Monday, August 26, 2013

I Spy a Similarity: How Chick Lit Main Characters are Similar to Paranormal Main Characters

I’m taking a few weeks off to move and concentrate on marketing KEEPING SCORE. While I’m gone, I’m lucky enough to have some author friends taking care of my blog for me! They have also been spreading the word about KEEPING SCORE. I wish they could come to Florida and help with the unpacking, too.

Today I’m lucky enough to host Carolyn Ridder Aspenson, author of UNFINISHED BUSINESS. Since UNFINISHED BUSINESS is a combination of paranormal and chick lit, I thought Carolyn might have words of wisdom about the two genres, and she was gracious enough to agree to share them. All the begging was on my end.

When I begged Jami to let me do a guest post on her blog and she graciously agreed, I was thrilled-until she hit me with the big whammy.


"How do you feel about writing about the similarities and differences of the paranormal heroine to the chick lit heroine?"



Absolutely! No problem! Easy as pie!

Sure, I could nail that sucker down without even an ounce of hesitation, I thought and then Googled like I've never Googled before.

Do you know there is not one article pertaining to this subject all? Not one stinking article. So yeah, I got tossed to the wolves and had to figure it out on my own. That's always (never) a good thing, me figuring something out on my own. In fact, my husband begs me not to try to figure things out on my own. One day I'll do a guest post about trimming the shrubs because that's a perfect example of why he hates when I figure things out on my own. But alas, Jami doesn't know me well enough to know the kind of trouble I can be so if you're seeing this post, it's because she didn't have any other choice but to post it. (ed. note: Sure I did!)

I thought and I thought and considering the fact that I've only ready cozy mystery-ghost-paranormal-chick lit-romance kinds of books and haven't even seen the Twilight movies, let alone read any of the stories, I thought I might not be the best person for this kind of post. Why? Well, here's a little secret, I don't like paranormal stories.

Now that might sound strange considering the fact that I've written one and almost completed another paranormal book, right? Right. But here's the thing. I don't like dark and creepy and I'm not attracted to vampires and wolves and all that other paranormal stuff. I like ghosts and that's about it. Give me a happy, funny ghost story and I'll read until I fall asleep, which sadly, these days is after about five minutes. I don't read to feel scared. I have teenage daughters. I'm scared enough.

So with that being said, I did come up with a few interesting takes on the two types of characters and here's how they line up for me.

Paranormal heroines deal with scary situations.

But so do chick lit heroines. I mean the real world is scary, right? Getting a new job, a divorce, married, a dog...if you ask me, it's all scary stuff on some level. Don't discount the fear of the unknown because no matter what is unknown, it's still unknown and that's scary.

Paranormal heroines deal with scary beings.

But so do chick lit heroines. Sure, a paranormal heroine is dealing with vampires-some quite horny from what I understand-and werewolves and demons but tell me, have you looked at dating sites? Have you talked to your friends? Let's be honest here, some guys like to dress in all black, wear a little make up and well, they're pretty darn horny. And yay for me, I Googled "Men who dress like vampires" and found this link, so there's proof to my theory!

As for werewolves, before I got married I dated a seriously hairy guy, so what's the difference? Maybe the werewolves have a few added issues but don't most men anyway? As for demons, yeah, ask me what my husband's like when he wants to ride his Harley and it's raining. I'll show you a demon then.

Paranormal heroines have a secret.

But so do chick lit heroines because really, who doesn't have at least one secret? If you can honestly say you don't, I'm calling BS. Dig deep. You too have a secret but it's probably so secret you've forgotten it.

Paranormal heroines have a dilemma to deal with.

You know what I'm going to write next, right? Okay, say it with me...but so do chick lit heroines. So maybe their dilemmas are a little different. "Should I let this hot, sexy, vampire bite me?" compared to "Should I tell my best friend I slept with her boyfriend?" Two very different dilemmas but dilemmas nonetheless and trust me, in that incidence; I'd totally take the bite over the best friend. My best friend is bigger and stronger than me by a long shot.

Paranormal heroines have magical powers (sometimes).<BR>
But so do chick lit heroines (sometimes). No, really, they totally do. How do you think they-for the most part-can be total beyotches and still get the guy? Or, for those who are so darn sticky sweet and naive, how do you think they can still get the guy? Magic powers I tell you, because in the real world, that stuff never happens.

And most of all, the most telling similarity between the two genres main characters is love.

Paranormal heroines fall in love.

But so do chick lit heroines. Duh.

Now if you want to be picky and argue how different they are, I'm sure you can find a difference or two but when you get down to the key factors of any story-the things that drive the character, that make the character who they are-they're pretty similar. It's that way because all of us writers have learned that each story needs a likeable main character, someone the audience can relate to, a central conflict and a resolution that is either surprising or fulfilling or both. The difference is in the details, just not the details I've mentioned.

So if you're not reading one genre because, like me, you don't like certain aspects of it, consider comparing how the characters might be alike and I bet you'll come up with something similar. Maybe I should read Twilight after all? (ed. note: Please don’t!!!!)

More about Carolyn:



Barnes and Noble


Carolyn’s website

Carolyn on Facebook

Carolyn on Twitter


  1. Good job. guest blogger. And your paranormal character was hysterical. Just loved Unfinished Business!

  2. Great post, ladies! Carolyn, you can report to your hubby that this went much better than the shrubs thing! (But still... play dumb on the shrubs, cuz you don't wanna be asked to do that again!) :)