Brass Tacks: Supernatural vs Paranormal; Vampire vs Zombie

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Two things happened to me recently that turned my world a little on its side: 1) writers at a writer’s conference asked me what I was looking for in YA and I said ‘no more paranormal.’ But then they asked me if I liked zombies and I said I LOVED zombies. They all laughed at me ironically. 2) I had a conversation with someone in which I made the statement: I do not like paranormal, but I love supernatural. I pretty much stopped myself short, realizing mid-word (and remembering the writer’s conference) that I actually had no idea what the difference is between the two words.

We both immediately whipped out our iPhones:

So yea… thanks for nothing, dictionary.

Friends and readers, lovers and haters: We have a mission to complete. What IS what?!

Let’s start with prefixes.

Para: beyond …beyond normal.

Super: above; over; beyond above natural; over natural; beyond natural

So again, thanks for nothing, prefixes. BUT WAAIT! Prefix be damned! It’s the stem that matters in this case. Am I totally right, or what?!

Normal: usual; typical; standard

Natural: existing in, or caused by nature

We have had it wrong this WHOLE time. Twilight is not paranormal YA romance. Twilight is supernatural YA romance. Vampires, as far as we know at this moment, do not exist in nature. They are supernatural.

Zombies however do exist in nature. Zombies in Voodoo, Haitian zombies…those zombie ants I read about the other day! They exist, maybe not George R. style, but zombies are much more eligible to exist in nature and are therefore beyond typical: paranormal.

Brass tacks: Vampires are beyond existing in nature (supernatural) and zombies are beyond typical (paranormal).

If you are still reading, I have four words for you: You’re a Champ, Matt.


Next up: We figure out where ghosts fit in this whole crazy semantic mess. Then robots.

Weigh in: What kind of Reader are you?

My adorable sister is visiting right now with her 5 adorable children.

It has been awesome to bounce book ideas off of them to see what they prefer when it comes to their literature.

ANYWAY… yesterday, my sister did something that got me thinking. She started reading The Hunger Games as an easy summer read (she is 35 after all) and she kept telling me, “I just want to know what happens! I think I’m going to skip to the end.” I told her NO, she would regret it! It would ruin the book experience for her.

Well, late last night I got a text (we were in different rooms of the same house, haha) and it said, “I hate myself, I read the last line of the book!” If you have read The Hunger Games, you know that the last line gives away a lot.

She was way bummed, to say the least. And I got to dance to the ‘I Told You So’ song.

Like I said, it got me thinking. I personally cannot and will not read past the page that I am on. It ruins everything for me and I refuse to read the book after it is ruined. (Same goes for movies and TV shows). I HATE spoilers! However, I have a dear friend, who HAS to read ahead or else the reading experience isn’t fun for her. She reads all about the next episode of TV shows before they air and she reads about the endings of movies. This is how she gets the most out of the experience. But with books more than anything else, I always find her on the last page before she has started the book. And it makes me feel itchy!

So my question is: What kind of reader are you? Are you a spoiler-free reader, or a read-ahead reader?

Weigh in.