… is romance.
Originally I had planned to write some kind of beautiful unrequited love story, but then I thought no, that’s altogether too literary – I’m going to get my paranormal romance on and sell 100 000 e-books like Amanda Hocking.
I’m still going to include an element of unrequited love, though. What better narrative reason is there to keep people apart than having one of them a vampire who cannot reveal his or her true feelings because he or she loves the other person too much to compromise their safety? And what better way of gearing this towards a Twilight loving audience than have the vampire a fifteen or sixteen year old girl, loving a boy she can never have from afar? That’s an experience everyone has at some point or another. Well, except for the being a vampire part.
The only suggestion I’ve had for this month was that the girl should be called Jennifer and that she should work in a dog grooming salon. I think I will change this slightly so that she has a job walking dogs, ostensibly to earn a bit of extra pocket money but in actual fact to help her blend in and feel more human. This girl has teen angst to the max.
This decided, all I need to do is conduct a little bit of research into the genre. An initial Google search in my lunch break led me to the Harlequin website (that’s Mills and Boon), and the rather brilliant first chapter of ‘Demon Seduction’ by Pat White.
Stand-out lines of exposition include:
“back then she was just a girl, terrified by Marcus’s demon cousin who’d wanted to slake his need with a human virgin.”
I hate it when that happens.
“Having been created from human ash of the Great Fire of Rome, Ash could assume human form better than any other creature of the dark realm.”
As documented by Pliny and Tacitus, no less. This author is quite the classicist! Well, that or she read the Wikipedia entry, like I did.
“His mission was to fill her with his demon seed against her will, the very act he’d defended her from when she was but sixteen.”
Is this a good time to mention that whilst I love romance, I can’t take it seriously? I feel this will add to the challenge.
Some excellent dialogue in the tale included:
“Mickey, you wanker, what’d you do that for?”
Which I think was to reemphasise that the story is set in Engerland, and:
“Go find yourself a husband to take care of you.”
This places our heroine as a frustrated feminist trying to make it in a man’s world – we later find out she also wears baggy jeans and army boots. FYI, that means it’s OK for her to become a sort of sex doormat later on. So what if she allows herself to be seduced by a poorly characterized Ash Demon? That doesn’t mean she’s conforming to a stereotype, if anything she’s breaking it by defying the expected spinster/dyke path.
And so what if she flunked out of uni because she was busy lurking around in thickets searching for demons to kill in order to win her father’s grudging respect/love? She doesn’t need all men to validate her, just her disinterested, misogynistic old pa. Is that so wrong? Of course not.
I don’t think this is quite the type of tale I’m aiming for, though. The nearly having sex but not quite scene is right there in chapter two; all inappropriate nudey fairy statue stroking and nipples akimbo. Stephanie Meyer doesn’t reach that point till three books in! I have severe doubts about my ability to write a non-comedy sex scene, so I think I’ll probably follow her example.
This will involve looking out a few of the more popular paranormal romance / dark fantasy (is there a difference?) authors, I suppose. Popular authors at the library where I used to work included P.C.Cast, Charlaine Harris, Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Anybody know any more? I’d be particularly interested in short stories and flash fiction, just because of time constraints…