Paranormal Lit primarily focuses on creatures that 'have yet to be discovered' by modern society, creatures that exist outside our 'normality'. Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and faeries seem to be the most popular at the moment, though angels, demons, mermaids, dragons, and unicorns are also appearing. Another important aspect of Paranormal Lit is that it takes place now, as in within this decade. This better serves to juxtapose our reality (our normalcy) with what is going on 'under our noses'.
Paranormal fiction is, technically, a sub-genre of Fantasy, on the same level as High-Fantasy or Urban-Fantasy. High-Fantasy tends to be more medieval in time period, and contains more traditional mythological creatures. Magic and mythology are well-known by all, and even the landscapes tend to be magic-based.
Urban-Fantasy, however, is more closely related to Paranormal Lit, and so the terms are often interchangeable. They usually focus on the same creatures, and both appear in the same time period (present). However, I find Urban-Fantasy usually revolves around magic, while Paranormal Lit tries for a more scientific approach or a very strict rule-based magic. Urban-Fantasy also often features the fantasy-world as un-hidden (or slowly becoming so) from the masses, whereas Paranormal Lit usually focuses on keeping things under wraps.
Another trend I've noticed in the Paranormal genre is most books being Paranormal Romance. Not only is one (or more) character non-human, but that character is also irresistibly attractive. The majority of the book/series is either resisting the impulse to jump the impossibly attractive other character (and eventually giving in) or trying to overcome adversity (villain/prejudice) and be with that character forever. Now, I appreciate a good romance as much as the next girl, but seeing the same thing over and over again is getting a bit annoying.
Finally, here's a list of what category (I think) certain books fall under:
Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
Graceling/Fire - Kristen Cashore
Tortall Series - Tamora Pierce
The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon) - Christopher Paolini
Mercy Thompson Series - Patricia Briggs
Kate Daniels Series - Ilona Andrews
The Dresden Files - Jim Butcher
Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
Young Wizards Series - Diane Duane
Artemis Fowl Series - Eoin Colfer
The Mortal Instruments Series - Cassandra Clare
Twilight Series - Stephanie Meyer
Well, are you a fan of the genre? Or are you perhaps a little more comfortable with a different genre?
A Puppeteering P Group: