Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

Paranormal Tropes My Book Destroys

The other day I was going through my Twitter feed, which re-introduced me to Steph Bowe, a young author who had her first book published at 15 titled Girl Saves Boy. She’s nineteen now, but I once obsessed over her at one point because I wanted to be among the elusive breed of teen authors, but now I’m just among the elusive breed of authors under 25 since most find they don’t receive their first publication until they’re older than 25, I guess. But I did start When Stars Die at 15 before shelving it for about 6 years, so I guess that counts for something. But you guys should check out Steph Bowe’s blog. It’s where I got the idea for today’s post since she mentions paranormal tropes she’s stumbled upon in published YA paranormal books.

Let the troping begin!

  1. The male interest is often hundreds of years older than the protagonist. Oliver is only a few years older than Amelia, but Amelia is 18 at the start of the book. If it weren’t for a certain something, technically Oliver would be Amelia’s age.
  2. Special eyes, being ridiculously attractive. Nope. Oliver is very average, and I make that a point when Amelia describes him. But as her feelings deepen for Oliver, he becomes more attractive. I do this to show that our burgeoning love for someone can make that person more beautiful. Also, Oliver’s eyes are a grayish color, so there isn’t exactly anything special about them. But those eyes do become more beautiful as Amelia begins to fall in love with him.
  3. Creepy, stalkery supernatural creatures. Nope. Not Oliver. Amelia and Oliver already have feelings for one another right when the book begins, which is probably a first among the paranormal genre. Oliver wants more and makes it known, while Amelia really just wants to be a nun in her fervent attempt to save her brother, who is a witch, the ultimate sin in her world. But Oliver isn’t stalkery or pushy about it. They’re best friends, for crying out loud, so they know each other very well. If Oliver’s pushy, it’s only because their interactions suggest both of them want more than what’s already there.
  4. Supernatural creatures being at war with one another. Not in my book. Witches are victimized by humans. Another supernatural force wants to victimize humans for revenge.
  5. “But it can’t be real!” and then the MC suddenly believes it a few sentences later. I make it a point to have Amelia believe she’s hallucinating about a certain supernatural force she sees. It takes some building up for Amelia to realize her supernatural force is not a product of a hallucination. Also, I do this for His Vanity. But Gene struggles with hallucinations anyway.
  6. “You know he/she loves you, right?” Again, feelings at beginning of book. Amelia’s best friend had nothing to do with this. In fact, she discourages the relationship because of where Amelia and Oliver stand.
  7. “I don’t trust you.” “You shouldn’t.” This would be a spoiler for me to explain, so I’ll just say Amelia and Oliver have a deep-seated trust for one another.

I did write When Stars Die with the idea that I would eliminate all paranormal tropes. I am very much burnt out on reading paranormal (unless it’s recommended to me and lacks the usual tropes), so I decided to write When Stars Die as the ideal paranormal book that I’d like to read. So I hope you guys enjoy WSD. Also, I just want to say that WSD is actually more heavy on the paranormal than the romance aspect, in spite of the tropes I chose to throw down. Granted, I highly doubt WSD is free of tropes, but it’s certainly original in its own right.

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4 comments on “Paranormal Tropes My Book Destroys

  1. sidwelldunn
    July 5, 2013

    All the things that make me groan when reading paranormal YA! Love love love that youj are taking a different route 🙂

    • amberskyef
      July 5, 2013

      It just kind of shocks me that the editors editing these books don’t notice these things. Either that or they just don’t care because they know the books will sell regardless. Either that, or its these tropes themselves that sell the books. Who is to say, really?

  2. Kate Sparkes
    July 5, 2013

    Tropes aren’t always a bad thing, depending on how they’re approached, but I agree that some of the ones you’ve mentioned make me roll my eyes when I run into them. I like what you’re doing. Sounds very different. 🙂

    • amberskyef
      July 5, 2013

      Tropes aren’t always a bad thing. I don’t think it’s possible to avoid tropes in the first place because there are thousands of them out there and we can’t possibly know every single one. But then there are those tropes that turn into ridiculous clichés, like the ones mentioned in my post.

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