As a YA Author of novels that contain vampires, shape-shifters, witches, fairies (not the Tinkerbell type), and so many other un-natural beings I have often been asked the following questions:
‘What is the difference between supernatural, paranormal, and preternatural?’ and ‘Which of these categories do you write in?’
Well the simple answer is this: They are pretty much interchangeable! OR ARE THEY?
Below are the “official” definitions – followed by some examples of character types I, as an author, would put into each category.
Supernatural… Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature
Super: above; over; beyond | natural: existing in, or caused by nature
* Angels * Vampires * Werewolves (and other were-animals) * Witches * Warlocks * Wizards *
Paranormal… Denoting events or phenomena such as telekinesis or clairvoyance that are beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding
Para: beyond | normal: usual; typical; standard
* Zombies * Vampires * Necromancers * Time travelers *
Preternatural… Beyond what is normal or natural – existing outside of nature (very unusual in a way that doesn’t seem natural)
Preter: This is not a prefixe that I could find a definition for, but it seems it means: beyond | natural: existing in, or caused by nature
* Zombies * Werewolves (and other were-animals) * Vampires * Witches * Necromancers *
OK, so maybe that didn’t help sort out the difference after all. A lot of the examples tend to fall into multiple categories, at least for me.
Click here to read a previous post I had re-blogged about a similar topic: Brass Tacks: Supernatural vs Paranormal; Vampire vs Zombie
So, what are your thoughts? Comment below and tell me what you think the differences are and what types of un–natural beings fall into each of the categories!