Friday, January 25, 2008
The Lighter Side Of Dark
I'm delighted to welcome our Friday guest blogger this week, Amanda Ashby, with her thoughts on the lighter side of paranormal romance.
First up I’d just like to say major congratulations to all the American Title finalists. It’s such a fabulous competition and you’ve all done so well to be part of it. Anyway, when Helen first asked if I’d like to do a guest post on Title Magic, I instantly agreed since there’s nothing I like more than prattling away on someone else’s blog. Then she mentioned that perhaps I could talk about humor in paranormals.
This could be a problem since when it comes to being classed as a paranormal writer I always feel like a bit of fraud because in my head, paranormals are about dark broody alpha vampires who might not like the light but have no problems going shirtless whenever possible. However, the truth is that paranormals, by the very nature of their definition (something that can’t be explained by normal rules and theories) can be anything you want them to be and so I guess that on a technicality I do fit in!!
Anyway, the reason I like to write books with paranormal elements in is because you can create such extreme situations to put regular people in and then stand back and watch them try and get out it! Yes, I know it’s cruel, but it’s one of perks of being a writer.
When I wrote YOU HAD ME AT HALO my heroine is so pissed off at waking up dead in heaven she thinks things can’t possibly get any worse. But of course because it’s a paranormal, things can get a whole lot worse than dead and she soon finds herself back on earth, stuck in a guy’s body (while the guy is still in it). For me the humor comes from the fact that my heroine tries to deal with this extreme, abnormal situation in a regular sort of way – well regular considering the fact she’s a self-absorbed twenty-two year old girl.
The other great thing about putting normal characters into paranormal worlds is that they then have the burden of hiding their new found truth from other people, or risk the chance of looking insane – always good for a laugh. In my upcoming young adult book, ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH, after my heroine turns her school into zombies and is busy looking for the cure, she still has to work around the normal conventions of dealing with her big sister and her mother (not to mention trying to ensure they don’t become zombie chow).
The book I’ve just finished is slightly different in that the heroine already knows the world isn’t normal because she is a fairy slayer at an elite training academy. In this book I think (hope) the humor comes from the fact that being a fairy slayer makes her the laughing stock of the entire place, something she is desperate to change.
The one thing that all my books tend to share is that whatever the world or the situation, the heroines are driven by goals that are very real and relatable to. They’re not trying to save the world, they’re merely trying to save their own worlds from imploding and I hope that it makes the paranormal elements of the story more believable because of it.
So, to sum up, my tips on writing humorous paranormals are to be cruel, isolate your characters from everyone else and don’t forget to give them solid believable goals. Oh, and if all else fails bring in a pack of flesh hungry zombies to liven things up, because, if nothing else, it will stop a saggy middle.
Find out more about Amanda Ashby!