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Werewolf writing tips by jmillart Werewolf writing tips by jmillart
Werewolf writing tips

1) Fold your characters into the world, not the world out of your characters.

What I mean by this is that you first create the background of the story’s world, THEN you add your characters and their goals to make a story. Of course you make your main character and the basic ideas, but you need something to place the rest of your cast onto. You can’t draw without paper first. For example: What is the world like at the time of your story? Medieval, modern, ancient, etc. What kind of place is it? Civil, brutal, regular life or eat or be eaten, etc. Give me government system and town information, Who is in charge and how do they rule/lead? What kind of environment is it? Cold winter, scorching sands, forest, etc. Forming your world first gives you a solid foundation to place your story on and build it up from there. Maybe you will devote a paragraph or two to the setting of your story.

In other words, write what you know or believe would be correct. DON’T GUESS! We’ll think you are five.

WARNING! What is obvious to you may not be to your readers. YOU MUST TELL THEM! Don’t think that all your readers are smart enough to figure it out themselves.

2) Dissect the various components of each character and character group you see for more then a moment.

Give me, name, background, personality, looks, past self, present self, how he/she is effected over the course of your story to become their future self. This is probably the hardest part for many writers to Show Not Tell. SNT is the most important thing for good story writing. If your describing something, don’t be afraid to go in depth. Lets say you have a character who has a scar, don’t say “he has a scar down his arm” say “he has a gnarly scar down his forearm from his fight with a grizzly bear a few years back” GIVE DETAILS TO “SHOW” us the bits of your character. You don’t need a separate story for each component or skin flaw, just describe it and go on. A good character description could be from a sentence to three paragraphs (or more but your starting to push it there). The story should be formed from the characters interaction with others and/or their world, just like it really is.

For were creatures, you have to be creative. To you are they bloody beasts, or are they gentle people living the old way? Can they transform at will, or only with the aid of the moon? Religion? Rituals? This information is key to each character and their world. What quirks does there wolfish nature give them? How do people react to them? Does the general populous know of them or not? Does the government even know? Do they have to hide in public or not? How many forms do they have? Is transformation painful? Sometimes the key to writing is answering as many questions as you can without sounding like a text book.

In creating a werewolf character try to remember that he/she is half wolf AND half human. Depending on your story you may play a part up more, but you should still consider the balance that some wolfish traces show through as a human and some human quirks show up as a wolf, even in the evil version of werewolves. Instinct is immediate, so a common flaw there is it is done without thinking. Thinking happens after instinct causes something to happen not before. It is not a little voice in your head, it is something that takes time and practice to repress or use as wanted. Such ideas probably shouldn't be said out right but hinted at to make the character seem more real.

In a human mixture, Strict Alpha, Beta, etc. systems may not be the best or most believable family structure. It’s your choice but I would highly suggest mixing in the human lifestyle with the wolf. Again to balance the wolf and man if your story permits.

3) Writing tips

Active voice is key to interest.
Do something. Words like get, and got need to be saved for character conversation ONLY. Using such dull colorless words masks the true action of a story. Even a boring morning routine can be an interesting read if active voice is used. Consider the difference here “He got off of the bus, went to school, and got to class” or “He leaped off of the late buss and sprinted to the school, barley arriving to class on time.” Again, ADD DETAILS TO SNT and to add interest! GET AND GOT SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM YOUR WRITING ALMOST COMPLETELY! Use the senses, ALL OF THEM! I’m not saying to taste each color but let us see what your characters see. To avoid overly describing every single step your character takes, you may wish to give broad hints to avoid information dumping. “He ran across the field” works fine. You don’t have to describe every rock or grass blade.

With extreme action, ease us out of it a little. Remember, adrenaline takes time to wear out completely, you may even want to recap the events in a way that is not merely summarizing or rewording.

4) Consider the audience.

Obviously you would write differently to your five year old niece than to your eighty year old grandmother. Are you writing for a clean audience or one that enjoys blood and guts? Such is the way you should write and make your werewolves. If your writing to Germans then Du müssen Deutsches sprechen! Consider your target audience before you put your hand to the pencil or keyboard.

