I've been reading a lot of Jeaniene Frost's books lately. She's one of the best selling paranormal romance authors. I love her books. (And Bones. Especially Bones!) Yet her books have a definite formula. In fact, a lot of books in this genre have the same formula. Here's the basic plot:
Girl meets boy. There is instant attraction even if neither act on it. One or both of them are supernatural creatures and/or have paranormal abilities. The villain enters. Bad stuff happens. Girl and boy can't resist each other. Something causes them to break apart and/or push one another away. More bad stuff. Big final battle. Evil is thwarted. The happily ever after ending.
With a market that is overflowing with paranormal romances of the usual formula, as a writer, you need to find a way to break out of it to get yourself noticed. Readers still love the classics like vampires and werewolves, but they want new twists.
As I've been writing my 13th Floor series, I've been experimenting on breaking free of the old formula. I still have the key ingredients, but I'm trying out some new twists.
The Marquis - I featured an older couple. Usually in romance, the lovers are young. Or, in the case with some supernatural beings, they look and act young even if they're centuries old. Did the readers like it? I've gotten some compliments about using an older couple, but it is the book that sells the least in the series.
The Alpha - It's common for paranormal romances to features an Alpha male. I twisted that trope and used an Alpha female. Her love interest is a geek. This still remains the most popular of my books. Readers do love strong women and superhero wannabe geeks.
The Dragonslayer - A modern day dragonslayer who is a complete gentleman instead of the typical bad boy. Xan's an Alpha male, but not in an overbearing way. His strength shows through in honor, chivalry, and his morals. And fighting dragons! It's still a bit early to tell, but Xan has many fans.
The Harbinger - Another story where the lead male character is a gentleman rather than a bad boy. The protagonist is a powerful woman. Feminine and a fighter. She's also a harpy. I'm curious to see how a creature usually not featured in this genre goes over with readers.
What are some of your favorite books that break from the usual formula?