Saturday, July 2, 2011

Heather Hildenbrand - Guest Blog

I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up.

Author Guest Post

In April, I launched my new paranormal romance: Dirty Blood. Meet Tara, 17 year old werewolf hunter, who first learns what she is in a dark alley behind her favorite pool hall, when she kills her first werewolf. She's got an uptight, slightly OCD mother, a boyfriend who can't get enough of himself, two best friends she's known forever, and a strange tendency for goose bumps.

I write about werewolves because I love the 'normal' you can weave into the supernatural with them. I mean, wolves themselves are a real enough species. And what paranormal lover doesn't see a picture of a wolf and think "wouldn't that be cool if there was a human in there?" I love a story that's so tightly woven that the normal, the real, is grounded enough to make me want to believe the made up.

So let's talk about the rules of pretend. In paranormal, you've got to have rules, or nothing is believable. Yes, I said believable. Even though you know werewolves are pretend (sorry if I just ruined it for anyone), you still have to create the rules of your world and then - and this is most important - you have to follow them!! If you break one of your own rules, in this case, it's not a good thing. It's not 'thinking outside the box' or whatever else you want to call a rule-breaker. It's just bad. It makes the whole story bad. So, rules. There are lots to choose from.

In some werewolf legends, the werewolves shifted into a sort of man-wolf thing, that still walked on two legs but had a whole lot more fur and hair on their bodies. (Example: Teen Wolf, which I pretty much think is just gross- not into that.) Older legends, the original ones, said that men actually shifted into a full-blown wolf. (Much prettier) Then there is whether the wolf can shift at will, or if it's shifting is controlled by something; say, like the full moon, maybe. Then you have to decide if they have supernatural powers, like telepathy, or magic blood, or fast healing or ... well, you get the point. Then, you have to figure out their weakness. Is it silver bullets? Or wooden stakes? Or a doggy treat thrown at the right moment, to distract them?

These are all things to consider when creating the rules of your paranormal world. And for me, this is the fun part. Creating the world, and how it operates, is always the fun part. Making sure your characters follow the rules; not so much. That's when it gets tricky. Because if you mess up the rules, or break them, there goes your credibility. If your wolves are too strong to die, but then the bad guy dies at the end, how believable is that? Or if your wolves can hear each other's thoughts, how does one get double crossed by another, without seeing it coming? See, tricky.

Now, please do not misunderstand, I am normally not a devoted rule follower. Sometimes I like to break them just to remind myself I can, and nothing bad is going to happen. (My parents were way strict, can you tell?) But in this particular case I've learned it is imperative to follow the rules. My consolation: I get to make them up in the first place. I like to think I've covered all bases in Dirty Blood. You be sure to let me know if I broke any rules.

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