Sunday, March 23, 2014

Would you say I have a plethora of Monsters? #Vampires #Weres #ASMSG

I originally posted this in MODERN GOOD READS, but I thought I should revive the subject, because I am planning a novel series that will involve a number of different supernatural entities.

The Monster Squad includes everything but the kitchen sink
There's a line in "Three Amigos" where the infamous bandito El Guapo says to his flunkie, after a string of pinatas is revealed for his birthday party, "Would you say I have a plethora of pinatas?"

I laugh at it every time. 

In the world of Urban Fantasy, we seem to have tons of books filled with every monster imaginable: witches, warlocks, wizards, vamps, weres, fairies, and all the dark fantasy creatures you can shake a stick at. 

Vampires, weres, and witches - oh my!

Do readers really want a book filled with every monster conceivable? Is it too much? Overkill?

Would you say I have a plethora of monsters? 

Speak up readers, would you prefer one or two types of supernatural creatures, or do you want the whole gamut with supporting cast? 

My first comment was:

I have read a gazillion different explanations for how different races of creatures/monsters came to be. Everything from evolution to aliens to versions of creation and all things in-between.

The explanations are fascinating when done properly.

But I do question the need to bring in a large cast of monsters right out the gate in a novel. I think it might be more readily accepted if it took several novels to build that world a piece at a time.

Charlaine Harris is a good example of that. She built her world over the course of many novels. It took easily 4-5 books before we had a clear view of all the supernaturals slipping between the cracks of normal society. 

Later in the conversation, this was my thoughts:

Style has a lot to do with it. And subtlety. Even the legendary Jim Butcher has 4-5 info dumps in order to acclimatize the reader to his intricate world with all these various supernatural people/things/magics going on.

I suspect Jim's editors probably slim his material down to the point that some subtlety is lost. Takes time to work in world building step by step. If editors don't want to give you that time in exchange for maintaining pacing, then you end up with an infodump scene to bring the readers up to speed.

The author who I respect most for bringing me into his worlds full of infinitely weird and horrific creatures/events is Dean Koontz. The man is a master at subtle world building. You never even feel it. Virtually no infodumps whatsoever. All of a sudden you find yourself deeply immersed in his strange macabre world, no clue how he brought you there. 

So, readers, writers, Urban Fantasy enthusiasts, speak up. What is your opinion on the monster menagerie?

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