Mary Shelley did it. So did Dante, Milton, Poe, Lovecraft ... and scores of others.
As a writer, I've often pondered how those great writers breathed life into their creations? What was so beguiling about Shelley's Frankenstein and his monster, Dante's demons, Milton's Lucifer, Lovecraft's worlds?
As a writer of horror and fantasy, I wonder: What's the secret to creating a memorable monster?
A great antagonist needs to be original, interesting, beguiling, and it helps if they have a fatal flaw, of course. A dark sense of humour doesn't hurt, either. But there's something more, too...
... what's that elusive ingredient?
This week on my publisher's blog, I talk about Monster Writing 101. All of my books feature some sort of monster, from a curmudgeonly 400-year-old gargoyle, to an old gardener who traps bored children in his time-travel maze. But my latest monster, Abilith the Rogue, from my new book, Everton Miles is Stranger than Me, is my favourite monstrous creation of all. And let's face it, every writer knows that monsters are really fun to write!
For more on ingredients for the perfect monster, here's an excerpt from my Dundurn blog post today. Read on ...
"I’ve always had a thing for monsters. It started in an English class when my professor asked me to explain what made John Milton’s Lucifer, the main character in Paradise Lost, so compelling?
I wasn’t sure. But I was intrigued. I began to wonder about monsters in literature: human monsters like Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, and literal monsters, like Dante’s demons in The Inferno, or Mary Shelley’s monstrous creation.
Why do they move us, I wondered? What was the secret to creating a memorable, haunting antagonist?
A few years later I was sitting in a screenwriting course (Robert McKee’s excellent class, I highly recommend it), and the answer fell into my lap…
… AS THE CREATOR, YOU HAVE TO LOVE YOUR MONSTER."
What does that mean? Read the rest of the Dundurn blog post now to find out: Monster Writing 101
Everton Miles is Stranger than Me is now available in bookstores and libraries across the country.
This weekend I was at the Yonge/Eglinton Indigo for a book event. I had a great time, we sold a lot of books, and thanks to everyone for coming!
A few students turned up with an English assignment: they had to record an author reading to them for 5 minutes. An interesting teacher to send their seniors out to find an author to read to them! I was happy to comply, though, so a small crowd gathered at my feet, and I read from the book for 5 minutes or so. Always happy to help students finish their English assignments!
Here's a twitter video of the great-looking table: INDIGO
Everton Miles is Stranger than Me, Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews "A charming sequel...a page-turner that is funny, magical and entertaining: