editing, how do I write, how to write, the editing process, the writing process, writing, writing advice
I recently read a tweet entitled: The Werewolf Problem, and I’d like to share what it was about and some of my thoughts on it.
This is a tweet about someone’s writing class and a lesson the teacher was trying to nail home. The professor asked the class: How do you kill a werewolf? The tweeter goes on to say that the answers were what you would expect (and I’m sure some of you have come up with yourself); silver bullets, silver weapons in general, decapitation. All the classics were represented.
The point of the tweet, and of the lesson the professor was trying to get across, is: It. Doesn’t. Fucking. Matter. Werewolves do not exist. They are a fictional construct. As a fictional construct, you can make up anything you want about them. However you establish werewolves are killed in your story, then that is how they are killed.
Sticking with werewolves as an example, I read a novel some years ago, and yes I can’t remember what it was called or who wrote it. The novel started during World War II and the Nazis had discovered a werewolf. In order to get “super soldiers” Nazis soldiers were intentionally bitten, but the allies show up and put an end to their little experience. Then the story flashes forward to the “present”, where an old allied soldier runs into one of the Nazis officers that was turned into a werewolf, who looks the same as he did decades before. So, in this story being a werewolf means you don’t age, or do so really slowly, also these Nazis-wolves have developed a sonic device which triggers their change into a werewolf outside of the full moon. To follow a couple more werewolf examples, in the movie An American Werewolf in Paris, someone develops a drug that causes the werewolf change outside of the full moon. In the book with the Nazis-wolves, silver could harm the werewolves, and even kill them but so did beheading, in the Werewolf in Paris, as in An American Werewolf in London, lots of physical damage could kill the werewolf, but it had to be fatal, otherwise the werewolf would just heal. In the television show Supernatural, werewolves had to be shot in the heart with silver to be killed, otherwise it was just a big annoyance for them. And let us not forget that “werewolf” meant something different in all three of these examples. In the book, werewolves were humanoid in shape, covered in fur with a wolf’s head. In the movie, werewolves were just really big, really aggressive forms of wolves. And in the television show, werewolves barely changed at all, having yellow eyes, sharp teeth, and little more than a bad attitude.
I’m sure if we looked, and feel free to do so on your own time, there are even more types of werewolves with even more ways to kill them out there. And really, that’s the point. When you’re writing a story, it’s your story. If you like the “traditional” descriptions and weaknesses of a werewolf (insert whatever other monster you prefer), then use them, but don’t let tradition and what a “real werewolf” is like hinder your story. Basing your story on myths and legends is wonderful, especially if you’re having a hard time starting, but you should always strive to make your story your own.
So…If you want your werewolves to turn into actual wolves and only be stopped by chrysanthemums, go for it. If you want your vampires to be sparkly and have superpowers, why not? If your fairies are all cannibals and that’s why they steal children, well…actually I think that one is real.
Until next time: Be yourself, be well. Write yourself, write well.