Why Young Adult Paranormal Doesn’t Always Need Romance

imagesBack in November, I was wrapping up a young adult paranormal romance manuscript. It wasn’t really heavy on the romance, and even while writing, I had my doubts about it. I knew the main character was eventually going to fall in love, but not now, and not with this person. But still, the characters had chemistry, so in the end, romance crawled in before I very well realized it.

But by the end of the book, both characters had broken up because, although they had definite chemistry, they didn’t really know each other. They were miles apart, their world views completely different. And you know what the break up did? It ruined their chemistry.

In February, I got started on drafting the sequel. But something didn’t feel right. The characters didn’t behave the way they should. It was as if their relationship was messed up, broken.

So I turned back to my original manuscript and decided to focus on edits. But the more I worked on the edits, and the closer I got to the latter half of the book, where the romance played a minor part, the more annoyed I became. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. These characters, they were never meant to fall in love. Chemistry or no chemisty, they didn’t match.

I hate insta-love. And even if none of them ever proclaimed their love for each other – just how they felt attracted to each other, and even though they knew each other for a few weeks already, it still felt like an insta-love books.

For nights, I tossed and turned, wondering whether I should ditch the love aspect or not. Ditching romance is difficult. It’s a young adult paranormal romance novel. At least, that’s what I envisioned it to be. And while I’ve read hundreds of YA paranormal romance books, I’ve barely read any book that didn’t feature any romance whatsoever.

But then I figured that these characters deserve a real chance to tell their story, exactly the way it is. And these two characters aren’t starcrossed lovers – they’re friends. Friends with insane chemistry, but still friends.

So for now, they’ll stay friends. And who knows, if they ever want to be more, then they can. But I won’t force them to be something they don’t want to be, just to fit within a genre.

I’m rewriting the first chapters of the sequel, with these altered storyline, and the characters are better than ever. They’re the people they’re meant to be. If you’re ever in doubt about what to do, listen to your characters, listen to their voices and personality. Don’t change them just to fit a certain plot or genre.

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