Something is eating away at Milo. Perhaps it’s the stress from dealing with his oppressive older brother. Maybe it’s his low blood sugar. It could be his remorse over the twenty three dead women buried in his backyard. Or possibly it’s the beast inside of him, trying to fight its way to the surface, with or without the help of the full moon.
Something is devouring Milo, and this time it isn’t just his guilty conscience.
Today's guest entry comes from the talented Denise Lhamon.
Werewolves and Writing
by Denise Lhamon
You know what's fun? Finding an iPhone note that you wrote over a year ago and that might actually turn out to be a story. A werewolf story. Which is cool because it coincides with this blog entry.
Back in high school I had an interesting relationship with the creative writing teacher. I didn't like her, she didn't like me, so we got along fabulously. She was one of those people that finds the deepest of meanings in the word 'pink' and lauded the girls' shopping short stories as great works of literature. All these things to the mind of an angry fifteen or sixteen year old, were justification enough for me to hate her and my classmates for writing such stupid stories. I know better now, but back then I was a jackass. The teacher always told us 'write what you know' which made me lash out with a story written based in Rob Zombie's HOUSE OF A THOUSAND CORPSES (imagine how that was received by my Mormon classmates). Anger serves me well creatively. Fast forward about five or so years and I'm in the Navy, out in the middle of the ocean, tired and angry because my boss just got done chewing me out for something he really shouldn't have opened his mouth about. I pull out a pen and notebook and proceed to write a werewolf story where everyone dies at the end.
Great story. Pissed off that I lost the notebook.
I didn't know it back then but that story would (over the years) mutate itself into THE NIGHTLY-EDITION and apparently the bits of story that I have saved on my iPhone.
Everyone tells you 'write what you know' and that's all well and good, if you have enough talent I'm sure you can make a great story out of mitosis, but what some people choose to ignore-and what very few authors will tell you right out-is the rest of the sentence.
'Write what you know, research what you don't. '
Because if you don't research, you're gonna get yourself eaten alive. These days you're fighting against established paradigms in every universe ever conceived. Werewolves especially. For THE NIGHTLY-EDITION I had to decide which werewolf lore I wanted to use and what I didn't, because even though the book is steampunk/weird science in nature, the justification for my werewolves had to come from somewhere or else, who would believe me?
Google is a wonderful invention. When you don't have immediate access to a library, google is great. Wikipedia, too. You can't use it on research papers, but nothing's stopping you from following the source links. There are thousands upon millions of werewolf lore out there, from D&D to the red haired child born on a full moon.
Haiti has 'red eyes' creatures that resemble wolves but are more demonic in nature. Skinwalkers are part of Native American lore. La Bet de Gevaudan (the beast of Gevaudan) may or may not be a serial killer dressed in wolf skin, and in Russia all you need to do is say the afflicted's real name to cure him/her of their werewolf problem.
Werewolves can be spotted by cutting the skin to reveal hair underneath, strange actions during the full moon, a belt made of wolf pelts, or chanting of certain spells under certain conditions.
In some cases, lycanthropy can be hereditary.
Wolfsbane, wood (mountain) ash, silver, and iron all cause a severe reaction in those affected.
Everyone knows werewolves turn on the full moon, but depending on who you want to believe, lycanthropes can change at any time during the month, or have a handler that instigates the change for them.
Some retain their humanity, others lose their minds during the change.
Of course, there is no one set rule for werewolves. They come from all cultures and all corners of the world, naturally, they're going to be different.
I look at stories as clever lies. to tell a good lie, there has to be a kernel of truth in their that holds the whole thing together. So remember kids, research what you don't know, and lie about what you do!
Denise Lhamon, writing under the name R.J. Keith, has found a home in the Old World whilst mucking about with the history of the New. Why anyone said history is set in stone she will never know and is out to see how much damage she can do with people, places, and things that aren’t necessarily there, have been, or will ever be. Her first work: LEFT FOR DEAD, a Western-steampunk-zombie novel, will be available Halloween 2013. She is currently maintaining her sanity in tornado ridden Oklahoma, with her family, dog, and assortment of birds that come for the free food.
You can find her on her facebook, loitering on twitter, or updating her blog, which she knows should have a schedule but can't seem to find the time to make one. There is also an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) but she would suggest labeling your email with capital letters. So it looks important. She has delete happy fingers.
R.J. Keith. Author, artist, freelancer, podcast host. Some assembly required. Accessories not included.