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Posted by on Apr 20, 2013 in Thoughts on Writing | 2 comments

P is for Paranormal

Into The FutureI have a confession to make, y’all. I’m sort of a snob when it comes to paranormal fiction. I don’t try to be; I really don’t. I can’t help it. It’s just, when people get their facts wildly wrong, my head explodes.

And, sadly, it happens CONSTANTLY.

I get that writers all want to put their own spin on creatures that have been around for centuries. That’s cool. It’s just frustrating to read someone calling a particular creature a vampire when it’s very clearly a different type of creature altogether. Any level of rudimentary research would’ve helped…even a simple Google search.

But we’ll get to vampires in a later post because there’s way too much to cover today.

Paranormal in the real world

When it comes to the paranormal, there are those who get all their information about it from what they see in movies and there are those who experience things in real life.

Unfortunately, I’m in the real life camp.

I’m not going to go into detail here, but psychics, ghosts, etc…it’s not at all the way it seems on the big screen. For some people, there comes a time when you start to realize that the world isn’t quite the way we’re raised to believe it is. At some point, things happen to force you to understand that either you’ve been lied to purposefully or most people simply don’t know. When it happens, trust me, you’d rather learn you’re crazy and get pills shoved at you. Pill haze crazy is easier than having the paranormal turn into the normal.

Anyway. I’ve spent years doing extensive research on all topics paranormal. I’ve gone on paranormal investigations. I’ve met with gifted individuals. I’ve had more unexplainable things happen to me than I can count. Sometimes, I’ve had other people with me when they happened, giving me outside validation that, yeah…shit really did just get really realer than I wanted real to be.

I think the paranormal is probably all around us at all times, but most people are just too busy to pay attention. Or they don’t want to pay attention. Can’t say I blame them.

Paranormal in fiction

From a writing standpoint, it’s helpful that I have and will probably continue to have strange experiences. Besides, quirky and eccentric look rather good on me.

But as a reader, I want to bash my head against the desk on a regular basis.

Here’s the thing. I totally get that people without empathic abilities don’t have a clue about what it’s like inside an empath’s head, but…GOOGLE. Between blogs, forums and online communities there’s really no excuse for writers to get it as blatantly wrong as they seem to in every book I’ve read about empaths recently. The same goes for learning more about telepaths. Or mediums. Or precognition.

Or anything.

Well, not anything. I’m still desperately searching for more information on ESI (Electronic Signal Interference), but I think I’m the only one who gives a crap about that one. Granted, more people would care if they had to worry about frying electronics just from being around them.

So, I get that I’m not really the average reader, but I would LOVE it if more than a very few authors would actually do some digging to get their facts straight instead of assuming that no one will notice that they kept interchanging telepathy and telemetry. Some of us notice. And it bugs the shit out of us.

And then we tell everyone we know that your whole story is gibberish.

While I’m thinking about it, the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series by Kay Hooper is an example of paranormal done right. Can’t recommend these books enough. Someone did their research and it definitely shows.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else find their reading enjoyment ruined by paranormal fiction that doesn’t have a better grasp of the paranormal than the worst B movie in Hollywood? Anyone else find that the paranormal is their normal?

Next up: Q is for Quotable Quotes

© 2013 – 2015, Sydney Katt. All rights reserved.

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  1. I wonder if you will think my book has a paranormal feel? An editor said it isn’t because the spirit guides in it do not become visible to the human characters.? My research is pretty accurate though, I hate sloppy facts in fiction – except where the author is quite obviously making it all up, then it’s fine!

    • I think the definition – and I’m going from memory – is something about how the paranormal is outside what’s accepted as normal. While I don’t find anything all that strange about spirit guides, it’s not really accepted as normal in most Western cultures, so that would make them fall into the realm of the paranormal. Weird that the editor would say that. Ghosts don’t always become visible in stories and they’re accepted as paranormal. Besides, spirit guides are often lumped in with psychic abilities…and I’ve read plenty of paranormal books about those.

      Sorry it took so long to respond. I haven’t been getting notifications when comments go into moderation for some reason. :(

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