1. Miku
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    Miku Member

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    Spicing up the Urban Fantasy cliches

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Miku, Mar 7, 2013.

    This came about while I was asking a question on yahoo answers (a bad idea, don't recommend it, too many trolls) and came across a lot of replies that I found disheartening. You see, I've been set on writing a werewolf story for some time. And while I see characters in mind, I struggle with plot and setting. So I was asking about a good setting for werewolves and a user basically jumped the gun, said my story was cliche, and that I was writing yet another UF story (even though I did not mention anything other than that the protag was a werewolf but oh well). But this brought up something interesting. A lot of people roll their eyes when they hear vampire, witch, werewolf, fae, or zombie. I was wondering why that is and what could be done with the setting/plot/characters that would make an interesting paradox to these otherwise overused supernatural creatures.
    So what do you guys think? What do you think would be a great element (plot,setting, or character wise) that would make a vampire, werewolf, witch, faerie, zombie, etc. interesting? (Specifically werewolves since that's what I'm writing). I mean, how do you take something that has been done and done before and make it more interesting?
     
  2. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    Write it in your own way which should make it unique in its own way, and any idea if written well would be an interesting read, if you feel strong about your idea dont wait for others to pat you on the back and tell you good idea you should do this, but if your not so sure than i suggest leave it for later and do something you feel more passionate about.
     
  3. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    As you say, they're overused - which is enough to explain the reaction they get.

    If *I* were to be forced to write a contemporary urban werewolf story (I wouldn't pick to; the only werewolf story I worked on was set in medieval France), what would my approach be?

    The first idea that sprang to mind is one involving science, scientists and the creation of werewolves. There are initially no werewolves. Research scientists create them; they get free somehow and reproduce.

    Within that basic concept, there are lots of questions and possibilities
    - Why were they created? Was the research on 'improving' soldiers, hybridism, medical research (maybe the wolf/human hybrid was meant to be a source of donor organs).
    - How is it passed on? Do they reproduce sexually? Only together, or with humans? Is it some kind of virus that can be passed on via bodily fluids? Or is it activated using a drug or gene therapy.
    - How is the change activated? (Stress? Certain foods/chemicals/drugs? Why would moonlight have an effect, or be seen to have an effect?) How long does it take (minutes or months?) How long does it last? How much control might they have over it?
    - How do the creators (and there employers) react to the creatures getting loose? Responsibility or Deniability?
    - How well do the creatures understand what is happening to them? Were they test subjects, or born in a lab?
    - Are they 'human'? (Morally? Legally?)
    - Do they have special vulnerabilities? Can you come up with a (pseudo?)scientific reason for silver affecting them.

    Hope that's some food for thought anyway (though it may not be 'fantasy' enough for you)
     
  4. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    The setting iolair suggests is actually the exact setting of a tv series featuring a werewolf as the main character. It's title eludes me right now though.

    My opinion is that a werewolf is traditionally more of a fantasy than a sci-fi creature. Trying to explain why the genes mutated which way and why silver affects them and why they turn on the new moon with science is only going to alienate the hardcore werewolf fans (who i guess are your main target group). Since the theme has been so overdone that you can say it is mostly saturated as far as new ideas go, only thing you can do to make a difference is do it better than the others. Don't overthink it and worry needlessly about whether it is original or not, it isn't. Just make it good enough that it does the theme justice.
     
  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    so you have a character in mind; a werewolf, but no plot or setting...

    Well for starters you know that werewolves are human and only morph a handful of times a year so maybe start off with a real life situation but one or more of characters has a habit of doing what all werewolves do now and again... Maybe an unsuspecting girl marries a guy who goes missing once a month and comes back full of cuts and she decides to follow him one night after reading in the paper about these other young girls who look just like her go missing...
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I know one way to change it up, go for a different animal, and maybe even different issues when the change happens. :)

    Werewolf Fiction on Wiki has a veeerrrrryyyy long list of the many times the story's been done. But you never know, even with such a well known character, someone still comes along now and then with a fresh version, like Twilight, for example.
     
  7. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    And by fresh you mean stale and ridiculous?
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    I just had a funny thought, don't care if anyone uses it. How about someone who changes into a prey animal and has to escape being hunted every time it happens? There are a lot of options for how protecting him/herself ahead of the change keeps failing for one reason or another.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    It doesn't matter if you liked Twilight or not, the story still had a new twist on an old theme.
     
  10. Xatron
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    Sounds interesting. Maybe his prey animal form has something valuable that is the reason he is being hunted as such.
     
  11. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    how about a werewoman who has to feed her hungry brood of werebabies?
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Prey has something valuable.

    It's called meat. :)
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    And like in "The Brood", the little werebabies do their own killing. :D I like it.
     
  14. Iamfenian
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    Iamfenian New Member

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    I am in the middle os some memoir writing when all of a sudden I got this wonderul (well I think so:D) story involving a fae community with a great plot (well I think so:D)....I know the genre is saturated but I don't give a hoot...I am going to do my research (fun) and have a good time writing it after all the sad, sick suppositions of my memories!
     
  15. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Two words: Cruise ship.

    Have something happen to prevent making port. (Plague, war, etc..) Now a group of people need to live on the ship, and half of the passengers are werewolves, vampires, zombies, etc...

    I had this idea once.

    ~ J. J.
     
  16. DeathandGrim
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    Well its because we know everything about them already, they've all been done to death and we know their weaknesses, we know where they sleep, we know what they do, we know they sparkle (HA!) and that's where it really declines. It been done so many times before that the impact really isn't as good as it used to be.

    When there's a race that we haven't heard about before it's much easier to get into but I suspect the user who cut your head off basically called into question your creativity since you're using ideas that are centuries old. Sure you can come up with new scenarios but it becomes almost predictable because people who have knowledge of those races can sort of predict what would happen next, spoiling the plot somewhat, and it kills imagination for the reader if they know "vampires hate sunlight" or "kill wolves with silver" because they've read it before.

    Basically I'm saying that you got a couple choices: make a vampire, wolf, etc story but reinvent them somehow OR create your own race and define them so that the reader won't always know what's around the corner.
     
  17. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    This should win an award.
     
  18. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Okay, two words: Zombie mermaids...
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    * :D *
     
  20. BitPoet
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    Miku, don't let others who are lacking imagination, like those trolls on yahoo, discourage you. It doesn't matter how often a basic idea has been done if you do it originally. Think pocahontas, it's been used to death you might think, but Avatar was still a blockbuster.

    Though, if you aim to be original, aim high. Something about your story should be totally new. This can be the setting - have werewolves run the Hilton hotel chain, or a scuba diving school, and the readers will think more about "how the hell can this work" instead of "yeah, yeah, I know all about those nocturnals". Or it can be the story's premise - like "weres are the true defenders of mankind's freedom" (a secret society? plots to dispose of and promote possible political leaders? fighting against criminal organizations?). If you feel like it, toy with the readers' expectations - "'Silver?' He chuckled. 'Next you're going to sprinkle me with holy water!' The chuckles turned into bellowing laughter.", just make sure it doesn't completely disrupt the picture you painted of them and don't use it as a deus ex. Don't limit your creativity, go overboard, and just when you think your ideas are so over-the-top it's crazy, use them and make it work.
     
  21. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    agree totally with BitPoet - there's been a million lycan stories so what? There are 10 billion human stories, should we stop writing anything that involves humans and start creating new species just for the sake of it? Of course not.

    Be creative, let them run a hotel where they mince up their victims and feed them to guests or give them a cruise ship where they turn all the holiday makers.

    Your only limit is the limit of your imagination - not sure who said that but it's true.
     

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