, fairies, golems, and Bigfoot would be paranormal. I'm not quite sure if witches are fantasy, paranormal, or both.

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    1. Some creatures are tricky to categorize. Vampires are often put into paranormal, but since Dracula was supposed to be the son of the Devil it also makes since to classify them as supernatural. With witches it gets complicated. Real-life witches that are Wiccan or Pagan or "good" witches would be best suited for fantasy, but dark witches would definitely do better in paranormal. I think.

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  18. great tips, especially for someone like me that hasn't written with anything supernatural...just super awesome panties on...does that not count??

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  19. I haven't ever tried to write anything supernatural, well, maybe a little bit about heaven. Does that count? I believe heaven is real!

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    1. Heaven does count! And Heaven would be considered supernatural as it's above and beyond our world, and also because science can't touch it. :)

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  20. Just reading that list makes me want to go write something supernatural! Although I do think it's fine to turn commonly accepted lore and ideas on their head, like both Meyer and Rice did with vampires.

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    1. Awesome, Holli! I agree that it's great to change popular lore. I changed things about vampires in one of my books, but I kept what is commonly known such as not being able to be out in the sun and the blood thirst.

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  21. I enjoy supernatural stories and would like to one day write one.

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    1. Hopefully you'll be able to write one someday. :)

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  22. Supernatural stories are fun to write because you can really let your imagination go crazy. I also enjoy watching the show Supernatural, but that's about 50% cool supernatural stuff and 50% hot guys. :-)

    Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,
    Jocelyn

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    1. Yes, you can! That's one reason why I love it so much. You can't write anything that's not too impossible. :)

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  23. I love supernatural everything and I have to admit I've never figured out the difference between supernatural and paranormal - they seem to be the same thing to me except paranormal is usually set in the real world with additions. It confuses me :). Then you can step from supernatural into horror and that's another wavy line ::g:: I just love reading and writing it all :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

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    1. It confuses me too, Natasha. You're definitely not alone there. So do I, regardless of what genre it is. :)

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