Note: It’s supernatural month! All discussions this month will be about supernatural creatures or worlds!
Why aren’t there new supernatural creatures?
Vampires. Werewolves. Witches. Zombies. These are the most common supernatural creatures with a few fairies, mermaids, sprites, and other creatures thrown in, but all of them have one thing in common: they’re classics. They have been around for at least a century and will continue to be around for many more centuries to come.
Over the past few weeks we discussed the inconsistencies that go along with zombies, the redundance of vampires, the constant adaptations to witches, and the improper usage of werewolves. Everyone knows these four even with their excessive variations, but at what point do these become boring? At what point do we run out of changes? At what point do we, as readers, go: ‘Enough! We need something else!’?
Naturally we run back to the traditional supernatural creatures because they’re well-known, they’re common, and they’re easy to identify. We know what we like. We know what to expect. Most importantly, we have already developed our viewpoints on each of these creatures and have picked sides. It’s only human nature to stick to what we know and to fear the new, the strange, the abnormal. (Ask Dr. Frankenstein about that one. >.>) Yet, even as creatures of habit, don’t we eventually become bored with routine? (They don’t call it a mid-life crisis for nothin’.)
No doubt one of the hardest part (for writers) with creature creation is originality. After all, the common supernatural creatures aren’t the only ones out there. Creatures exist in all societies and cultures. There are already creatures from Greek mythology, Mexican mythology, Norse mythology, Egyptian mythology, etc, etc. And while these are alternatives to the common creatures, they have defined outlines. If you use them, you need to use them correctly and adaptations aren’t very well accepted. Additionally, readers assume the story takes place in one of those particular societies when you use a creature from that society.
This leaves the writer with the hefty task of coming up with a brand new, completely original (or hopefully different enough) creature. This is a daunting task. After all, writers are already busy with creating plot lines, worlds, characters, tensions, resolutions, and goodness knows what else. Adding brand new creatures in some times is just one task too many and they default to pre-designed creatures. It’s also any easy way to draw in readers because using a well-known creature means you have a pre-existing pool of readers who will at least glance at your book.
Yet, I think as writers, it’s our job to offer readers new and exciting creatures. I mean, we already offer them worlds and characters. It’s our job to give them new stories to explore. We have to constantly come up with new ideas and make sure they’re different enough from other stories and characters, but why do we take the easy way out when it comes to creatures? Don’t we want to creature a creature that people rave about and draw fanart about? Don’t we want something that becomes a staple in the world of supernatural creatures? I know I do!
Not to mention, by creating a new supernatural creature, we’re offering more options for other writers, too. Though, this can be tricky. Many new creatures are often copyrighted as part of the series or integrated thoroughly into a world and maybe this is why new creatures haven’t arisen. Maybe this is why we default back to the common supernatural creatures: because no one has ‘claimed’ them. (Maybe I need to start making supernatural creatures for other writers to use. I want to make this creature creation a trend! ^.^)
But maybe I’m one-minded. Maybe I’m not seeing all the angles of character creation, whether that’s the benefits or the difficulties or the consequences. Let me know! I want to hear from readers and writers alike. What are your thoughts on having new supernatural creatures across multiple book/movie series?
Let me know in the comments below what you think about creature creation. I want to hear all about it! ^.^
And check out my discussion from last week:
“Stop ruining my werewolves!“