That's right, another guide. I've been meaning to do it, for a while, and dang it all, I'm going to!
The Classic Monster - As you've probably learned by now, there is almost always a classic. This one doesn't have to be good or bad, really, they just have to be hungry - for you. Or violent. Or
anything else that will lead them to try to kill your main characters. Like all classics, they tend to be utterly flat, and of little interest - unless you invented the species, in which case they might have an awesome feature or too. You don't
need to avoid this one, though! I wouldn't go around giving them major parts, mind you, but not every random monster that attacks your characters has to have a big long story. Sometimes they just want food, or the were artificially created to be excessively aggressive, or you stumbled across its nest and now it's territorial. As important as it is to realize depth is important, it's also necessary to remember that sometimes
ya don't need it! Hell, in this case, you don't even want it! Nobody is going to listen to you detail out the last eight days of the furry brown beast trying to kill your characters, just so you can give it a reason for doing so.
Still, it's possible to pull off a funny paragraph or two about the monsters bad name, but you don't really need it.
The Animal Monster - sometimes, your monster
isn't one. Sometimes it's a grizzly bear! Or even
I don't know
a beaver! This can be done in two ways - it can be a mundane animal playing the PART of a monster for the story - attacking your main characters
or, if you want to go a slightly cliché route, you can have an animal MISTAKEN for a monster. Like the beaver! This is generally for a comic-relief ending
or else, to give them a moment of relief before the ACTUAL monster steps out. Your choice.
The Villainous Monster - okay, here's another for you. Sometimes, your villain IS a monster. Not in actions (See that one below) but in form. This can be seen in www.drunkduck.com/Cwens_Quest/…
quest) by Evil Emperor Nick where not only is one of the bad guys something from a bloody nightmare, he also happens to have his own army! Scaaaaaaaaaary thought, that.
The Internal Monster - sometimes, the monster isn't in looks
it's in personality. The man or woman without morals, who simply does what they want. Maybe they're a business man, or a mass murderer, or
hell, maybe they're just that tiny little voice in the back of your own character's head. It's the monster inside, whether it shows or not, that makes these monsters who they are.
The Daily Monster - The inverse of an Internal Monster, sometimes "monster" is just a name. This is for the world where werewolves, vampires, and even Frankenstein's creations walk around freely, getting their mail, going to work, and eating three little pigs for brunch. There might be humans - those humans might even be scared of them, sometimes, due to prejudices
but the basis of this monster is that it's such a part of daily life, that they're simply accepted. Generally citizens - they might be running for mayor, or going to school with you.
Another option is that they have nothing to do with humans. Maybe we're following them in their own little society, secret or otherwise, which works parallel to our own. Only, you know, with trolls and elves, and little pokey things that have a lot of eyeballs. It's all your choice, and I recommend having a bit of fun
The Gross Monster - this monster can be nice, mean, or simply stupid. The whole point is, you're more afraid of the gross factor than you are of them. It's their mostly for the humor qualities, like, "Ew! Ew! Ew! I touched it! I touched it when I stabbed it! Ew! Ew! Ew!" Or, "Damn it, I KNEW that thing was going to explode! Why the hell do the crap-golems ALWAYS explode. Do you have ANY idea how long this shirt is going to take to wash out!?"
Romantic Monster - Sometimes, your monster wants to date a human, rather than one of their own kind. This can be horridly cliché, kinda cute, or really deep. Horridly cliché? See the vampire successfully dating a human without any problems. Not that there's anything wrong with a vampire romance, but you should try to keep more to the basic roots
look at Sookie Stackhouse, by Charlain Harris for example. Or, if you want to refer to it's TV version, you can go watch True Blood on HBO. Yes, it's a human and a vampire - or a mostly human anyway. But you know what? They have problems! He likes blood! He has vampiric morals, and so do all the vampires she keeps finding herself thrown into the midst of. It's a series of danger and worry and knowing your next wrong move can lead to your death, and there is no perfectly content happily ever after.
It doesn't have to be that dangerous, mind you, but if you think you can just calmly walk into a relationship with a Classic Vampire who's spent the last couple hundred years hiding his need to suck your blood, you're in for a surprise. Later, I'll put up a guide for vampires which will give you a couple variations that might work, without breaking tradition too heavily. In the meantime, just accept that the classics really don't work as well as some people would like.
Emo Monster - sometimes your creature is just EMO. They're dark, repressed, moody, and an overall pain in the butt. If you have one of these, poke them. Then poke them some more. Then poke them with sharp. Pointy. Objects. Until they stop! Or die. Repeatedly. Whichever happens to come first.
A small trip into the Emo is fine, a bit of humor or a temporary character - why not? But you can't base a story entirely on someone who just sits around sighing. Now, if you want to base it on the person doing the poking, on the other hand
well, that's your choice. Might even be good!
Don't Wanna! Monsters - Sometimes, your monster doesn't want to be a monster. Now, you need to be careful that this doesn't slip into emo, but it CAN be good. There's a difference between the whiney brat who hates their life, and the deeply conflicted woman or man trying to come to terms with the fact that they are separate from the world. They can branch into romance a bit easier, perhaps, which may fail or succeed
In fact, you can watch the movie and book versions of Blood and Chocolate in order to see both. Strange, weird, possibly angry-making for some of you
but you know what? Both versions work, and the fact is that these types can go either way.
Gonna be monsters - this is someone who's going to be a monster at some point, due to some cause
a bite, a virus, if you're reading Kim Harrison maybe it's a living vampire who's already half there and going to go over when they die. It might overlap with don't wanna, if - like in the books - the person loses something, such as their soul, when they make the transition. They might be happy for it, on the other hand; impatient, even.
Goody Two Shoes monsters - This is the vampire that doesn't want to drink blood, the werewolf that wants to be a vegetarian, the whatever-the-hell-you-want that wants to go against its own nature. They might be emo, they might be don't wanna!s, or they can be their own class
generally, they're going to fail, and you're going to have to watch it happen. If they're friends with the main characters, you can deal with that person watching it too. If they are the main characters, those around them will deal with it
the point isn't really success - it's trying, for whatever reason, even if the only possible result is death. This can be brilliantly well done, or horribly failed. Try for the former, and if you're heading for the latter, scrap it before you forever receive hatred from the fans of whatever monster species your using.
Self claimed monsters - sometimes, your monster feels like one
it's how people treated them, and now it's how they treat themselves. It's sad, it's wrong, it's often stupid - but the trick is convincing them of that.
Righteous Monsters - what if your monster THINKS they're in the right? Has their own pathology, feels that you are the bad ones, and you both have the same sides. These are the monsters that are perceived as monsters. They could BE monsters, even. The point is, that's not how they think.
Acting Monsters - sometimes, they know
they aren't what we think of as monsters. But what do you do when it's what all society acts like? Maybe it's their own society, and they're trying to fit in... Or maybe they're like the vampires of Kim Harrison's world, or even Sookie Stackhouse, acting the part everyone expects them to play, never able to be themselves because people just don't want to believe that things aren't as different as they think. Sometimes, there is nothing more crippling than our own similarities to one another - because no one is willing to accept that they are there.