February 2, 2019

Paranormal versus Fantasy

Why do I write paranormal romance? How does paranormal differ from fantasy?

When I want to understand something, I arm myself with information. I think. I analyze. I conduct research. When I was a kid, we used physical encyclopedias and the public library. Later, encyclopedias were available electronically on CD-ROM. Today, the Internet and Google make research easier and more assessible. There are no more excuses for poor or inaccurate book research.

So... I had a question. I needed information. I did some googling...


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'paranormal' as an adjective that means not scientifically explainable. Synonyms include otherworldly, supernatural, unearthly.

The same dictionary defines 'fantasy' as

a noun: a hallucination; the free play of creative imagination; a creation of the imaginative faculty whether expressed or merely conceived; an idea or desire; a daydream; a coin not intended for circulation.

a verb: to indulge in reverie; to create or develop imaginative and often fantastic views or ideas.

an adjective: a game, like fantasy football, in which participants create and manage imaginary teams consisting of players from a particular sport and scoring is based on the statistical performances of the actual players.


I may be wrong, but paranormal and fantasy—with regards to fictional creation—seem pretty interchangeable. Supernatural creatures, like a vampire or werewolf, are definitely a creation of imagination and fill many a fantasy. But not all fantasies—for instance, princesses and fairy tale castles—must be paranormal.

The dictionary definition of 'paranormal' is much simpler than 'fantasy', but the common denominator is imagination.

Back to my original question... Why do I write paranormal romance? Imagination is the answer. Only the limitless possibilities of the paranormal are a match for my boundless creativity.

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