Monday, October 31, 2011

How I Created the World of "The Werewolf Whisperer"

Happy Halloween, everyone.
Some years back, I was invited to write a short story for a charity anthology.    The result was “The Werewolf Whisperer,” a light paranormal romance.  
Here’s a brief description:
Trapped in wolf form, caged in an animal shelter, Gray, his human identity fading, has only one hope to escape neutering or death -- "The Werewolf Whisperer." 
I’m going to discuss how I came up with the idea and how I moved from the idea to a workable paranormal world that fit my story needs.  
But, first, here’s a link to the story.  “The Werewolf Whisperer.”  
NOTE: Contents would probably be rated PG-13 with mild language and sexual content.  
My short story, “The Werewolf Whisperer” came from a discussion on worldbuilding on a list I belonged to.  We were discussing shapeshifters in the real world, not a magical world.  
One of the points made was that mass can’t be lost then regained in a closed system.  That means that a man may be able to change into a mouse, but that mouse would weigh what the man weighs, or it would be impossible for the man to change back.
Playing with that idea, I had the inspiration for a short story.  What if a werewolf were trapped in wolf form in an animal shelter, and the only way out was neutering or death?  The neutering would be permanent when he changed back to a human because of the loss of mass.  How will he get out of the shelter whole?
The worldbuilding was very simple at the point.  
I had to establish that being a werewolf was genetic, not magic.  To do that, I had the werewolf say he comes from a long line of werewolves who are genetic mutations. 
I created telepathic communication between the hero and human heroine so they could “talk.”
I had to have a reason why he’s trapped in wolf form in the shelter.  I decided that these days a werewolf would sometimes need a way to hold back from changing at the full moon because of human obligations like a job or a plane trip. I decided that a special mixture of herbs would be the antidote to changing.  
I decided that something went wrong with the herbal mixture and instead of stopping the change, it accelerated it and trapped him in wolf form.  The longer he stays a wolf, the more his humanity and memory fades.  
This also was another ticking clock they must race against to win his freedom.  The first was keeping him from being gassed as an unwanted pet.
I also had to have the werewolf’s memory of his human life hazy so he and his human rescuer wouldn’t have all the information they needed to rescue him immediately. 
Except for a few details here and there, I now had enough information to create my characters and write the story.