Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Writing Strong and Believable #Paranormal Characters



There's something incredibly freeing about writing paranormal stories where the imagination knows no bounds. Our characters can morph into another species, shoot fire from their palms, control the wind, read minds, and so much more. Despite the fantastical elements of a paranormal story, it's still important that the reader believe the characters are possible and are still able to relate to them. Whether writing about magicians, witches, wizards, mermen/mermaids, psychics, or any other character that is magical and mystical, there are a few traits to keep in mind.

Create a personality profile, just like you would with any other character, but remember that your paranormal character is larger than life, too. Witches, wizards, and demigods, for instance, need to convey a sense of power. Below are a list of personality traits to incorporate into your paranormal character--no need to use them all, but these are some to consider:

  1. Intelligence. Supernatural powers require an above average intellect, critical thinking, critical analysis, and the ability to make difficult, fast decisions.
  2. Excellent memory--for rituals, spells, ingredient lists, and things of that nature. 
  3. Creativity. Those in the supernatural world need to adapt quickly to new situations, be open-minded to the unexpected. 
  4. Self-disciplined and focused. A supernatural being or those with magical powers need to be able to shut out distractions, even under difficult circumstances. They must also be able to resist temptations that we mere mortals wouldn't.
  5. Patience. (especially true of witches) Magic requires endless practice and repetition and the impatient drop out long before they become masters. 
  6. Highly trained. Talent is not enough--an inclination toward the mystical is just that...an inclination and nothing more. Wizards, witches, demigods who wield the power of the Universe---are all trained how to manage their supernatural gifts. 
  7. Specialized. Not all supernatural beings are created equally---all have specialties that they've honed through practice combined with passion. Perhaps one can control the weather while another can manifest great wealth. Think of it like the medical field where doctors ultimately choose an area of concentration. 
  8. Musical. Many forms of magic or supernatural practices involve drumming or chanting or another form of musical communication. Think of your character...can you apply this somehow? 
  9. Spiritual. Most forms of magic are linked to religious beliefs and most myths are also linked to a higher form of power. Even an atheist will often engage in a form of meditation. 
  10. Well-organized and methodical. Supernatural characters always have more information than most or have ingredients on hand to whip up a magical concoction at a moment's notice. In comedic situations, of course, the disorganized witch creates disaster...but there is always a wizard or more skilled witch present to save the day. 
  11. Introverted. Whether it's because of their powers or their need to practice/study the craft, most supernatural and magical beings prefer solitude. After a night or a day in noisy places or with too many people, your character needs to retreat to solitude to recharge his/her energy. Even for the most gregarious and outgoing supernatural beings, there is usually a degree of retreat needed to reconnect with their power. 
  12. Ethical, except for your evil antagonist, of course. With supernatural power, comes the weight of moral judgement as to when to unleash it for the sake of the greater good or justice. These ethics may be connected to their spiritual connection or individual conscience. Modern magical ethics of "harm none" or "don't interfere with someone's free will" often come into play. This can be a powerful source of internal conflict with your hero/heroine as they debate on using their powers and the impact that choice could have on a broader scale. 
  13. Sharp senses. Supernatural and magical beings are in tune with the world around them, far beyond the senses of a regular human being. They can detect changes in energy, have excellent hearing, and keen eyesight. Their abilities have been fine tuned through intense training and years of awareness. But don't overdo this; for instance, don't make a psychic who can hear the dead also read the minds of the living because it provides little challenge and will ultimately create a boring story. Every character must have a limit to what they can do, even those with supernatural abilities. Remember that the reader must also relate and believe your character and that perfection is boring.
  14. Day job. Most supernatural characters interact with mortals every day--not only to pay the rent, but also to appear normal and make them connect to a community. 
  15. Pets. Most supernatural or magical characters have a pet of some kind. This doesn't need to be conventional. In my novel, Impact Zone, the merman has a pet sea lion. 
Paranormal stories are made extraordinary by being unique so use as many of the fifteen characteristics in your character as YOU deem appropriate; however, always remember that the reader must relate to and believe in your hero/heroine to keep them engaged.

Keep being sexy and sensational!
Dakota Skye
http://www.authordakotaskye.com

Author Dakota Skye is an erotic paranormal author fascinated with all things other-worldly and fantastic. She has seven paranormal romance novels and short story collections out in the world with four more novels slated for publication in 2016. Find details for all of her books at http://www.authordakotasky.com and follow her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDakotaSkye 


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