Sales of urban fantasy, erotica, and romance books are growing faster than the engorged manhood of a vampire whose lack of blood circulation has mysteriously not left him impotent. Maybe this is because society has become more accepting of sexuality overall. Or maybe it's just because ebooks have finally fulfilled humanity's long-held dream of being able to buy selkie erotica without having to awkwardly avoid eye contact with the bookstore clerk.
Whatever the reasons behind it, this pornucopia has also created a problem. Romance and erotica publishing is now so big that authors are pushing the boundaries of what it's possible to write about. We've moved past standard vampire erotica into stories about ladies boning zombies and angels. Werewolf romance has expanded into a wider "shapeshifter" genre that encompasses werepanthers and werebears. We have NASCAR romance and dinosaur porn, for god's sake. Where can the industry possibly go next?
Well, don't despair. Below are a bunch of new, unexplored genres and plots that urban-fantasy and romance fans are sure to eat up. Why pen boring, average scenes about vampire-dicking, when you can write ...
#5. Allergy Plot Twists
A staple of any romance novel is that the plot should contain a significant obstacle before the heroine and her man can end up together. Your couple can't just fall into bed together on page 3. Rather, they should be forced to overcome a bunch of troubles that allow the reader to become emotionally invested in their future boning. So if you're writing a romance novel about a billionaire businessman courting an average Jane, you'll throw in some crippling insecurity about Jane's poor background. If it's historical romance, the obstacle can be class issues or arranged marriages.
Or weeping syphilis sores, if that's your thing.
This need for a cock-blocking plot twist is probably one reason why mythical-creature romance is currently so popular. Once you've read stories in which the obstacle to a couple's happiness involves one of them being the Loch Ness Monster, "I can't marry you because I'm a workaholic" just doesn't cut it. But despite all this, the romance genre has yet to explore one of the most obvious and devastating potential obstacles to supernatural romance: allergies.
Think about it: Humans are commonly allergic to the hair, saliva, or dander of other mammals, and there's no reason these allergies wouldn't also be set off by mystical creatures or shapeshifting humans. Shapeshifters spend a lot of time in the forest, so they'd be covered in pollen half the year as well. Allergy-heartache could even apply to vampires: If you're an immortal creature that doesn't breathe or poop or sweat, you don't have to change your clothes very often, so you'd probably get dusty as hell. "Boy meets girl, girl breaks out in hives" is a romance plot that writes itself. And yet, as an allergy sufferer myself, I can tell you that we're an unrepresented market in any book genre, let alone erotica.
Why aren't there more of us in pornography?
Karoline and the wereleopard, William, lay on the forest floor, basking in the afterglow of their passionate, scratchy lovemaking. The relationship had experienced rough patches, like when William had badly scratched up Karoline's Chevy Impala after mistaking it for an actual impala. But now, things were finally starting to work out. As her mind drifted to thoughts of wedding dresses, Karoline sneezed.
"What's wrong, my love?" growled William.
But Karoline could not answer: She was still sneezing violently. Snot rained out of her nose. She had never experienced this much snot. With each sneeze, it shot out of her nostrils like the long tentacles of an Elder God. "Oh god," she yelled through the sneezes. "Just kill me. For the love of god somebody please kill me."
Confused, William began to groom himself.
#4. Expanded Werecreatures
"Shifter romance," books about women falling in love with supernatural transforming creatures, have remained oddly constrained despite their massive new popularity. No matter how deeply you plumb the depths of Amazon or Goodreads, you'll find that the male love interests in these novels almost always transform into the same things: a wolf, a mythical creature, some kind of large cat, or perhaps a bear.
Some erotica writers might argue that these kinds of limits are necessary, because other animals just aren't as sexy. This is a ridiculous argument, because come on, people, no animals are sexy. If you find wild animals arousing, there are some perfectly good corners of the Internet for you, but you should probably not be writing mainstream fiction. The trick to writing shifter-porn is to keep your manimal love interest just human enough so that you don't give off that "banned from the zoo" vibe. Once you've taken this into consideration, there is no reason not to expand the werecreature genre to the whole animal kingdom. Think about all the unique plots and conflicts you could get if you decided to write outside the box and have your male lead mystically transform into, say, a salmon.
The secrets, the tormented passion. The erotic midnight swimming sessions. The hero's conflict with the local fishing industry. Consider that male salmon occasionally grow canine teeth before mating, and then deposit their seed in a glorious splooge-cloud above the female's recently laid eggs. How can that not make a great climactic love scene?
Krystal sat in the rowing boat, pondering the dark secrets of her new lover. Why was Caleb so shady about his past? So insistent on getting her near large bodies of fresh water? Why was it that whenever they tried to organize a date night, Caleb would be mysteriously attacked by a bear?
Suddenly, a piercing cry echoed from the sky above. Caleb screamed in mortal terror.
"Oh no!" he cried as the shadow rushed toward them. "It's a bald eagle!"
(Note: Bald eagles are a protected species, so they make for great functionally immortal antagonists in salmon romance. Werebald-eagles can also be included.)
#3. Boomer Romance
Baby boomers, members of the generation born between 1946 and 1964, have for years been too busy having jobs to read much romance. Now that they're starting to retire, though, it's a great time for authors to cash in on the ebook-purchasing frenzy that is sure to follow.
"Now we finally have time to read all those stories about the T-Rex and the naked lady."
Note that I'm not talking about writing books for normal, well-adjusted older people who just want to read romance featuring others in their age group: That kind of book already exists. I'm talking about books aimed at the type of boomers who are desperately hanging on to the idea that their generation was the most important thing to ever happen to Western civilization, and who manifest this resentment about their lost youth by endlessly complaining about those lazy, narcissistic youngsters who were gauche enough to not even be born when Woodstock happened.
Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
Look at this entitled little fucker.
These types of boomers complain about millennials so much that they seem to be really into complaining about millennials, if you get what I'm saying. And yet no one has cashed in on this obvious need. Why not combine these masturbatory generational complaints with subject matter that you can actually masturbate too?
"I'm so glad I kicked Jake out," Moira said to Pedro, the handsome, well-endowed gardener she had hired with the money she was no longer spending on her worthless, millennial, social-media-using son. "If I could work my way through college in the '70s with income from my summer job, so can he."
"Haven't tuition costs gone up a little since then?" asked Pedro. "And minimum wage rates haven't-"
Moira grew angry and fired Pedro. Just then the doorbell rang. On the doorstep stood The Beatles!!
"The Beatles! Aren't half of you dead?" Moira asked.
"We are not the Beatles," said the one who looked like Paul McCartney. "For legal reasons, we are vampires who look exactly like The Beatles and whose mystical powers allow us to live eternally in 1967."
Moira and the Vampire Beatles sat on the renovated patio and smoked pot and congratulated themselves for ending capitalism and the Vietnam War. The Vampire Beatles listened to Moira as she told them about her worthless son who was now in Afghanistan or one of those worthless millennial places.
"What a loser," said Vampire John Lennon. They all threw back their heads and laughed and then had sex.