A new genre that has taken the reading world by storm over the last decade is the paranormal genre. Okay, it is not really new, but it has grown by leaps and bounds compared to the history of books. The genre has grown by leaps and bounds especially with the popularity of the Twilight series. Children, young adults, and adults themselves have devoured the genre. With the popularity has also come a stigma associated with it.
The “P” Word
Recently I had someone ask me what books I wrote as they had just discovered I was a writer. I didn’t think anything of it. As I told them I wrote children’s books, mystery, and paranormal stories, their face took on a strange look when I spoke the ‘p’ word. You would have thought I told them I wrote erotica or books on how to actually use osmosis to obtain information or how to blow up people. I don’t know. The looks were bizarre. Using the word “paranormal” elicited a very odd reaction.
Paranormal books come with a stigma in today’s world. Despite the popularity, many look down on them. In the overall reading world, they are more than accepted. They are loved, but many readers shun them. They consider them cheap and below literary standards. Now will a paranormal book will the Nobel Prize? I’m not saying they won’t ever, but with the standards of the judges, I seriously doubt it. But that doesn’t mean these books are not well written or have good story lines.
Shunned With Romance
Seriously, I think even romance books have a stigma attached to them. People look down on them and think they are just dime store novels to generate a quick read and quick money. But the truth is that many romance stories are well written and have become classics of their own. Not all of them are about sex. Not all paranormal stories are about teenage vampires either.
That’s another issue. Too many people think now that all paranormal books are rehashed versions of Twilight. Their first experience with the genre was through the cult classic series of books and movies which hit society like a tidal wave. They see all paranormal stories as Bella and Edward stories just with slightly different twists.
The problem with stereotyping is that a reader can miss out on some great reads simply because they refuse to see beyond the “flagship” of that genre. Not all books in one genre are the same.
What is Paranormal?
Thoughtsonfantasy.com describes paranormal as “ a low fantasy (i.e. set in the real world) in which supernatural creatures or talents exist and are a key focus of the story. This is often seen as a blend of the fantasy and Gothic/Horror genres.” Paranormal is a genre of supernatural elements. That would include even superheroes and stories such as Dracula and even Dickens’ A Christmas Carol since it has a few ghosts in it that can transport a man back and forth in time.
Paranormal can be seen as fantasy, horror, or mystery. It can cross any genre, including romance. It is a powerful genre that is wide and diverse.
Popular Paranormal Novels
City of Bones series
Vampire Academy series
Beautiful Creatures series
Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children series
Interview with the Vampire series
Harry Potter series
Overcoming the Stigma
Can the stigma be conquered? Probably not. After all these years of the romance genre being the top grossing in sales, romance writers are still looked down on by many readers, writers, and critics. It is not considered “real writing”. In the end, paranormal fans will have to just ignore those who oppose it. Just enjoy the books and shrug off the stigma.
Every month, new books under the paranormal genre are expanding and creatively coming up with new plot twists. The genre is developing and might one day might shake off its stigma.