Exploring genre: Paranormal
Updated: Feb 19
This month, Shani Struthers responds to questions about the paranormal genre, offering a number of tips and insights based on her own writing experience. Shani is a prolific author and has written several series, including the bestselling Psychic Surveys.
Why is genre important?
Genre is important because it helps a reader to get the gist of the kind of book they’re reading,
be that a crime thriller, a paranormal, or sci-fi. There are also sub-genres such as
paranormal romance, which have a strong following, and readers actively seek out books under those types of heading.
What conventions does your chosen genre have?
I write in the paranormal genre, which is fairly wide-ranging in terms of convention. I stick more
to the supernatural thriller aspect of the genre with writing that gets fairly dark on occasion but
also contains plenty of light. That’s my speciality: turning the darkness into light, but woah! What
a journey it is to get there. Some might class my books as horror, I, however, prefer to avoid that term as to my mind horror involves gore and violence whereas my mantra is less is more!
What is the most exciting aspect of writing this genre?
For me, the most exciting thing about the paranormal is that there are no real limits to it. As a
writer, I’m not constrained by human boundaries but can go beyond them, reaching across
centuries, delving into dark secrets, exploring all that’s been abandoned. There’s a distinct
magic to it, an element that completely transports you away from the mundane.
What tips would you offer others wanting to write in this genre?
Decide what aspect of the paranormal you want to focus on – and then carve out your niche in
that area. Readers should know something of what to expect from one of your books.
How can you make this genre come to life?
Great characters bring a genre to life and a good twisty plot with plenty of surprises on the way.
Allow your characters to write themselves, surprising you as much as the reader en route!
Which authors do you admire within this genre?
I love Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Dennis Wheatley, Anne Rice, Shirley Jackson and, more
recently, Sarah England for her dark occult horrors.