1. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    Werewolves overdone?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Holo, Oct 20, 2011.

    I'm writing about a "werewolf" but have heard a lot of backlash lately that werewolves (along with vampires) are overused and aspiring authors in the fantasy genre should turn to different mythologies and bring something new and original to the forefront. The problem is, I can't think of any other fantasy creature that interests me so I'm sticking with my own "werewolves". However, I was thinking of portraying them as wolf spirits or a forest spirit. Rather than a physical, grotesque transformation, they will have limited magic and their transformations will be instantaneous. However, they would have dual personalities due to their "wolf sides". My story will not be about these creatures but my protagonist will be one and that will probably be the extent of it. I guess my question is whether something like this will work. I know people are tired of fantasy authors rehashing the same supernatural creatures again and again, but there is a reason these are popular right? Is it too late to spice up werewolves? What books have you read with original takes on werewolves that you've liked? And are there any other supernatural creatures that you think deserve the spotlight?

    (P.S. sorry this post was so long but I also kind of want some feedback on the wolf spirit idea)
     
  2. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Don't worry about what you use, it's how you use it. Watch movies with werewolves or read other works about them and evaluate them. if you pick up the common tropes and cliches and find them discouraging, don't give up and spice it up or go in a totally new direction. Ive learned this from plenty of others on this website, some go "Is it? It's your story." "Or it's not what you do, it's how you do it." and even "Cliches are cliches unless you do something new with them." These quotes have came from people on this very website and are truly right. You want to write about werewolves? Write about them! Your story won't work unless you think it does.
     
  3. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Do not worry about what is being overdone right now, all that matters is how well you write and how unique your personal take is. But with that said, this will be extra hard on you to be extra unique since they are being done a lot right now. You need a very good hook and spin.

    As far as the "wolf spirit" idea, that is used frequently in high fantasy as well. So the same thing applies, you need to be unique and well written.

    Anything can be done, don't let things like this deter you from your passion. Stick to your guns and do it well. Besides, by the time you finish this, they may not be overdone anymore.
     
  4. Silver. Fox
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    Silver. Fox Member

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    Hehe, my 'editor?' told me that my idea with angels and demons as well as my other idea with werewolves/dragons was cliche, I answered with "what isn't?"

    Are werewolves overdone? Hell yes
    Is being "overdone" a good enough reason to stray away from a topic or idea? Hell no.

    It's not what you're writing about it, it's how you go about writing it.
    Vampires have always been portrayed as bloodsucking heartless creatures, but Twilight threw them out there as something much different. I haven't read Twilight or even seen the movies (but I kinda...know what it's about), but I honestly believe one of the reasons the book was such a great success was because it was different, it was unusual, it was unique. Homegirl didn't write about vampires, she wrote about her vampires.

    Anyone can take y(2) - y(1) / x(2) - x(1) and come up with the slope of a given line, but there are MANY other ways to do it and do it right.
    TL;DR: It's not what you write about, it's how you go about writing it (as it has been stated) oh...and I love math.

    As for your wolf spirit idea, it sounds cool enough, but I recall hearing about something similar to it...though I don't remember where...
    If you're gonna do it, do it with confidence!
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    How clever of you, but 'cliché' isn't just about overuse. A definition for it I read once was, "overused; boring; tired". Werewolves and vampires and dragons and all that fantasy crap are cliché not because they're overused, but because they're boring ideas now. It's not an original thought because for most of the Western world, we're constantly seeing things to do with werewolves and vampires. Not so much dragons nowadays, though it was only last year that we got How to Train Your Dragon (adaption of the 2003 children's story).

    It really bothers me, always hearing this "it's HOW you write it" sentiment. It's not how you write it. What you're writing is important too. Even if you're "being original" with the idea, you're still jumping on a bandwagon. And, oh, here comes the rebuttal: "But Mr. cruciFICTION, the bandwagon already exists, no matter WHAT my idea is! Everything has already been thought about before I came to it!"
    Yes, that's a fine rebuttal to have, but my point is how you think of it. If you're coming up with werewolf ideas in a time when werewolves are popular, that's wish fulfilment. That's you thinking, "I like these werewolf stories, but I'd like them better like this."
    If you're coming up with something because you were genuinely thinking about it, and you can't really put your finger on the cause for the thought, awesome. That's a hell of a lot better. That's an original thought because it was YOUR thought. It wasn't a thought that was handed to you on a plate.

