When I tell people that the stories I write have paranormal elements, the first thing they say is, “Oh, so you write about vampires, too?” as if everyone who writes paranormal includes vampires.
Nope. I have never written about vampires before and I really have no desire to. To be honest, I’m getting a little tired of vampires, werewolves, and things of that nature. Even dragons have gotten a little old – and I had always wanted to write about dragons when I was younger.
To me, paranormal is about ghosts, ESP, supernatural powers, people who can bend spoons with their minds, etc. Vampires and werewolves are more related to the fantasy genre. There are some categories that blend paranormal and fantasy genres (like paranormal romance), but I don’t necessarily see that as the same thing as just plain “paranormal.”
The difficulty of writing about vampires, werewolves, dragons, and other fantasy creatures is making your story different from all the others out there. That’s why fantasy and its sub-genres are so difficult to write; almost all of it has been done before. The success of the story depends on the unique twists you put into it – and of course, the skill and style of the writer.
Genre can sometimes be a murky thing and it’s sometimes difficult to decide whether your story truly is paranormal, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, high fantasy, horror, or science fiction. Some books have elements of all of those genres. As important as it is to write what you love and write what you want, it’s also important to find one single category for your writing so that it can be found easily – especially if you hope to become traditionally published.
Different publishing houses have different rules regarding what is considered paranormal romance, what is considered urban fantasy, etc. But regardless, it doesn’t matter what category your fiction is… just as long as it has an audience and it’s of good quality.