A Vampire, a Werewolf and an Angel walk into a bar…

Guest Post by Patti Larsen
 
I wanted to revisit the conversation I had with my dear friend TG Ayer about the sequel to Dead RadianceDead Embers. She mentioned she really wanted to include werewolves in it as part of the plot but was concerned that doing so would be an issue. After all, werewolves are so done, aren’t they?

That got me to thinking. Who says? Sure there are tons of vampire novels out there. Weres in the form of wolves, cats, you name it, books by the score. Angel novels are coming out the proverbial yin-yang. So writing yet another tired, boring story about said content is, say it with me, tired and boring.

I beg to differ.

Think about it. Do we get bored writing about teen girls and the troubles they find themselves in at school? Do we grow weary of another fantasy world built on medieval society and dragon slaying? Are we blase about yet another thriller in which the killer turns out to be the last person we expected? Of course not. As long as they are well written.

See, I think the real point is, it has nothing to do with the fact the character is a werewolf, vampire, angel, serial killer, nerdy teen girl, etc. That’s missing the whole issue. We read those books because we love the people themselves.

So if we dissect what it is we’re really tired of, it’s not the fact the lead character is a vampire–but that he’s the same vampire with a different name we’ve read about over and over again from other authors. Just like we might get tired of a plucky female police detective so stereotyped that she feels uber familiar, to the point where we’re rolling our eyes.

The key is to make sure the characters are always real. Always. To write the authentic core of who they are. What they are is secondary. Yes, being a were effects how a teen boy acts. Of course it does. But who is he first? Who was he before he was bitten? Does it make him stronger or weaker? Guilt ridden or driven to succeed?

It’s time to reexamine not the genre or the illness or the feathered bent. The most memorable characters, the ones those weak copycats are based on, come from truth, no matter who they are, because they are always true to their motivations and have a story to tell in a voice that can’t help but move us.

The lesson I take from it then is stop trying to write what others want or don’t want and be honest with your characters. They, at least, will never steer you wrong.

So, a vampire, a werewolf and an angel walk into a bar…

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