1. Miku
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    Miku Member

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    Adding fantastical elements?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Miku, May 2, 2013.

    I am currently in the world building stage, and have been for quite some time but that's another issue, and so far I know that my protagonist is a werewolf. I've always loved werewolves and personally felt that they have not had as much exploration as vampires, since they are often tacked on to vampire stories and werewolf folklore and mythology is rarely explored. But I'm not sure how to explain the origin of werewolves. There are no other shapeshifting creatures in the story. Yet, I feel like something is missing. I was thinking of adding witches, since there were witch-werewolf hunts in the 17th century so they are connected in some way. But I don't really want my story to venture too far outside the society of werewolves.
    So I feel like something is missing from the overal story world, but I don't want the addition of witches to seem tacked on, especially since I will not delve too much into the society of witches and I would only make the antagonist a witch anyways. I also can't find any mythology concerning werewolves and another supernatural creature. To be honest, I just feel like werewolves being the only supernatural beings will make the world seem empty somehow, like there should be something else too. Any advice concerning this problem? And for the record I really do not want to add vampires.
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is it you're not sure 'how' to explain their origin or youcan't find enough info on their original mythology?

    I've been researching werewolves for my story, although they are 'tacked-on' to my vampires and witches but I might be able to help if you tell me what exactly you are looking for?
     
  3. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    I don't think there's really a need to add other supernatural abilities to the world, as long as this is going to be an urban fantasy and not some great, huge epic fantasy set in an alternate realm.

    As far as what they are and how they came to be...the best thing to do is to figure out what there werewolves that you're making need. What would be more interesting and make the most sense as far as your world is concerned. Because the fact is, people have been changing the myths about vampires, werewolves and the like for forever now, all for the sake of good literature, and no one ever questions it.
     
  4. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    In my opinion it depends on what kind of werewolves you are writing about aka which version of the lore you are following. As a kid I used to read much about the lore of werewolves, vampires, gargoyles etc and I can tell you there are many different versions of the origins of werewolves or the specifics of their powers.
     
  5. Miku
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    I guess what I'm going for is a more mythical background to the werewolves. Not so much the "curse of the werewolf" or "lycanthropy is a virus" kind of mythos. I really like the story behind Fenrir, and it made me think that if werewolves existed, some religious factions might think they would call forth the apocalypse. Stuff like that is what interests me most. The conflict I'm having is that I feel like it would be hard to explain why werewolves exist, but no other paranormal creatures exist. Like, why wolves? Why not lions or bears? That sort of thing. And if I decide to add another supernatural, what is the connection?
    Sorry if this question is confusing. Overall, I am debating whether to include another supernatural aspect to the world in my story or maintain that only werewolves exist as sentient beings alongside humans. If I go with the former, I want to find mythos or legends concerning wolves or werewolves and some other creature. If I go with the latter, I need to figure out why only werewolves exist and work on how their inclusion would alter society as a whole. I wanted to know what people here thought, what they tend to use (or would use in my shoes), and what critical questions I should keep in mind when making this decision.
     
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  6. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Okay, I think our first step here is to establish one clear fact: Werewolves are a myth. They do not exist. They are not real. Why is this important to establish? Because, with any other mythical creature in the world, it means that you can do whatever the hell you want with them. Look at the vampire. The image has changed so much over time, and popular culture today pegs them in a completely different light than what they once were. They can now go out in sunlight, they don't need to drink human blood, they attend boarding schools... Writers, for the sake of their stories/character, made the vampires into what they needed them to be.

    Now, while werewolves have clearly not been as popular in today's society as vampires have, we've also seen a notable change in how they exist: werewolves that are more like shape-shifters, that can change, at will, into legitimate wolves, rather than humanoid monsters that only change on the full moon. It's been manipulated over time, just like anything and everything else. Which means that, today? You're allowed to do whatever you want.

    Following up on that... Your biggest problem is clearly deciding whether or not you're going to include some other sort of supernatural aspect here. That's what you keep reverting back to: do you tether your Werewolves to the existence of some other being, or do you have them stand alone? And that's something that you, as the author, need to decide for yourself. There's no one that can make that call for you. We can point you in the direction of a few myths about Werewolves, or we can help bounce ideas around with you. But we can't do that until you have some sort of idea about where you're going to be going. So you need to sit down and ask yourself: would the existence of some other kind of supernatural beings add something to your story? Or would they only serve the purpose of helping you explain away the Werewolves? Do you really need other supernatural beings in your story? Until you can answer those questions, there's really nothing that the members of this forum can do for you.
     
