Monday, January 28, 2013

Story Satire #2: Teen Paranormal Romance

Hello, all! The time has come again for another brave foray into the world of writing. As you can see, today I have another Story Satire for you. Today, I will teach you how to make a name for yourself in one of the most lucrative genres of the 21st century: teen paranormal romance, not to be confused with teen dystopic romance (that's a post for another day, if the world doesn't end first).

So, here we go:

1. The heroine must be between 15 and 17 years old. Any younger, and it will be too creepy when she falls for an immortal being. Any older, and she would be too wise and guarded to allow herself into this kind of relationship. The love interest, as stated, should be immortal. He should also be conflicted about living forever. If he is not immortal, he must be older.

2. The heroine must have the following characteristics: physical weakness and lack of coordination or dexterity (it will make the love interest's physical prowess seem more extreme and manly); a sheltered existence (small town, overbearing parents, etc.); an interest in something eclectic like classic literature, indie music, art...anything that indicates depth of character without making you write a deep character, and stubbornness. She must be ridiculously stubborn to the point of stupidity. This will make your readers see her as a strong character. Also, when describing her appearance, compare her to a bird or a doll. Make her fragile and tiny. Again, this will make the love interest look stronger by comparison. She must be able to charm all carriers of the Y chromosome, but be shocked and amazed when she does. Don't waste time fleshing out her character; the flatter she is, the better the reader can put herself in the heroine's place. This leads to reader involvement, which is highly important in selling books.

3. The love interest must, as said before, be immortal/older. He must be conflicted about this. In fact, the more things you can have him conflicted about, the better. One thing he should DEFINITELY be conflicted about is his relationship with the heroine. You see, he must endanger her. Either he is a being that is inherently dangerous (vampire works well, but you can also try werewolf, faerie, alien, fallen angel, cyborg, or whatever else may be able to kill a doll-like human with one fierce hug), or he is surrounded by danger. Maybe he is human, but under a curse or bound to hunt the things that go bump in the night. But he loves the heroine, and as much as he tries to leave her, he can't.

4. The heroine will not leave the love interest for any reason, including near-death experiences. When asked to stay away, she must either retort with a sassy remark or stammer out a romantic phrase like, "But I love you. You're perfect."

5. This love is TRUE love. The heroine has not realized what she has been living for until she has met the love interest. Dialogue must show the depth of their passion, and thus must not be tailored to individual characters and situations. Everyone knows what lines cause the most swooning, so add as many of those as you can, like variations of "I can't live without you", "There's only you. There's always only been you", and "Spend eternity with me."

6. Add lots of physical contact. Remember, this shows, better than anything, how deep the love is. This is a teen romance, so don't go all the way. But go pretty far before the love interest breaks away because he's conflicted. Have your heroine yearn for the love interest physically. Have her think about his perfect face and body all the time. Never discuss which of his personality traits she likes, and NEVER EVER mention ones that detract from his perfection. If you must complicate his character, have the heroine say he is "frustrating."

7. As a plot point, the heroine must be in danger and need to be protected. This could be because of the love interest's ardor for her or something else, like an ancient curse or family feud, a physical trait, or even her amazing ability to make men fall over themselves for her. This is very important: she is not able to protect herself. She must rely on the love interest, who is conflicted about his ability to protect her.

8. Love triangle. Every good teen paranormal romance has one. The Other Man, opposite the love interest, must be the love interest's polar opposite. Do not try to flesh out an individual character; it will take too long. Just mirror-and-flip the love interest. Thus, the Other Man is not conflicted about anything. He can offer the heroine a normal life, away from the world of the paranormal. She may find herself wanting this, but in the end she scorns it and him for the dangerous love interest.

9. The climax must be a decision. Build up to a huge battle between the love interest and the antagonist (you don't need an antagonist for this to work; you could have him fight the Other Man or try to leave forever), as this will keep the readers hooked, but bait-and-switch with the heroine making some grand epic choice that until this point seemed like a non-issue. This will make the heroine seem in charge of her fate and therefore a strong character without rounding out her personality in a way the bump the reader out of that space.

10. Deviate only slightly from these points. You may be tempted to develop character first and writing second, but that is a waste of time. Save that energy for the pages and pages of florid poetry describing the paranormals and the deep love this 16-year-old feels for one of them. So-called "good" writers would say that any genre can be rendered new and exciting by a fresh take on characters and plot, but you're not looking for fresh. You want something that you know works. Why risk an experiment when the formula is right here?

I'm looking forward to seeing your black-rose beautiful stories on the shelves before Valentine's Day. If you liked this and have a genre you'd like me to satire, put it in a comment. Expect some more of these, nonetheless. I have some good ideas, leaving romances behind. Every genre has its stereotypes that give the good eggs a bad name.

Also, expect further news about my novel. The sneak peek is still up, and I've gotten a lot of positive responses about it. The most common being, "What happens next?" Read it and tell your friends, and stay tuned for the release.

1 comment:

  1. I love how often you mention how conflicted the love interest must be xD