It seems inevitable that every author of paranormal fiction encounters certain subgenre stereotypes/tropes during their journey to craft an interesting tale. As an author of werewolf fantasy stories, I’m particularly familiar with those that pertain to wolf shifters and lycanthropes. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Book title contains the words “Wolf”, “Alpha” or “Moon”. Yes, these words are inexorably linked in the public mind with werewolves so the use of these terms triggers immediate associations. Must authors bow before this stereotype? I guess it depends, especially on whether you can get your book to market fast enough to snatch up one of the few moon titles left that haven’t been wretchedly overused.
- Everyone knows that wolves don’t wear clothing, so your hero is (gasp!) naked after he returns to human. Yet, some authors and directors don’t want to deal with the inconvenience, so clothing magically appears out of thin air. Personally, I regard this as a missed opportunity for conflict and laughs, and I definitely prefer scenarios where the storyteller addresses the issue.
- Absolutely every werewolf/lycanthrope author seems to be compelled to crack the old vegetarian/vegan joke. It doesn’t stop with genre fiction. On the popular TV show, GRIMM, the wolfman character, Monroe, is a confirmed vegetarian. I’m not telling anyone not to do it, only to do so with the self-awareness that it simply isn’t original. I prefer a wink and a nod to the cliché. Better yet, straight up tongue-in-cheek mockery of this tired trope.
- The she-wolf heroine goes into heat instead of following the 30-day estrus cycle of a human. Okay, this can be fun. For romance and erotica fiction, it can be a titillating lead in for a story premise. So, instead of once every six to eight months, why not have your wolf shifter heroine experience come into heat every 30 days? After all, more is better. Right? Wrong. Be consistent: pick a species and stick to it, lest your reader proclaim “Ugh,” and stopped reading.
- The terms “lone wolf” and “Alpha” are antonyms not synonyms. Wolves are intelligent, sociable animals that typically live in packs. Lone wolves live outside of the pack. The Alpha is the highest ranked individual–or mated pair–of wolves in the pack. Yet I recall once reading a blurb that started off Alpha Bob is literally a lone wolf. I think I may have exhaled water through my nose.
What’s the most overused genre cliché you can think of? Leave me a comment and let me know.
A Cat’s Tale
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: March 7, 2014
Number of pages: 78
Word Count: Approx. 24,000 words
Cover Artist: Farah Evers
“With a starting phrase ‘somewhere between Virginia and California’; you know you are in for a treat with A Cat’s Tale. Jared is so much fun, a true Alpha male who knows when to keep his Alpha tendencies down and hidden.”
~ Just Erotic Romance Reviews
Alpha werewolf, Jared Kohl, wakes up in a vampire’s dungeon, swearing revenge upon the wily Siamese werecat who lured him there with her sultry lips and the sweetest tail. To escape his undead captor, all he has to do is seduce the skittish puss and show her that trust is often a hot and hard lesson to learn.
Enslaved feline shifter, Josephine Young, has learned the hard way not to believe in anything or anyone—not men, not love, and certainly not the blood-sucking mistress who tossed her into the cage with the hungry beast she’d betrayed. But Josephine does what she must to survive, including tempting the dominant werewolf to give her more than promises.
Imprisoned for their blood, Jared and Josephine fight for survival and discover a passion that neither can walk away from. Can these two predators survive long enough to prove that cats and dogs can be more than enemies?
Jewels of the Moon Pendant for Clairvoyance and Psychic Ability by Nordic Lights Collection by Maelstrom Odssonn
Shipping restricted to the continental United States.
- Melissa Snark is published with The Wild Rose Press & as an Indie author with five unique titles: A CAT’S TALE, THE MATING GAME, LEARNING TO FLY, THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON.
- Her Loki’s Wolves series includes THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON AND BATTLE CRY (to be released in 2014).
- She lives in the San Francisco bay area with her husband, three children and a glaring of cats.
- She is a professional cat herder and unrepentant satirist who blogs about books and writing on The Snarkology