Day #5 – Transformation, Super Powers, and Wyrwylfs

By Jennie Goloboy

My last post was about queries I see too frequently, and why I often find them problematic. Here are three more.

1.  The protagonist undergoes a paranormal transformation and isn’t happy about it. And usually is also a vampire.

Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire came out in 1976.  Since then, there have been tons of books, TV shows, and movies starring reluctant vampires, and I think I’ve read or watched most of them.  I’ve got Forever Knight sitting on my DVR right now, people.

Given that, if you’ve written a story about a reluctant X– whether s/he’s a vampire, zombie, werewolf, ghost, incubus, or whatever– you’d better do something else that really surprises me.  It would be best if the story was not primarily about the hero’s sense of self-worth, but rather a larger problem that s/he gets caught up in– like P.N. Elrod’s Jack Fleming, who inadvertently runs afoul of the Mob in Thirties Chicago.

By the way, there are already many novels in which Paranormal Guy is a private detective or policeman that unless you have special knowledge about this sector of life (i.e. a previous life as a private detective, member of the police force, or specialist in criminal law), I’d advise you to stay away from this type of plot.

2.  Lonely girl meets guy with paranormal powers— but does she dare love him?

I have seen many of these post-Twilight, some with supernatural heroes I never would have imagined as a romantic lead (like Sasquatch).  So it’s an overstuffed category, but I often have a deeper worry about these books– that they’re romanticizing abusive behavior.  If mishandled, these books tell girls that monsters have a brutal way of loving you, but to put up with it, because that’s their nature.

3.  Your paranormal character is unusual because of the way you spelled wyrwylf.  Or weirwoolf.

You are driving this agynt and her spellchecker crazy.