    So there. That's my opinion on clichés. The end. /rant
     
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  6. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    I see what you mean. That's what has been bothering me is that people just assume that because you write about vampires or werewolves you are unoriginal. The thing is, I've liked werewolves since before Twilight and this whole vampire/werewolf craze started and now it seems like I can't use it because people want to see something completely new, not something that has been done before but is using a different take. So my question is this, what is left for us to use. I like Japanese folklore, but my main characters is black and the setting is in an alternate U.S. so explaining something like the kitsune or nekomata in America will be awkward and forced. Generally I see a lot of vampires, werewolves, witches, and faeries which are all European in origin for the most part. Are there any fantasy creatures that are humanoid or at least have the ability to look human that are pretty unique and have not been used a lot? I don't want to use dragons or zombies or centaurs or mermaids honestly so I'm having trouble coming up with something. It's also hard because this werewolf story has been nagging at me for quite some time now and I will literally spend hours trying to research other supernatural creatures then give up and go back to werewolves. It's preventing me from moving on with my story and is blocking plot and character
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You can still write original, non-cliche stories about vampires and werewolves.
     
  8. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Agree.
     
  9. Silver. Fox
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    Silver. Fox Member

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    I'll be honest, I had huge well-thought out response to this just now...and somehow it all just vanished. You'll have to excuse my quick unexplained replies, I'm on a timer...

    Yay for clever points! +1 :love:
    While I agree with you, that WHAT you're writing about is important as well, but I feel that it's implied. I don't think anyone can stand in front of the class and say something like "YEAH MANG! I'M WRITING TWILIGHT IN DIFFERENT WORDS!" Of course, one of the most important factors, perhaps more important than HOW you write it, is WHAT you're writing about. I'm feeling that it's just so obvious of a fact that people skip over it and say the next best thing, "How you write it." If that makes any sense (God, my previous response looked and sounded so much better...)
    Next point, I absolutely agree, so much that it shouldn't even be mentioned...except for a little bit. You're absolutely correct, genuine thoughts and ideas of your own are awesome. It definitely beats out "Oh yeah well...they were popular at the time...I just want people to know how I think about them." I wonder though, how many writers have you come across who've actually written because something was popular/unpopular at the time? How many writers have you come across who thought very little of their own and just picked their idea off of a giant plate?

    Man...deleting your own stuff sucks and the Auto-Save button hates me...I think.

    @Holo
    People will ALWAYS have something to say/assume about what you do, and there's always SOMEONE who can swear on their grandmother's grave that they saw your exact thing "some time, at some place, during that one day, you know which one I'm talking about?" and say you're unoriginal for it.

    Screw what people say and think.
    As Mr. Crucifiction said so kindly, "it's not how you write it. What you're writing is important too."
    If you've given it legit thought and if you put in enough effort, it'll show.

    Again, everything has been used for the most part, in addition to what you're using, it's how you use it too.
    As Steerpike said, "You can still write original, non-cliche stories about vampires and werewolves."

    NOW GO DO WORK SON!
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Despite the rant by Crucifiction above, I think the reason you hear "it's how you write it" said so much is that ultimately it is true. What you are writing can be important, but it won't matter at all unless you first address how you are going to write it. And if you write something extremely well, it won't much matter that what you've written has been done a lot.
     
  11. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    No one is trying to re-write Twilight. They are re-writing vampires. Twilight is a re-write on vampires. So using that as an example doesn't work. And as bad as Twilight is (in my opinion) it is still a unique take on vampires.
     
  12. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's not what I'm saying. I'm talking about the cause for the original thought being obvious or not. If I think about a vampire or werewolf idea at the moment, it could be for a host of reasons. All of them are films or novels I've read recently. I recently read the entire Sookie Stackhouse series. I watch True Blood. I loved An American Werewolf in London. I saw Fright Night relatively recently.
    I can identify the exact cause of the thought, and it's not an inspired conversation, it's not some random segue from my subconscious. The cause was right in front of me in already prevalent media.
    It wasn't my thought. You know the whole, "Don't think about elephants. What are you thinking about?" thing? It's like that, but instead, you watch a movie with werewolves, and it says, "Think about werewolves. Now what are you thinking about?" Of course you're going to think about werewolves.

