I’ve been away on vacation for the last few days, doing a mini writing retreat. While I was scaling (and by scaling I mean driving a VW up a very steep and very scary hill), I started to think about my latest project, the final segment in the Meteora Trilogy. Now mind you, I wasn’t the one driving. So I wasn’t floating off in La La Land while trying to ascend Mt. Terrifying Gravel Path.
Recently a slew of stories have come out that fall anywhere under the fantasy/urban fantasy/horror spectrum. Out of them, a good chunk (probably over half) has been stereotypical monster mashes. You know the ones: there’s the steroid infused alpha werewolf/shifter, a vampire that acts like an emo kid from the early millennium, and all kinds of hocus pocus witches. It’s almost as if writers are given a list of creatures and told to check one off.
Every now and then a gem pops up, a story that abandons the ever ubiquitous three-monster list and goes with something a tad more original. But even then, we seem to continue within the same area, never straying too far from shifter-vampire-witch archetype. Sure, zombies have gotten some much needed attention, along with fairies, and even trolls. But these have all been bashed over the head so many times that their brains are splattered across the wall.
Where am I going with this? Well, I think it’s time for us to come up with something different. There are so many amazing monsters out there. It’s all a Google search away. Instead of falling back on the ever traditional vampire or fairy, why not try looking into Slavic lore or take a tour down south and research Mexican myths? The world is ripe with so many fantastical creatures, it’s a shame we seem to always rely on the same fables.
Even if you’re a fan of vampires and you really, really want to write a story about blood sucking fiends (you and the rest of the world), give it a fresh spin! Look at different myths for vampires. Did you know that the Greeks don’t have vampires, but they do have lamias, which are very similar? If you want to write that zombie novel (guilty as charged), why not do something outside of the traditional virus-induced apocalypse? Zombies originate from Haitian lore, look into it and go from there.
My point is that we can do so much more than what we have been. It doesn’t always have to be vampires, witches, and werewolves (oh my!). It can be a wendigo, griffon, or yeti. I want a story about Big Foot (and not monster porn either). I want a story about kappas and chupacabras and original monsters, ones that don’t have any lineage beyond your own imagination.
Let me know what you think, what you want to see. Who else is tired of the same ol’ song that keeps getting sung in urban fantasy and horror? Who else wants to see something more than the glittering undead and witches with vendettas? I know I do!