Tuesday, January 30

Grounded in my own reality...why some paranormals will never work for me

Yesterday I spent 2 hours working on a brochure for a Nutritionist, Health/Life Coach and Certified Hypnotist.

A "friend" of my sister. Okay maybe not a true friend, more like a walking acquaintance. What's a walking acquaintance? My sister is an athlete who walks 5-7 miles a day, and also does yoga and pilates on a daily basis. The 5-7 miles she does everyday isn't around a track at the local high school, no she walks/hikes mountains and one of the people she met on a local "hill" is our hypnotist, and somehow my sister and this lady have created an odd friendship. My sister has never been in her house or vice versa, they've never had lunch or gone shopping, but my sister seems to attract odd people who need to talk and my sister is a very good listener, and to be completely honest she's collected quite a few flakes along the way.

So, my sister talks me into doing a brochure for the hypnotist and I head over there yesterday after running a bunch of my Monday errands. We set up the design and one side of the brochure and started on the second side when I come to the Past Life Regression part of the brochure. She's "quite good at Past Life Regression hypnosis" if she says so herself. Okay it's then I realize I'm completely grounded in my own reality. Whether I'm normal or not, whether she's normal or not, I don't buy into this and when she offers to barter her services for mine I'm much more interested in getting paid by check or cash.

I realized this morning it's being grounded in this reality that ruins so many paranormals for me. I can't/don't/wont buy into the stories. I need to see the story from the outside looking in--I never put myself in the story, unless it's written so well in the first person I can feel the emotion, and that's very different from being an observer of something written in the third person. I've never imagined myself the heroine of a book, most books are like watching a movie unfold, I'm viewing it, not an actor in the tale. And if there isn't something that keeps them grounded or makes me believe it's possible I'm not likely to enjoy the story.

If the world building is really good then I can believe the fantasy, but the books that work best for me are the ones that say "What if...?" I heard somewhere that Stephen King's story ideas start from a "what if" POV. What if a small New England town is invaded by vampires, or a toy clown comes to life or an author goes completely crazy because of cabin fever or are the ghosts real... the storytelling flows from the unimaginable happening to the average everyday person.

This is another reason why Demon Angel works for me, Meljean builds a world that fits within our world, it's filled with all things different, good and evil, and yet the story completely unfolds within the world we exist in. It's the "what if demons and guardians are somehow within our world fighting for our souls and we don't know it" that works for me.

I started reading Jacquelyn Frank's Jacob over the weekend. The book opens with the Demon Enforcer hero basically on patrol protecting human kind from out of control demons. Yikes! No initial world building and no feeling of being grounded in some sort of reality. Are demons good or evil or somehow both? Why are there demons in our society? Where do they come from? How do they exist? Why do they exist? Maybe all these questions get answered, maybe I didn't give the book enough time to build any type of context within reality and I should give it more time before deciding it's an INYIM book.

I want my paranormals grounded in some sort of reality. Normal people meeting what if situations that are completely beyond our imaginations, that can scare or at least make you think, "hmmm, maybe it is possible."

What if...


Jane said...

I agree with you. I said once how I thought that these books had to be believable and another person commented - its paranormal - none of its believable.

That's the beauty of a good fantasy writer - making the unbelievable real. For Jacob, there simply wasn't any boundaries and what boundaries existed were constantly broken with no explanation. One thing I found totally odd was the naming of the "demons" with biblical names. Without explanation, that really nagged at me (amongst other things).

Tara Marie said...

Jane, "boundaries" that's exactly it, paranormals need context, and boundaries would put everything into some sort of context.

I only made it through one and a half scenes. The first scene where Jacob stops Kane and half way through the second, Jacob's meeting with Noah. I have to assume most of my questions never get answered.

Unless you believe in vampires, werewolves, et al of course paranormals aren't really believable, but I think making a paranormal feel possible should be one of the point of the story telling. Making the impossible plausible.

Do I believe in vampires? Of course not. But did I sleep with my bedroom light on for a month after reading Salems Lot? I sure did, because Mr. King made me believe it was all possible.

Jenster said...

I've only read a few paranormal series and I felt their "alternate reality" was explained well enough that I didn't have a problem suspending my beliefs.

As for Salem's Lot, I had a palm tree outside my second story bedroom window when I was growing up. The dried fronds would scratch on my window and it FREAKED ME OUT! LOL

Tara Marie said...

Jen, I've only read a few paranormal series and I felt their "alternate reality" was explained well enough that I didn't have a problem suspending my beliefs.

That's just it there needs to be enough world building to make the story somewhat believable.

Salem's Lot is still one of my favorite scary books.

Bev (BB) said...

I've been trying to think of something insightful to say on this one for the last day but coming up completely blank. I guess I'm just more open to many of the fantasy/paranormal plotlines - well, except for time travels. That's the one I have problems suspending disbelief over.

Or maybe it's not so much suspension of disbelief related to the traveling through time, cause I watch a lot of time travel movies and TV episodes, but with some of the book plots once they - a future character - gets back in time seems like the only time travel romances I've really enjoyed were the ones where the ones doing the traveling were historical researchers who knew they were hopping around in time and how to handle things already. No real fish out of water stuff going on. Even if they do occasionally get lost and bumped around in time. ;p

Which is weird because in most ways I'm perfectly content with wallpaper historicals and will swallow just about anything magical if it's set within an engaging yarn. I think I'm just too picky about science and technology.

Go figure.

Tara Marie said...

Bev, it's not necessarily just suspending belief. Realistically you have to suspend belief for all paranormals, but there has to be some frame of reference to start with, whether it's set in the "real" world or a completely altered and different reality.