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  7. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Werewolf origins is usually a matter of flavour and werewolf mechanics are a matter of what you need to move the story along: Warcraft's Worgen are cursed and therefore have the whole madness and savagery in need to redemption thing going on while traditional werewolf myths were based on venerated norse warriors or somesuch. Twilight's "werewolves" are native american shapeshifters, there was that werewolf movie where the affliction was treated like an illness to be studied or a torture to be inflicted on someone or something.

    I really can't muster too much effort for this reply because the bottom line is that it's your story that matters. Go with whatever furthers the plot and adds flavour to the characters and rationalise it however you want from there. Hell, if Stephanie Meyer can get away with bastardising the staples of the horror genre the way she did, there's no reason you can't.
     
  8. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I kind of like how Patricia Briggs pulls off werewolves in Mercy Thompson novels. There's lots of hierarchy stuff and they aren't all that nice and fluffy (apart form half of the monsters being in love with Mercy, that is fluffy).

    Personally I think it'd be weird if only werewolves exist, but why not? You can't explain it scientifically (or in the way we understand evolution or interspecies reproduction), but if you look at it from the magic POV, maybe some other magical monsters have died or disappeared yet the werewolf prevailed because thing X (rewrite werewolf lore for this purpose). But you could center the story around them à la Mercy Thompson, then they wouldn't be just tagging along with the sexy sparkly vampires.

    I've been writing an urban fantasy story with my husband, and we probably have to explain at some point why there are no werewolves and vampires, but there are all kinds of other creatures... apart from the obvious reason that WE DON'T WANT TO WRITE ABOUT THEM.
     
  9. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want to go back to probably the first instances of Lycans, check out the ancient Greeks.

    A guy called Lycaon had 50 sons. Together they slaughtered one son, Nyctimus and fed him to Zeus as a test of his knowledge. Zeus copped on straight away and this is where the story takes a few twists.
    One account says Zeus turned them all into wolves.
    Another says he only turn Lycaon into a wolf
    While a third account said he killed them all with a bolt of lightning.
    They all agree that the slaughtered child Nyctimus was brought back to life

    It's also said Lycaon founded the city Lycosura and that he also founded the Lycaean Games which led on to become what we now know as the Olympics.

    You should try get your hands on a book by the Roman poet Ovid called Metamorphoses - it is full of Greek/Roman myths and what we now call the werewolf is pretty high up there.

    Really interesting stuff if you have the patience but with different accounts it also shows that writers of the time and better imaginations than today's writers...
     
  10. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    As usual, there's a lot of great information here. I concur, however, that there are some questions you need to answer before the real magic happens.

    My question is probably basically what some of the others have asked. What kind of werewolf are you wanting to go with? The kind that turns into a wolf or the kind that turns into the hulking bipedal monster? There is a third options, though, of going the World of Darkness route and having werewolves that have numerous forms, including both of the previous.

    There's also a very serious matter of whether you want magic, in any form, involved. Does the transformation occur because of magic? Or is it a natural, biological thing? The magic route has a crazy amount of options whereas the biological route has very limited options. If you go with magic, though, we end up with the main quandary here. Are there other beings that utilize magic? It doesn't seem normal to me that if magic existed there's only one critter that utilizes it (unless, of course, we go with KaTrian's idea, which could be really fun).

    I was going to recommend Fool Moon by Jim Butcher as some research for this but all four werewolf types presented in there rely, to one degree or another, on magic. There are also tons of other magicy things in the book (and series) so that may not be to your taste if you're wanting werewolves to have a monopoly on the supernatural element.

    I agree with a lot of people here. Vampire lore has been twisted and remolded in modern film and literature (thank you Ann Rice!) and there's no reason you can't do that with werewolves, too. You don't have to stick to mythology unless mythology plays a part in your story. Even then, you can make your own.
     
  11. TLK
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    TLK Active Member

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    Like Thornesque said, you have pretty much free reign over the idea. The idea of werewolves has already been changed and twisted by authors into what they wanted/thought them to be. For example, the werewolves in Twilight can shape-shift at will and the things they shift into aren't mutated or anything, they're "just" wolves and they have full control over themselves. However, the ones in Harry Potter are more "traditional": They can't shift at will, and will only do so upon exposure to the full moon and they have no control over themselves. As a final example, the ones in Department 19 are a half-way house. They have control over themselves, but aren't "normal" wolves.

    As for possible origins, you could say that werewolves are simply a different, albeit rarer, evolutionary path to us humans. Whilst most of our ancestors evolved into what we are today, some evolved into werewolves. To explain their rarity, you could include that stuff about the hunts in the 17th century. You could say there was a "war" of some kind. That the humans decided that werewolves were an abomination and so resolved to hunt them all to extinction, and almost did so.
     
  12. shlunka
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    shlunka Member

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    If you don't wish to include other types of mythical creatures, you could just make a story based solely on werewolves? Perhaps rival packs/tribes/societies of werewolves?
     

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