Make the story move along with each sentence. DO NOT GO ON EPIC TANGENTS! I have stopped reading may stories when the story seems to stop and I swear elevator music plays in the background. If the history of your nation is important to the story, include it, if not then do nothing more then mention it.

AVOID CLICHES OR MAKE THE IDEA YOUR OWN
Avoid overused situations, or add a twist to it. Simply put, make your story one worth remembering, if you have it based on a cleshe make it not fit the “cookie cutter” disruption. Your werewolf story needs to have a twist on it that makes it your own. A few over used ideas are evil werewolf on full moon, werewolf military project, and even werewolf being captured and dissected. If you want to use one of these themes make it your own. Cleshes can be great, but be careful to use them sparsely and simply, or twist them into your own fantasy. NOTE! On twists, they don't all have to be large. As ~XenoFrobe here on Deviantart told me, "it doesn't have to be something dramatic and unexpected as 'Luke, I am your father.'" Some ideas aren't given much to any attention and you should look for those.

5) Story elements.

Rule of 1 or 3 (sometimes optional, but should be followed anyway.)
Characters are most easily and best offset by two others. These I would put as friends or contributing characters, or none at all. Consider Hatchet by Gary Paulsen where one hero faces one force, Nature. Consider also Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling. Three heros against one evil villan. You may argue here, and say “Well in the movie Sherlock Holmes There is Wadsen and Holmes,” but you forget the lady who offsets them into a threesome. Know what you are doing before breaking a rule of one or three, it creates a sense of discord, which is why broken rules usually apply to villains with an underling. Servants do not count or apply, and characters can have many friends outside of the Main Characters ring. With characters, larger amount means longer story almost always.


Know the anatomy of a basic story.
Intro - rising action - climax - falling action - resolution
Spend the most time in rising action. This is the bulk of the story, the next biggest section should be the introduction. Climax and resolution are usually shorter portions but have many key plot elements. With subplots you must know that they rise and resolve themselves throughout the story but they all come together at the climax. Consider Shakespeare’s King Lear, there is King Lear’s tragedy and Edgar’s fall and return for plot and sub plot. They both come together and are solved(ish) in the climax. The climax ends when all problems are finally solved.

Merphy’s Law
Find one of the worst things for your main character(s) to deal with and then make it happen to them. InstaPLOT! To add interesting twists to your story make plans go wrong at inconvenient times, have characters to something unexpected. Most of the greatest storys are based off of freak accidents or plans gone wrong. Maybe someone sees your character as a werewolf. What happens?

6) HOPE THIS HELPS!

Tips for improvement on this thanks to ~XenoFrobe

Free to use stock photo found here: [link]
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:icondagger-drop:
Dagger-Drop Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Student General Artist
I agree with almost all of your points. I have a slight  problem with the rule of 1 or 3. It may work very well in movies because you have less time to get the audience invested in each character but in literature I feel that a good writer can make most group sizes work. I agree that they can be more manageable in ones and threes but two or four can be good too. It really just depends on the writer's skill and ability of characterization
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner May 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Good input. Thank you for your comment.
Reply
:iconbendaimmortal:
BenDaImmortal Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013
Nice. :) I never came to think of that got/get thing. It's a really good writing tip. I shall keep an eye on it in my future stories.
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:icon47reaperz:
47Reaperz Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012   Traditional Artist
Dude thanks a million. i usually have problems of making a story
but this. this will help me alot. Thank You!
Reply
:iconserin-wraith:
Serin-Wraith Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012
This is very, very well written. So much so, that you've given me pause for thought, and I'm already a pretty descent writer. I'm going to put this straight in my favorites, so I can come back to this, frequently. Because it really is awesome advice for any writer.
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:iconunicornomics:
unicornomics Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012   General Artist
You know I once played a werewolf in a roleplay once,an emotionally suppressed,snarky,stoic,physically weak,possibly genius one.Yeah,I'm proud to say I broke a few stereotypes there...
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:iconumbreongirl444:
UmbreonGirl444 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for this it really helps ^^
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Anytime!
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:iconumbreongirl444:
UmbreonGirl444 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
^^
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:iconxgothicxalumiax:
xGOTHICxALUMIAx Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much for putting this up! This helped tonnes since I'm writing an Underworld-type story. Keep up the good work and I hope you go onto doing great things with your vast knowledge :D
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! I hope this helps you out!
Reply
:iconjaney-in-a-bottle:
janey-in-a-bottle Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
gotta have to read this thoroughly as soon as I get back to my own story. might turn out to be very handy. :)
thanks for sharing.
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Anytime! I hope it helps.
Reply
:iconfantasystock:
FantasyStock Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2010
:winner: Congratulations!! This deviation won the Werewolf Tutorial Contest! (Official Announcement) Thanks for participating in our contest!
Reply
:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
WOW! I won! Thanks a million!
Reply
:iconfantasystock:
FantasyStock Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2010
:heart:
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:iconunicornreality:
UnicornReality Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really good. :thumbsup:
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks!
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:iconamadandubh:
AmadanDubh Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2010  Student Writer
perfect and concise:). a fine piece of writing on writing...do i feel a chuckle at the irony coming on :lol:
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
THANKS!
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:iconwulfgangargyr:
WulfgangArgyr Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I agree with you on almost all points except your first point. Instead of creating characters to fit a world, I believe a writer should create his world to fit his characters. Of course, this assumes that a writer has already created his characters and has a general idea of the message he wants his story to send.

