Sunday, October 17, 2010

Come to the light side!

The paranormal genre doesn’t have to be dark. If you think about it, there are many myths that can be utilized to add comic relief or create downright laugh-out-loud humorous reads. My best piece of advice for lightening the mood in a paranormal story? Don’t overlook the obvious!

Let’s take a moment to embrace the clichés. Think about Vampires. What does everyone “know” about vampires? A) They have fangs and drink blood, usually by puncturing the victim’s carotid artery. B) They’re nocturnal and sunlight burns them.

How about Shapeshifters? A) If they shift while fully dressed, their clothes won’t fit their new shape. B) When they shift back, they’ll be naked.

Ghosts are disembodied. They can see the physical world and comment on it like a fly on the wall, but unless they’ve learned telekinesis or some kind of communication with a psychic, clairvoyant or clairaudient, they're invisible.

How about witches? A) They cast spells and can manipulate circumstances with magic. B) Some think they can fly on broomsticks.

Don’t be afraid to embarrass your characters! We find it hilarious because it’s not happening to us. We’re a little warped that way.

Are you seeing the possibilities here?

In my series, Strange Neighbors, I have shapeshifters, vampires and witches—oh my! And a snarky ghost who has an opinion on everything.
During the series I have my vampire, break his fang on a rapper’s neck bling. Now where does a vampire find a dentist and how funny would a lisp be if he couldn’t retract his fangs until the infection from the silver heals?

My shapeshifting falcon is only half shifter so he doesn’t have the greatest control and accidentally shifts under stress. Naturally, he gets stuck in his sweater and can’t shift back before being discovered.

When my werewolf shifts, he has to hide his clothes for his shift back. But what if someone takes those clothes and he has to walk around naked…in the city?

The witches? Well, they’re mainly human, but what happens if one of them words a spell badly? How can we make it backfire? If she’s southern and has a butt-load of colorful expression, the possibilities are endless—and hilarious!

Have any of you read a romantic paranormal comedy? What do you think?


  1. Fun post, Ash. I loved Love at First Bite and other tongue in cheek vampire and werewolf tales as well as others. I'm sure that's what has influenced my need to add humor to my own. But I can't write strictly light and I admire you and others who can do that!

  2. I have read some. My friend Kerry Sparks writes paranormal comedy. Your book sounds really cute!

  3. Thanks!

    *Everyone--I forgot to mention...
    I'll be going to my RWA meeting in an hour and will be home late afternoon.

    Be sure to leave a comment and email me if you'd like to be included in a drawing for a copy of Strange Neighbors!

  4. I love humor in all genres! Sounds like a riot. Vampiring breaking a tooth on a rapper's bling... too funny. I'll have to add this to my mile-high TBR pile. (more like a mountain at this point) So many great books demanding to be read, so little time.

  5. So true, Olivia! The pile never shrinks. Must add this one to it soon!

  6. Love the post, Ash! I enjoy humor in any kind of book. Mary Janice Davison comes to mind, as well as that terrific author Judi Fennel!
    The clothing thing reminds me of "The Time Traveler's Wife"... I haven't read yours yet (I will, I will!) but if your werewolves are anything like Terry's, they can come to my city and walk around naked anytime!

  7. 'Nuff said I read it since I write it. :}

    Fluff and Puff definitely cover the snark and funny.

  8. thank goodness I'm not alone in the paranormal world. ;)

    Thanks, Joanne - I did hear my name. :)

  9. True. A few other Sourcebooks authors write light paranormal, but we all have different ways of doing it. I've read Linda and Judi and they're awesome. But it's so interesting to see the differences.

    We should compare styles sometime!


  10. I saw that naked werewolf in my front yard last night. He was one fine lookin' feller. I'm glad I hid his duds! Got to read all about him ... love humor in any form, fashion or shape!

  11. Fun post, Ash.
    One of the all time funniest sight gags was in the first Superman movie. Clark Kent dashes to a modern pay telephone (not a booth) to change clothes.

    I don't remember how he solves it. Only that the audience (who of course knew the Superman rules) howled.

    Can't wait to read Strange Neighbors--partly because it sounds like a "motley crew" book, which I just love!

  12. I read JR Ward the-day-it-comes-out-in-hardback-no-matter-what. I'm usually up all night with it, too. She has humor in her books, though it's often just in the give-and-take between the Brothers, or the way they poke fun at vampire cliches. I think we all need dashes of humor, regardless of our subgenre. Humor is a coping mechanism, and I give characters a lot to cope with.

  13. That's great, Grace! I agree, we all need more laughter and love in the world.


  14. Hi Ash! My first series wasn't a comedy, but very light-hearted, so I know exactly what you mean. Great post!