26 Feb

Monsters, Part I: Finding the Right Monster

I set out this morning to write a post about monsters. I make up weird creatures all the time as part of my writing, and I thought it would be fun to turn some of them loose here on my blog. Then a friend pointed me to this post, where Lauren Fleshman, a professional runner, tells the story of how she published unflattering photos of herself to give context to her “fantasy” pictures from a NY Fashion Week runway show. Her story made me think about fear and courage. It also made me think about how the real monsters in our lives aren’t always easy to spot.

Creepy devil? Sure. But not necessarily the demon I’m after.

There can be any number of villains in a story, but most good stories have one real monster. This monster is the primary entity that keeps the hero from getting to her goal. For me, one of the hardest parts about writing a story is figuring out whether I’m focusing on the correct monster. I’ll start detailing a man’s terrible hobby of encasing live frogs in melted glass only to realize that I’ve blamed the wrong bad guy; my protagonist is actually fighting against the ghost of her father. Read More