Sunday, December 30, 2007

Monsters (and alien romance)

Good morning, alien romancers!

I'm wrestling with a monster list of revisions to be done this month on KNIGHT'S FORK which is the next love story in the god-Princes of Tigron series (informally dubbed by some, The "Mating" books).

Of Men and Monsters

One editorial request I did not receive was to make my villain more monstrous. In fact, I am to give him more scenes (because he is urbane, witty, funny) but simplify why he wants the heroine dead.

Writing monsters of the villainous kind is tricky. It has to be done, I suppose. Even though few bad guys see themselves as the villains in their own life stories, many wiser persons than I would tell you that the hero seems more heroic if the villain is evil.

Personally, I like shades of grey, and I enjoy an ambiguous, dark relationship with an attractive villain. I must be twisted. Am I the only one who saw the first Darth Vader breathing heavily and striding through the ruins of a rebel stronghold, and wondered what he'd be like in bed?

Of course, that was before I knew that everything below his waist had been chopped off. I suppose it is not a spoiler to say that.

I think I've mentioned in a previous post that my personal taste is for the generic Bond movie villain. That is, someone very powerful in the worldly sense, well groomed, well educated, fiendishly clever, exquisitely polite.

Sigh. They can't always be "exquisitely polite". In fact, a bit of bad language adds a certain "shock and awe" especially when it's obvious that the villain has deliberately chosen to offend both the reader and the hero.

Here be Dragons and other Monsters

Dragons, dinosaurs, trifids, architeuthis (which you can find by googling phonetically for "archetoothus", I've just discovered), The Kraken, Alien, the Blob and others are monsters because they are big and scary, and it's their nature to eat a conveniently slow moving food source (us).

Since I am a contrarian, I once amused myself by writing the story of Polyphemus's encounter with Ulysses (The Odyssey) from the Cyclops' point of view. Mostly, stories aren't told with excursions into the minds of Monsters.

For those interested, here are a few resources being discussed elsewhere on the net:

The new Paraphernalia feature, “If There Be Dragons” is now online featuring dragon themed romance.

Marilynn Byerly will be teaching a course on worldbuilding for paranormal romance in
February for the RWA Outreach chapter. Topics include building a better monster and how to give your own a unique touch.

Charlee Boyett-Compo has a huge list of monsters at

Look under Creatures, Spirits, and Monsters. There is also an occult
dictionary, supernatural glossary, ghosts, dragons, and fairies.

Happy New Year!

Rowena Cherry

Chess-inspired ("mating") titles. Gods from outer space. Sexy SFR. Poking fun, (pun intended). Shameless word-play.

Award-Winning Finalist in the Fiction and Literature: Romance category of the National Best Books 2007 Awards

Winner of the Spring N.O.R. Awards, Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Romance:
Second Place winner, Fall N.O.R. Awards

CAPA Award nominee
LASR Award nominee


  1. I love a sizzling hot villain. I think they must be very difficult to do because there are so few of them, especially in Romance.

    As for Darth Vader, are you serioues? I mean, legs we don't need. But, everything else was fried, yanno.

  2. Stories that get into the mind of the monster are my favorite subgenre. That's why I love sympathetic vampire fiction (or maybe it's the other way around; maybe my attraction to vampires led me to want to explore the inner lives of other kinds of monsters). I, too, felt a thrill the first moment I saw Darth Vader. That was the moment when the movie grabbed me -- not before.