Would you like your paranormal romance series to race to the top of the charts?
Would you like to be the next Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, or MaryJanice Davidson?
Well then, here's a list of what you absolutely must do. These are the RULES, and you must stick by them. Otherwise, you won't even sell, much less become an NYT bestseller.
The species is the supernatural or paranormal creature you 'create.'
They may be completely new, to the point that you come up with your own name for them. The name must always be unpronounceable. Or you can use a creature with an established mythology, like the Vampire. If you do, I strongly suggest that you research some and use the old names for such creatures. Or just translate the name into another language. French is good, and so is Italian—the Romance languages, you know.
You may also choose to make them human, and give them special powers. But they tend to turn out a bit bland. They don't have that paranormal oomph, say, a shapeshifter has.
As far as possible, give your characters names that are so far out, they aren't in baby books. This is very important, because it turns your characters from pedestrian to exotique!
The god is the mysterious, all-powerful (and preferably male and gorgeous or female and vicious) entity who is always on your hero and heroine's side, even if it does not always act like it. Not necessary, but very useful when you realize you don't know how to end the book–just the book, not the series.
There must be good, and there must be evil. Therefore you have the eternal enemy. Humans are good for this. Mysterious creatures with bloodsucking, shape shifting and/or sorcerous powers are better. Mysterious all-powerful entity with human/earth inhabiting servants are best, because then you can use the David vs. Goliath nuance. Nuances are good. They make the book 'deeper' and helps you stop sounding like you're having hero and heroine boink their way to the end.
The hero must be dark haired, ripped, have electrifying eyes, be at least six feet four tall with a predatory walk (whatever that means), and have special abilities (I do not mean what he can do with his tongue). May be able to know heroine is the love of his life just by smell. He is often a tortured good guy or enlightened/tortured baddie (makes great conflict) who's a loner. Once in a while, you may throw in an angelic-looking blond for variety (but they can't be too gay).
The hero usually has comrades, if not friends. These, together with the hero and heroine's eventual children, are your future characters.
The heroine is a very versatile character. Popular versions include the vampire and the vampire huntress (substitute your species), or the psychic who senses the hero is in deep shit and saves his ass. I personally like the ones where she's in the wrong place at the wrong time and the hero vows to protect her—ostensibly because he's a chivalrous sort but mostly because he can't resist her charms (read: can't resist boinking her, probably because of her smell).
The heroine's best friend can come in pretty handy, especially as a possible future heroine. She must either dislike hero intensely because she think he will break heroine's heart OR is terribly excited that the heroine is actually interested in someone.
- Heroine gets kidnapped so hero must trade holy artifact for her, but instead brings his brothers or friends (this is how you introduce your next hero) to beat up the baddies and save the day.
- Hero and heroine find holy artifact and save the world—for once.
- Hero kills the evil dragon/werewolf/vampire/name your creature.
Then they all live happily ever after, boinking lots and making many babies. This also helps you write on and on, because when they have babies, you can write about their babies too!
Which brings me to the Overarching Plotline. The battle of good vs. evil must continue on forever. It has to go on forever or you won't be able to keep on writing and earning money.
So Write On, to NYT Bestselling success!
PS This was the original idea for the RTB post–clearly I'm a pantzer, because it is very different from the one that finally went in.