The Paranormal Conundrum (though in all honesty, it could be for more than paranormal)
What this is to me is, in a very broad sense, the hardest thing to get right when writing a book about something supernatural. The Paranormal Conundrum is the fact that the character is in a story about their life and something paranormal is happening to them. Which is really broad but I'm going to go into the meat and bones now so hang in there!
I hate when I hear someone complain about things being "way too obvious" and that they "can't believe the character didn't get the clue". The reason I hate this is because I feel like the reader didn't truly put themselves in the situation to gain the full prospective. As a reader, you know you are sitting down to read a book about someone else's life. But to the character in that book, it's their real life like we live everyday.
When the reader sits down with a paranormal novel, they know to expect something paranormal so it's so blaring obvious to us that new guy with the really hairy back is a werewolf because we're looking for that. But in my every day life, I don't go searching for werewolves among the crowd so my mind would automatically jump to Mr. Furry being a mooner. It's not the natural response. And if I did happen to every see a ghost or something, I'm going to deny, deny, deny. That's the natural response.So why should a character, who is suppose to be flesh and blood, do anything different?
That being said, there are definitely cases where The Paranormal Conundrum doesn't excuse things:
- After the character see said paranormal thing do something, well, paranormal and still refuses to believe them. I get really angry when a main character refuses to believe in the paranormal after witnessing several very clearly paranormal things.
- The character makes dumb choice while admitting there is a better option.
- The character makes the same dumb mistake over and over and over.
Here are a few books that I think handle this Paranormal Conundrum well:
Granted, this is with Shay but he still reacts well to the fact that Calla is a guardian. He sees proof of her guardianhood (I'm not sure what else to call it here) and instead of running and screaming, he rationalize it out and asks Calla about the parts her doesn't understand.
Normally, I'd call for the character to question things a bit more but I say, good for you Kat. She takes to the Stork society like a pro because it's happening to her and there is nothing she can do about it. She questions things as they come at her.
Grace accepts what Sam is with some questions but she doesn't refuse to believe in the paranormal even though she's a perfect rational girl.
So that's my piece but I'd be interested to hear what you think about this topic!