Creating characters to fit a predetermined world limits an author's creativity. Instead, an author should consider his characters and the challenges he wants his characters to face, and build the world around that.
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
More of what I mean is, make a caracter then make a world to put him in, then make all other characters plot ect. I understand what your sayin, I just need to reword that. thanks for the critique
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:iconzaluke:
Zaluke Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010
Very helpful thank you :hug:
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Anytime! Glad I could help!
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:iconzaluke:
Zaluke Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2010
Yeppers.
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:iconxenofrobe:
XenoFrobe Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I notice you mentioned the points from my journal. ;)

Cliches (not cleshes) are not necessarily a bad thing. Everything you can think of has already been done. What makes your story unique is the mix of different elements. What you need are interesting characters and a plausible order of events, and then you have a good story on your hands. Originality simply depends on what the popular thing is at the time. A good way to get a story started is to look at what everyone else is doing, and say,"How can I twist one of these common elements around?" For example, I was inspired to start 1187 after seeing tons of werewolf stories that were simply 'person goes out on a full moon, gets turned into a werewolf'. I decided, what if I turned that backwards and had a wolf turn human? It just kind of grew on its own from there (and it's still growing).

Basically, if you write it very well, you can get away with some pretty simple plotlines (I mostly read for character interactions anyway ;)). But if you want it to be good, throw in a slight twist every now and then. It doesn't have to be something as dramatic and unexpected as "Luke, I am your father," but a sudden change of pace will definitely grab the readers attention, just in case they were starting to get bored.

I could sum up the stuff I mentioned in my journal with, some things just aren't acknowledged. Things like instinct, pack structure, and the character's own brain function. They're definitely present, and the reader should pick up on them, but the narrator shouldn't outright mention it. It helps to make your characters more complex when the reader can spot things and piece stuff together to figure out how they think. It makes the character that much more real.

Gary Paulsen is not a good writer. :(
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, I noticed it. It actually helped inspire this.

Thanks for the comment, you bring up some excellent points, and I will definitely have to edit this farther.

I'll just agree to disagree with you about Gary Paulsen. You should try Woodsong and Winterdance if you want to see his good work.
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:icondogboy09:
dogboy09 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010
This is a GREAT help! =D Thanks for posting this!
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Anytime! I thought you would like this.
Reply
:icondogboy09:
dogboy09 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010
How thoughtful of you. :aww:
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Plus another contest entry ;)
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:icondogboy09:
dogboy09 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010
;P

By the way, did you see my journal entry? ;)
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:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Yup. Any good photos?
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:icondogboy09:
dogboy09 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010
:ohnoes:
Reply
:iconjmillart:
jmillart Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
You haven't posted any, (Yes I realize you said you got a few good ones :XD:)
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