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How To Write an Alluring Paranormal Romance Story

Christina Crampe

Published on
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If you've ever dreamt of meeting a handsome vampire or stunning siren and entering an impossibly magical romance with them, then you're most likely a sucker for paranormal romance. Maybe you even want to write your own paranormal romance story, so you can live out your dreams. Before you begin writing, you should consider everything that goes into writing a paranormal romance. But first, let's define it.

What is paranormal romance?

Paranormal romances combine romantic themes with elements from the subgenres of fantasy and science fiction. The setting can take place in the modern world or an alternative, even magical world. One or more protagonists can have supernatural abilities, and this can affect the relationship dynamic. Creatures may include vampires, shapeshifters, demons, and werewolves. Romantic relationships can take place between humans and supernatural creatures or between two supernatural creatures.

Typically, the romance between the two protagonists is the central plot of the story, and the paranormal elements are secondary. However, the supernatural characters are still influenced by the paranormal world around them. It is also possible to focus on the paranormal world with the romance as a background, but this is less common. Either way, the two plots interact and intersect with each other. There is typically lots of suspense and action woven into the plot.


werewolf snarling with the moon in the background
Werewolves are among the most common supernatural creatures included in paranormal romances. Photo by Daniel Eskridge.

Worldbuilding is essential for any story you write, but this is especially true for stories that veer away from the mundane and enter into the supernatural realm. We can no longer be sure what we know and are familiar with, so it's important you answer any questions your readers may have about your world.

Worldbuilding in fantasy and science fiction writing

Consider your world to be another character you have to build from scratch. The world should reflect the paranormal aspects of your story and influenced by these paranormal components, even if they are hidden from plain view. Here are some things to keep in mind while building your paranormal world:

  • Paranormal creatures: This is probably the most important thing you need to consider when building your world. Your world will be heavily influenced by the types of creatures that inhabit the world and vice versa, so choosing those creatures will be integral to creating the world. Paranormal romances commonly include creatures such as werewolves, vampires, and shapeshifters. However, these stories are not limited to these creatures. In some stories, humans with supernatural abilities such as telekinesis are present in the plot.
  • Make them make sense: Regardless of which supernatural beings you choose to incorporate into your paranormal romance story, their presence must make sense in the world you've built. This means you must build a backstory for their presence while you simultaneously build a backstory for your world. For example, if you have angels roaming around in the human realm of your world, you must consider how they got there. Are they fallen angels? If so, why did they fall, and how does that affect their celestial powers? Don't include the supernatural for the sake of including it, otherwise its presence will not make sense in the story.
  • Draw connections: If there are multiple species present in your world, whether they are supernatural or human, they need to be connected in some way. Even in our own mundane world we cannot exist separately from the other creatures around us, so it wouldn't make sense for that to happen in your world. Your supernatural creatures certainly don't have to be best buds. In fact, unfriendly interspecies interactions make for great conflicts and plot points and can even extend to the romance between the two protagonists. Consider who (or what) your protagonists are, and then you can consider how you want their species to impact their interactions.
  • Define their roles: Are your supernatural characters known to the rest of the world, or are they hidden? If they're hidden, how do they disguise their true identities? What do they contribute to the world, if anything? Are they silent helpers, or do they impede the natural progress of your world?

There's a lot that goes into building a brand-new world, so make sure you avoid inconsistencies. You don't want your story to be confusing, which can happen quite easily when you're balancing a paranormal story with a romance story. We recommend keeping notes as you write so you don't miss out on small details or contradict yourself in the later plot.

Creating your characters

Characterizing your characters

Your characters, especially your two protagonists, are just as important as the world they live in. It is important that you spend a good chunk of time creating these characters. There are a few different ways you may write your love interests. The pairing you choose will inform the types of conflicts that arise throughout your paranormal romance story. The two main common relationship pairings you may consider writing are:

  1. Supernatural creature/human partnership
  2. Interspecies supernatural partnership

Deconstructing cliché characters

man with his muscular arms crossed
Highly masculine men are often portrayed as the heroes in paranormal romance stories. Photo by Fortton.

Something to note is that there are lots of cliché character tropes found in romance stories, and this includes the paranormal romance story. These may be tried and true classics, but they don't always make for the most interesting stories or characters, so we recommend being more original.

  • Alpha-type hero: We're sure you've come across this character one too many times. You know, the hulking, uber-masculine, usually brooding man with lots of power and a persistent interest in the female lead. They may even be an actual alpha male depending on the species you're writing. If you're going to use a character like this as one of your main love interests, try finding a unique characteristic that sets him apart from the ones already out there. Better yet, consider making this traditionally male character female for a change of pace.
  • Weak, human heroine: Boo, tomato, we're throwing tomatoes! This is one of those classic tropes so many writers include in their romances. The heroine is a weak, helpless, and passive female who allows her male counterpart to face challenges and solve conflicts alone while she sits back and watches. Her weakness can be even more pronounced in a paranormal romance because her love interest may be a powerful supernatural creature with abilities she could never possess. Even if this is true, you should veer away from making your female lead weak. What she lacks in strength or powers should be made up elsewhere such as intellect and strategic problem-solving. Better yet, make the woman the powerful creature and the man the weaker character!
  • The token human: It's rare for a paranormal romance to not have any humans at all. Even if your two protagonists are supernatural creatures, you're likely to have a few humans as side or background characters. This includes the token human, that one human who plays a larger role than other humans. They usually provide comic relief and assist the main couple in resolving conflict or solving a mystery. They're also great at giving advice. Although this character is typically lovable, you should try to spice them up a bit by adding some kind of twist. Maybe they're harboring a secret nobody else is aware of, or maybe they're not as friendly as they seem. Keep your audience guessing along with your protagonists.

