Vampire, werewolf or shape shifter?

Most of the writing that I’ve been doing in the past few weeks has been for my blogs. Working full time doesn’t leave a lot of energy to do much when I get home, and I’ve barely been able to keep up with one post a week per blog. When I don’t have the creative energy to make stabs at my stories though, I usually default to reading. And there was an article in this month’s Writer that was… interesting.

I have this pet peeve. I write shape shifter stories; those alpha characters that have an animal form in addition to their human one. It’s a lesser-recognized fantasy subgenre than vampires, so I like it all the more. With vampires, there are some cardinal rules you can’t break without falling into the Twilight trail, but when writing shape shifters you have more options. Except when you’re working with werewolves.

In my book, there are two kinds of shifters: true and fake. Fake shifters are werewolves. They’re fake in the sense that they’re tied to an outside force without any real control over their shifting abilities, and are often portrayed as monsters for the heroine to tame. A true shifter embraces her/his animal side, can shift at will, and actually can be more animal than human, depending on a number of factors. Within the true shifter realm, being a shifter is genetic and pretty much touches every family member. The time shifter abilities emerge differ with individual, all the way from being born as the animal to the typical emergence-at-puberty. In this regard, I have Sherrilyn Kenyon to thank. Her shifters in the Dark-Hunter series are true shifters, and her writing has greatly influenced me and how I write.

One of the things I’ve been experimenting with is how organizations would want to control shifters for their own gains. After all, how powerful is a warrior that can shift into an animal at will? What would the battle between being a born shifter and a shifter constructed for human gain look like?

Werewolf: cannot control the shift during the full moon

Is blood-crazed during that time of the month

Takes a silver bullet to kill

Was bitten by another to become a werewolf

According to folklore, shifting is limited to wolf

Shape shifters: can shift at any time after coming into those abilities

Is not necessarily blood-crazed

Was born with these abilities

Can shift into any animal


Please note: New articles are up under the Non-Fantasy tab above; check them out!


10 thoughts on “Vampire, werewolf or shape shifter?

  1. I enjoyed the post on the difference between werewolves and shape-shifters. Although I like stories about them both, I tend to prefer shapeshifters.

    Thanks for finding and subscribing to my blog 🙂

  2. If I was ever going to write a story about werewolves (and I doubt I would), I’d change some of the ordinary conventions (change dependent on full moon, can be killed with a silver bullet) to make them more unique. That way it wouldn’t seem so similar to the millions of werewolf stories already out there.

    • Maggie, if you were to change those characteristics of a werewolf, would you change them for everyone, or just one or two? And if for everyone, could you still call them werewolves if they no longer has to deal with those parameters? (I’m thinking Twilight–vampires that sparkle to walk in the sun are not vampires in my book, lol.)

  3. Sharon, your comment made my day! I’m just getting started with writing manuscripts of book-size, and don’t have anything published yet. But I’ve been toying with the idea of putting excerpts up here on Invisible Ink. Thank you for your interest; that means the world to me! 🙂

  4. In my first novel, I have a sub-plot involving a multiplayer on-line role-playing game. My protag’s avatar in the game is a shape-shifting magic-wielding goddess who morphs into a warrior-dog.

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