Monday, August 6, 2018

Rolling the Monster DIce

All Julie wants is to be a professional dancer, but, when danger strikes near her several times, her family moves overnight from Atlanta to the small island where her parents came from, and she finds herself in a weird Stepford Wives community of perfection and strange secrets.  What is going on, why is her whole family lying to her, why can she produce electrical energy from her hands in times of danger, and how can she return to dance? 

The author rolls the monster dice and uses the results—the characters are fae/fairies even though they are nothing like any fae ever written.


Ann is starting medical school, but she’s distracted by the ghost of her father who appears before her several times.  Meanwhile, she’s noticed two men following her.  

The author rolls the monster dice and uses the results—the characters are aliens from another planet.


Mary is developing weird powers.  She can make light bulbs explode when she’s angry, and she’s starting to read minds.

The author rolls the monster dice and uses the results— Mary is a born vampire.

These are recent examples of books I tried to read where the author seems to be setting up unusual paranormal creatures and situations, then, out of nowhere, calls them by a common monster name although nothing about them is like any of the folklore of that creature.  

Beyond the sheer annoyance at the out-of-nowhere identification of the characters and the total lack of knowledge at what these traditional creatures are, these books are wasted opportunities at offering something different to readers jaded by too many vampires, fae, and aliens among us.  

When you are worldbuilding, make up your mind whether you will follow, at least partially, the tradition of some creature or whether you will make your own creature, and stick with this decision instead of randomly redefining established creatures.  

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