    Again, I'm not saying these people are doing it BECAUSE IT'S POPULAR. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that they're doing it in a time when it's popular because they see a lot of it. Because there's a lot of it available to their conscious mind.

    The same thing goes for all kinds of supernaturals, really. There aren't a lot of kitsunes and such in the media at the moment, but they're just supernaturals like werewolves. It's still not as much of an original thought.

    I'd agree with you except for one crucial piece of evidence to support my side: the idea comes before the written bit. If you could write something first and think about what the idea is later, sure, you'd be right. But that's not how it works.

    You get the idea BEFORE you write it. That's the natural progression of a story idea. If you get an idea that's only a character, you have to figure out your setting. Any and all development that goes on is where WHAT you're writing is important, then you think about HOW you're going to write it, and then you write it.
    Sure, HOW you write it is the most important part because it directly relates to the actual writing. But that won't mean anything if you haven't actually thought about what you want to do.

    Please help me popularise Twilight by William Gay so I don't have to think about SMeyer any more. The literacy is actually worse, there's no quotation marks for dialogue. Most sentences that might be dialogue require several readings to figure out. But, goddamnit, I don't want to think about SMeyer any more.
     
  13. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Don't forget the massive plot holes and cheap, cheesy dialogue that Twilight has.
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Guys, can we not turn this into yet another interminable and ultimately silly bash Twilight thread? That got old around a year ago, and the work isn't that bad to begin with.

    I think this is all true, and that it is important for the reader to think about these things before writing. I am coming at it more from the marketing aspect of the work, approaching the idea of whether it is possible to sell vampire/werewolf books in a market that already has a lot of them. So when I say it all comes down to how you write it, I am looking at it from that perspective only. If you do an outstanding job with a work that incorporates heavily-used elements already in the marketplace, you can still be successful with it.
     
  15. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I wasn't trying to bash Twilight, it just isn't my cup of tea to read about vampires sparkling. But it is written just fine and is undoubtedly unique. My whole point was to Silver, Fox in telling him no one is trying to re-write Twilight, just vampires in general.
     
  16. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I could marry you. Really, I could.

    Meyer didn't invent commercial or genre fiction; people need to stop using her as a scape-goat just so they can bash popular themes in fiction. People like vampires. She hit a target market, re-approached the traditional love story, and -even if it kinda sucks- re-told the traditional vampire. Personally I don't see this as a bad thing for writers. Too many people hate Meyer's stuff (not saying they're in this thread, but generally) just because it's cool to, and because it gives them someone to blame when their novels don't get published.

    Harsh but true. Some people can't accept that millions of people would rather read about sparkly Edward Cullen than the novel they worked on for 3 years. *shrug*
     
  17. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Getting published is mostly luck, kinda like the music industry. Theres too many good stories that got got rejected too many times.
     
  18. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Well, you are in luck. I am single :p
     
  19. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Le sigh... I have fallen victim to a double post yet once again.
     
  20. Holo
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    I think it's true that people tend to write about what they read. They will read a book or watch a movie, get "inspired" and basically take aspects they like and dislike and make them their own. While this is not necessarily bad, I really want to branch out. Regardless of whether a supernatural creature is completely unique or not, I can't deny that some are more popular than others currently. Right now, it is vampires, werewolves, witches, faeries, and dragons. A friend of mine suggested I use a different mythology where I have real facts and information I can pull from, but still have enough wiggle room to make it my own.

    What supernatural creatures do you think are underutilized and deserve some spotlight? I need to brainstorm since changing my main character from a werewolf/wolf spirit to something else will basically change my entire story.
     
  21. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would go sci-fi, but not some prat with a cornish pasty on his head- subtle sci-fi.
     
  22. Chinspinner
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    haha camp.
     
  23. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I think you should stick to your werewolf idea and make it your own and unique, think outside of the box. And like I said by the time you have this finished they may not even be popular anymore. Besides that, If I was in your shoes, I would stick with my passion and go for it. Don't let something like this deter you from what you want to do.

    But if you really want to change your idea, than that is fine, I am just saying do what you REALLY want to do. Who cares what anyone else thinks, you are writing this for you, not them.
     
  24. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    So in conclusion, zombie aliens.
     
  25. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Yeah, don't let other people tell you otherwise. If you want to write about werewolves, do it. No one here is stopping you. Don't let others opinions hinder your idea. Just write about it. You'll be more proud of yourself in the long run.
     

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