Thursday, September 22, 2011

Authors Authors

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?

Leave a comment then join this blog bounce here.


CarolOates said...

We had a similar ideas for our posts this week. :-) I guess Nano is on everyone's mind at the moment. Wakufe sounds thrilling and very spooky. I hear possession is the next 'in' in publishing so you are right on trend.

As for real, I think reality is sort of subjective. When it comes to supernatural especially. We all see the world differently and one person's reality is someone else's fiction.

Not necessarily something I found but something I've know about for years. There is a place in the Dublin Mountains. It was built as a hunting lodge but it was built over a neolithic tomb. The tomb was destroyed while building. Locals claimed it was cursed by evil. A guy named Connelly later set up Dublin's Hell-Fire Club there. All sorts of depravity went on to the extent 'the horned one' is said to have put in many appearances over the years, leading one man to lose the power of speech and another to flee the country and never return. Many are still terrified of the place.

Jennifer Lane said...

Nice to see you on the blog bounce! The Wakufe seem frightening a la Aliens...good luck creating their characters and not freaking yourself out. ;)

Nicki Elson said...

Wakufe sound awesome! Carol Oates posted on the same subject by looking into the physiology and reasons behind it for vampires. So reading the two of these today made a nice set. :)

Nice to meet you on the Bounce.

Cherie Colyer said...

I'll have to give your challenge some thought.

I do agree that it's not enough to simply have a monster. When I'm reading a book, I do want all the how, what and why's answered. I want to believe that the evil lurking throughout a story is real in the world the author has created. If I can't believe that, then I usually put the book down.

phyllis sweetwater said...

Carol, your haunted place sounds uber scary. Anything about the devil really makes me squeemish.
Jennifer, I have already freaked myself out just making my outline. Figuring out how to overcome them is proving difficult.
Cherie, I know what you mean. Motive is everything. If a bad guy has no motive he seems unreal and stupid. The better the motive the more the reader believes it. Some even sympathize...