The Wattpad content team is here to continue our blog series on all things verticals. In case you missed it, we have already covered LGBTQ+ romance, Hot Encounter, and Dangerous Love, so make sure to check those out. This time, we’re here to chat about two more verticals we love: Para-romantasy and Werewolf.
Para-romantasy is the combination of three of our most popular genres on the platform: paranormal, fantasy, and romance. These are our romance stories that give readers a couple to root for, while giving them a sense of escapism through the supernatural and fantastical elements incorporated. When you first think of para-romantasy, you might assume that werewolf stories would fall under this vertical as werewolves are paranormal creatures. While this is true, we decided to give werewolf stories their own vertical. We know this might be confusing, and that’s why we’re here to break down the differences in the Para-romantasy and Werewolf verticals.
First, it’s important that we clarify what para-romantasy and werewolf are.
The Para-romantasy vertical highlights both paranormal romances and fantasy romances. The former typically takes place in a world that resembles our own, where at least one of the love interests is a paranormal creature (i.e. vampire, witch, demon, ghost, etc.). The latter, fantasy romances, take place in a completely different world than our own and one of the love interests is often a fantasy or mythical creature (i.e. warlock, dragon, elf, angel, etc.).
These intense and steamy werewolf stories provide a fantasy about a deep, primal romantic connection that runs soul deep and cannot be broken. Part of the appeal of the werewolf genre is that in addition to the fantasy of a perfect partner, it’s often shown that regardless of any struggles or mistreatment someone has experienced in their past, they can find a strong inner self. Deep down, they are capable of standing up for themselves and finding a place that they belong.
Now that you understand what para-romantasy and werewolf are, it’s time to discuss the unique characteristics of the Werewolf vertical and how it differs from the Para-romantasy vertical.
Para-romantasy stories may have social structures that their paranormal or mythical creatures abide by, but the social structures can vary greatly For example, look at arguably the two most popular depictions of vampires in the modern media: Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. In Twilight, there is a vampire coven that oversees all other vampires. They hold the sole responsibility to maintain order in the vampire community and prevent them from being exposed to humans. In The Vampire Diaries, there is no coven or vampire hierarchy. Instead, the original vampire family simply exists rather than being an organized group with responsibilities. While both of these vampire structures are interesting and will attract different audiences, it is evident that para-romantasy pack hierarchies differ from what werewolf story readers expect to see.
In all werewolf hierarchies, there is a clear power structure, with Alphas at the top (who are typically the love interest), Betas and Gammas in the middle, and Omegas at the bottom. Following this pack hierarchy is crucial as it allows the reader to come into the story knowing how the pre-existing social structure can affect character dynamics and interactions. Additionally, the pack results in close bonds forming which makes the pack act as a found family.
In para-romantasy stories, who the main characters feel closest with is not always an important part of the story. Looking at how ghosts are often portrayed is a great reference for this. In ghost movies like Susie Q, the ghosts don’t interact with any other paranormal figures because their main goal is to pass on to the afterlife as quickly as possible. Sometimes they may find themselves in a community with other ghosts, like in School Spirits where all ghosts trapped in a high school are able to interact. These relationships still come secondary to the primary focus of the ghost finding a way to gain access to the afterlife.
This differs greatly from werewolf stories as the concept of found family is very important due to the presence of the pack. Werewolves, even if they start the story as a lone wolf, will need to find a pack they can join. A large part of the appeal for werewolf readers is that comforting knowledge that anyone is capable of finding somewhere that they belong, and they do not have to go through life alone. There is an understanding that regardless of the good or the bad interpersonal relationships the characters may have with one another, the pack must always protect their own as they are a family.
Now, like any good story, para-romantasy stories need to have characters with a purpose. If your fantasy character is, for example, an angel, their purpose will often be to help guide other characters to a happy ending, like in the movie Angels in the Outfield. Even if they have to be more harsh with their tactics to get another character onto a good path, like in Click, they do not normally have moral conflicts because they know their purpose is to help create positive outcomes.
This is not the case for werewolf stories, where these characters regularly face internal conflicts due to their primal urges. For example, a character might need to use violence in order to protect someone else in their pact—even though as a human they are against any form of violence. In this scenario, both the wolf and human side have the same need to do a good thing, but where the human would hesitate, the primal urge of a werewolf would push them to do what both sides of them know is necessary. Since both the wolf and human sides are within a werewolf, regardless of what physical state they are in, the primal urges can only push them to do things that the human side would consider morally gray, rather than outright wrong. This internal conflict helps keep readers actively engaged throughout the story.
Due to the nature of romance stories, para-romantasy stories do need a happy ending. The way love interests interact throughout the story, however, is truly up to each writer. When you look at fantasy stories that feature faes, the romances vary due to the flexibility within that genre. In Fate: The Winx Saga, the faes are able to date and explore their feelings for various characters as they do not have an innate draw to one character in particular.
In contrast, werewolf stories utilize the fated mates trope for their love interests. The chemistry between leads is more immediately intense because there is a biological connection between them that cannot be ignored due to their primal urges. The Alpha needs to find their Luna in the story and they need to explore their inherent romantic connection with one another.
For many paranormal and mythical creatures, they remain in one physical state the entire time. While they have supernatural powers within, they can choose when they want to use them. When you look at popular media depictions of witches, like in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, once the witch first accesses their powers, their physical appearance stays the same because the magic was always within them. This greatly differs from werewolves, where the divide between their human side and wolf side is often a major focus within the story.
Werewolf stories need to involve their werewolf characters shifting, at some point, into their wolf form. How often and the cause of their shifting is up to the discretion of each writer but readers will want to see these characters in both forms to understand how the physical change may also result in emotional changes.
If you want to deepen your understanding of the differences between para-romantasy and werewolf verticals, we recommend checking out some of our favorite stories in each genre.
Now that you understand the differences between werewolf and para-romantasy, we can’t wait to see more stories in these verticals. Keep checking in with our blog and sign up for our newsletter to continue getting more in-depth details on all of the Wattpad Verticals.
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