Constructing original characters

black and white photo of a man with his head in his hands
Giving your supernatural characters flaws will make them more relatable to your readers. Photo by Love the wind.

So, how should you go about writing good original characters for your story? Here are a couple things to keep in mind as you craft your protagonists, the center of your story:

  • Limited powers: It is vital you make sure your protagonists have limited powers. Sure, the appeal of supernatural creatures is that they have some kind of magical ability or power, but we don't want them to be so powerful that they can solve any and every problem on their own. That would leave little to no room for plot conflicts, and there would be limited opportunity for the romance to develop with the progression of the story.
  • Human-like supernatural characters: As much as we may enjoy reading about vampires, none of us are vampires. So why do we love vampire characters so much if we can't relate to them? That's because we can! If you give your supernatural characters human-like characteristics and qualities, your readers will more easily identify with and relate to them despite their abilities. After all, no being is without their flaws, so use those to appeal to your audience.

Combining conflict

Since there are two equally important genres within this story, there is plenty of opportunity to create conflict for your love interests. Their interactions with the paranormal world and each other can provide you with external and internal conflicts.


two hands reaching for each other
Forbidden love is a common trope included in these kinds of stories. Photo by Marina P.

Internal conflict will mainly center around romantic conflict, since it is related to the inner feelings of the protagonists and how they feel about themselves and their love interest. Here are some possible internal conflicts to consider as you write:

  • Unwillingness to commit: This is a standard plot in romances. One of the love interests is ready and willing to commit, but the other is hesitant. You have an opportunity to make this common trope even more interesting, depending on who and what your protagonists are. Supernatural creatures may have specific reasons why they can't or won't commit that are directly related to their species. You should explain that inability or unwillingness. This will allow you to provide backstory for your characters and their species, human or supernatural.
  • Difficulty trusting someone else with their true selves: This is another common romance trope related to insecurity. It is especially useful in a paranormal romance because of the possibility of interspecies relationship and can make for an interesting and unique internal conflict for one or more of your characters. For example, consider the history between the species and how that can affect the level of trust characters have for each other. It may also be true that a supernatural character is afraid to show their true selves to their human love interests and vice versa.
  • Star-crossed lovers/forbidden romance: Hello, Romeo and Juliet. What's more tragic than a romance between two people who can't be together because of family rivalries? Think of a romance between a mermaid and a human, two beings who literally cannot exist and survive in each other's world. This isn't entirely internal, as we'll see next, but the impossibility of being together greatly affects your protagonists' feelings about themselves and their relationship. It will raise questions about loyalty, trust, and love that your characters may internalize.


werewolf standing on top of a dead knight
There is likely to be animosity and sometimes battles between warring species in paranormal romances. Photo by Konstantin.

Unfortunately, your love interests do not exist in their own little bubble (though they may believe they do). There are going to be inevitable outside forces that create conflicts both within the paranormal world in which they live and the romantic relationship they pursue. Here are a few external conflicts to consider as you write:

  • Family/pack/coven interference: Who doesn't love family interference? Everybody, but that certainly doesn't stop family members from involving themselves in your business. The same can be said for a paranormal romance couple, except this can extend beyond the human family we are familiar with and include supernatural groupings like werewolf packs or vampire covens. Even more complicated is that these groupings may have specific rules or laws against interspecies dating which will further complicate things for your couple.
  • War/animosity between species: This aligns with what we just discussed above. When you were worldbuilding, you should have considered each species role in your world and their backstories. This is where those backstories can come into play. We've all heard of the popular werewolf versus vampire trope (hello, Twilight). This popularly rivalry can extend beyond werewolves and vampires to include other species. It is also popular, if your supernatural characters are known to the world, to have animosity exist between the supernatural and mundane world. Humans battling supernaturals makes for great conflict, especially if one love interest is human and the other is a supernatural character.
  • Environment: Remember when we said it wouldn't work out between a mermaid and a human because of the whole air-versus-water problem? There are plenty more examples where that came from! Despite the seeming impossibility of this type of relationship working out, we have faith that you can write a killer plot within these parameters and others just like it. Think creatively and consider how something like this will add conflict while simultaneously challenging your characters to think outside the box and persevere over any obstacles for the greater good: their love. This may even mean sacrificing certain things for their right to love.

Regardless of how you choose to incorporate conflict into your paranormal romance story, most writers will agree it's imperative you avoid using the deus-ex-machina trope. This plot device allows you to magically solve a problem at the end of the story. Classic iterations of this trope are literally having an angel, a god (that's the "deus" in the phrase), or some kind of higher being appear out of thin air to save the day.

Sure, this solves the conflict, but it's also super unsatisfying. Your lovers have struggled for nothing, and they didn't even overcome their own problems. What was the point of the romance, then? The issue has been solved with few to no consequences. This plot device can also make the plot confusing in the narrative. How can you explain a greater being appearing from seemingly nowhere to save the day when they were never mentioned previously? We recommend avoiding this trope.

The ending

One more thing you should keep in mind when writing a paranormal romance is to give your love interests a happy ending. This is pretty much required in any romance story, so it's one trope you don't want to stray from, lest you lose your readers' attention.

Feeling prepared to begin writing? We sure hope so! Slip on your supernatural thinking cap and get to building your paranormal world chock full of supernatural creatures. Don't forget, as love blooms in the air, there is always impending conflict on the horizon. Make them work for it, but give it to them eventually!

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