Quake in fear my readers! Quake! For the storm approaches and soon, oh so very soon, my creation will walk amongst the world. And it will bring fear, and sorrow!
How’d I do it you ask? Fool! You think I would stop here and simply tell you the secrets of evil? The recipe for monsters?
Do you really think I have that big of an ego?
Because I totally do. So let’s get started!
#1: Pick a Fear
Ideally, monsters are scary. And while big claws and sharp teeth do cause some emotional response, it’s shallow, and often not enough. Instead, to build a proper monster, you need to start with a fear. A specific fear. It can be anything really, but the more personal it is to you, the more you can bring it out.
Here are some basic suggestions to get you started:
Chosen one? Something deep, dark, and personal? Are your insides squirming with the thought of it? Are you desperately trying to think of anything else but the implications of that fear? Good. Now it’s time to give it action.
#2: Make it Hunt
Did you know vampires, among other things, represent sexually transmitted diseases?
So, how do they hunt? Vampires charm you. In most stories they are suave, seductive creatures, and lure you to a bite. And then you’re either changed forever, or just flat dead. A bit extreme, but the point stands: The way your monster kills, hunts, or tortures should reflect the fear they represent.
Zombies isolate you into a house, trapping you in claustrophobia. Werewolves hunt you, like an animal. The boogeyman gets you when you’re asleep.
Your monster is a physical embodiment of a fear. So it should also cause that same fear in a person. By whatever sadistic means necessary.
#3: Give it Skin
This step might not even be necessary. If you did the last two to the best of your abilities, the creature might just jump into your head fully-formed.
But for those who don’t now have a monster stalking through their brainpan, here’s a final tip to create your creature.
And that is, you need to decide how real you want it to look. It’s a sliding scale. On one end you have your zombies and vampires. They look almost human, but not quite. And the horror comes from the subtle off-ness of the whole thing.
Then if you progress even further, you get the beasts. Often based on some animal (or animals) these usually rely on the sheer frightening nature of something unreasonable. Whatever part of the human mind that remembers being prey latches on to images likes that.
And finally, if you want to be a bit out-there, you can go with exotic shapes. Sometimes this is simple, like a monster made of smoke, or slime. And sometimes it’s absolutely insane. A twisted form of anything, and everything you wanted to throw into it. Fangs, tentacles, thirty eyes, whatever.
A good monster is timeless. So respect it enough to give it a unique and personal look that resonates with you. Because then it will resonate with your audience.
Muahahahaha! It rises! God help them all, it rises! My beautiful monster. My dreams and nightmares made flesh! Go unto them! Make them fear for themselves, for their children, and for their sanity. For now I finally get my wish.
I finally get to hear them scream.
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