Thursday, September 22, 2011
Paranormal technicalities. Readers are less satisfied with original urban myths these days. They don't want a monster that has no point of origin, no motivation, or no scientific reason for existing. Readers want their monsters proven to be real. For example zombies. Why are human brains their only sustenance? If they are truly a reanimated corpse, why doesn't their digestion system work? Why can't they eat each other's brains? Zombies are pretty scary, but technically, not very plausible unless the author can rationalize their way into existence. Another example is shape shifters. Seriously, how could a persons, skin, hair or even bones transform into another creature and back and look perfectly normal? A caterpillar can become a butterfly through metamorphosis, but it can't change back and certainly not in a split second. My shape shifters have to wrap themselves up in a cocoon to change and then the change is permanent, otherwise it's not believable enough. My point is hocus pocus and unexplained monsters are not as scary as they use to be. Now days they have to sound legit. This brings on further problems as each author justifies an original urban myth and changes the rules; we end up with twenty different kinds of vampires. Vampires that eat food, vampires that sparkle, vampires that have extra powers previously unknown, etc. We have to admit some of the original vampire rules about garlic, stakes and sunlight have no scientific foundation whatsoever.
So who is going to police this redefinition of monsters? When I read Harry Potter I was taken aback by the changes Rowlins made to some ancient creatures and thought, who gave her the right? (I quickly forgave her when I realized her creatures made more sense.)
My solution: find something new. There are so many untapped resources for ghastly ghouls from foreign countries or ancient civilizations. Some of them even have merit. Thus the birth of my NANoWriMo novel for this November: Wakufe. The Wakufe are a South American demon that has no body. They make their presence known by inhabiting the bodies of unsuspecting humans and can travel from person to person at any time, controlling their thoughts and actions, making them do terrible things. I found out about the wakufe on Wikipedia.
My challenge: What can you find that is scary because it's real?
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