How to Make the Unrealistic Real

His moves aren’t the only thing that’s unreal – Giphy

Everyone knows that vampires don’t exist. The jury is out on whether it’d be cool if they did, but I think we can all agree that there aren’t any centuries-old, cocky French-noblemen-turned-rock-stars creeping around. When you write in the Paranormal genre, your readers know that it’s fake. I hope they do, at least. Nevertheless, it’s your job to make the unreal real.

Below are a few things you’ll need to consider in order to accomplish this task.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

In a world where sexy men make poor hat choices… – Giphy

On a broad scale, will your world be interchangeable with our own, or just recognizable? For example, Twilight is set in a world exactly the same as ours, except with a darker underbelly that common people don’t know about. True Blood, in comparison, is set in a world the same as ours, but after vampires have “come out of the coffin” and been incorporated into society. You could also go the other way, and create a world of your own—such as Middle Earth.

After you’ve figured out how you want your world to look on a broader scale, you need to consider the more specific details. As this relates to the paranormal elements of your tale, it’s time to start populating it with species. What kinds of things are possible? What is decidedly impossible? What kinds of beings exist in your world? Is there magic, or are the paranormal aspects of your world evolutionary? Perhaps they’re scientific innovations. Perhaps they came from another world entirely!

Now for the nitty gritty. For whatever species you include, consider the following:

What are their powers/limitations?

Asking the real questions – Giphy

No species of anything is perfect. There are going to be things your paranormals can do really well, and there are going to be things they just can’t. What makes them powerful? What makes the vulnerable? Can they read minds? Are they super strong? Are they violently allergic to gluten? If there are other paranormals in your tale, they could be vulnerable to each other. It doesn’t have to be a vulnerability to humans. Another important thing is whether these powers/limitations are applicable to all members of their species, or whether it depends on how old/hungry/genetically predisposed an individual is.


How do you become one?

More like how do I get one?Giphy

Maybe you have to be born into it. Maybe you can become one by eating a ham sandwich under the light of a full moon while listening to Barry Manilow. Maybe there’s room for both options in your story.


What is their community like?

Don’t be this guy – Giphy

Or is there even a community? Maybe they just kind of know each other, but don’t have any laws as a species. Why or why not? Maybe they live completely apart from humans and have laws that restrict even what they wear. What’s the hierarchy of their community like? What kind of strengths do they value as a species?


How do they feel about others?

Caution: may not play nice with others – Giphy

Do they think they’re better than humans? Do they fear humans? Do they have a good relationship with other paranormals? Do they know about other paranormals? Their attitude to humans and other paranormals is very important in terms of their interactions with them. If a shifter who has been raised to hate vampires meets one on the street, they aren’t going to tip their hat and ask “how do you do?”

Where do they come from?

Now this is a story all about how… – Giphy

This ties in with the world-building aspect I discussed above. Have your paranormals always been around, or are they new to Earth? Were they the creations of another being? Were they the result of a virus?

If nobody knows for sure where the vampires come from in your story, then what does the mythology say?


Is there anything I missed? Comment below!

— Danielle

2 thoughts on “How to Make the Unrealistic Real

  1. I definitely agree that fantasy must be real – in its own way. For me, psychological reality is very important. All sort of details can differ from the real world, but I must believe in people’s feelings and reactions.


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