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Paranormal vs Horror: What’s the difference?

October 28, 2020

Hello everybody! I hope your week is going well. If you’ve been following my social media you know I talked about this earlier in the week. I am in no means am a horror or paranormal writer author or even reader. But that doesn’t mean I’m not curious about the genres and what separates them.

But as someone who is not immersed in well-versed on the genres I asked some of my writing an author colleagues, who are well-versed in the genres, what the difference is. I got a lot of very insightful and interesting responses. So keep reading to learn the difference between the paranormal in horror in literature with me!

“I always think of horror as being more grounded in reality such as serial killers and all. Paranormal has more supernatural elements such as ghosts, phantoms, demonic entities, etc.”Lala Leo, Author

“Some people use the world Paranormal interchangeably with paranormal romance I’ve noticed.”K. R. S. McEntire, Author

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“Paranormal fiction is typically considered a sub-genre of horror. Although sometimes it’s more of a fantasy sub-genre.” —Genevieve Clovis, Writer

Horror is specifically designed with the emotions of the reader in mind. It’s deliberately designed to be frightening and unnerving. It’s that motivation that makes it horror, even if there are no paranormal elements.
Any paranormal elements make the story paranormal – it can be a paranormal horror, a paranormal romance, a paranormal thriller, adventure, of any kind.”


“What gets them mixed up is that, when some of the original novels in the genres were written – such as Frankenstein or Dracula – paranormal things were only told as frightening stories. Now we can tell horror stories about ordinary humans – such as Psycho – or tell paranormal stories with positive twists such as Lovely Bones
”—Stephen Stevie Cole, Writer

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Horror- Is a story written to frighten and/or unnerve. It’s written to make you feel afraid.

Paranormal- Includes an entity or event that is powered by something unexplained.

You will see elements of both in each type of story, but you don’t have to have either to write that story. For instance you can have a horror story without a ghost (Saw). However, you can also have a ghost story without it being scary (Casper).”—SL. Williams

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You can also learn more and get more in-depth information about these genres and genres like it from the The Write Talk (they are an amazing platform that definitely deserves more engagement and followers!)

Thank you all for reading and remember:

Live. Love. Laugh.

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