Buffi BeCraft-Woodall, thirty-something mother of two, says that growing up watching marathon sessions of Star Trek and Dr. Who with her dad at night and daytime soaps with her mom pretty much clinched her style of writing. She started writing her first novel during sixth grade math until plummeting grades forced her to set it aside or be grounded from her favorite place, the library. But, hey the novel was going along good until then.
In 2000-2001, Buffi made a conscious decision to seriously pursue writing during a brief period in which she tried home schooling her children. "Kudos to teachers everywhere. They deserve more than a pat on the back. Try a standing ovation at the Super Bowl and it might come close." The kids, John and Angelique, who eventually returned to the capable hands of the Public School System, are her first and most loyal fans.
Thanks for being our guest today, Buffi, and sharing this great post about monsters and why we love them!
What kind of monster do you like?
By Buffi BeCraft-Woodall
Are you a fan of the original ‘pure evil’ Vampires, wolfmen, and swamp thing monsters? Soulless creatures that jump out from behind the tree, chomping on hapless victims. The true hero being the human who kills the evil and returns light and happiness to the beleaguered townsfolk?
Or is there another story? The poor misunderstood monster who was just defending himself from the torch and pitchfork bearing mob. Haters of anything not like themselves. The hero is the guy who’s different on the outside, but just as human on the inside as you and me. He could be furry, scaly, need some serious orthodontia for that fangy problem he’s got going on there, but when it comes down to it, Mr. Monster is just a sensitive guy who wants to be loved and appreciated for himself.
I’ve heard it from both sides. Moans from my friends on how the new ‘more sensitive’ monsters as heroes outlook has ruined the story. I’ve heard cheers that the monsters have been liberated from the evil stereotypes of the past. You know…they both work.
Me, I like an even stranger version. Think outside the box, or coffin as it were. Why make the story about simple good and evil when you have so many shades of gray to play with? When you have, love, lust, greed, jealousy, and every other demented emotion to explore? Daytime television does it all the time. Why not combine it all? Yes, my family thinks I’m weird too. I don’t disagree. I just smile and nod, folks. It pays to keep them guessing. Besides, I love The Soap Monster stories.
What? You don’t think that monsters and soap operas could work together. Bwhahahha! Trust me, it can and does. I’m hooked on several by some big name authors. After years of growing up, watching black and white Dracula, Werewolf, Godzilla, don’t forget Mothra. I loved Star Trek, Dr. Who, Days of Our Lives, Guiding Light. (True soap fans have these things timed so that they can watch the first half of one, then don’t miss out when they channel flip over to the second half of the show on another story.)
Growing up, I always wondered why we couldn’t we have the best of both. Okay, Star Trek doesn’t count since Kirk slept with anything female, whatever the species, then wound up with the secret kid who died. And Mr. Spock came back from the dead at least once. Remember V? The human/alien lizard love triangle did get a little icky. But, yay! A breakthrough! Not all the aliens were bad guys.
See, the monsters don’t have to be evil all the time. I wanted to know what would happen if were known that the vampire was really a good guy, working to take down the evil vamps. What if the evil vamp were the only evil vamp and the disgrace of the vampire world? What if Darth Vader was really Luke’s secret father? Oops. That one was a point for our side. I have to admit, I only saw the last movie (or was that the third?) a couple of weeks ago. I already knew the ending. Duh! Plus, George Lucas did such a good job making us love Anakin that I really didn’t want to see him fall.
So yes, is it any wonder that when I started to seriously write, I kind of went a little overboard on the werewolf thing? Weremones, PMSing, and Making Tracks, became sort of Werewolf Soap. Officially, that’s paranormal or fantasy romance. Depends on who you ask. But in the end a Soap is a Soap.
It’s the big, What If…
What if a werewolf suddenly inherited a Pack he didn’t want? What if his whole Pack consisted of a bunch of teenagers? What do you do about male horemones and a teen werewolf dating your girlfriend’s human teenage daughter? That was fun for my first book, Weremones like the rest of my werewolf books are from New Concepts Publishing. (http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/)
Then I got to thinking, what if you had identical twins, one with Alpha potential and one the former Omega. What if the Omega guy after years of being gone, decided he was tired of it all and wanted the girl after all? What if the girl is his adopted stepmom’s daughter he secretly loves? What if the daughter got herself into some real trouble and decided come home to hide out? The best part was bringing all the people back, years later. The book PMSing ended up as Monster Soapfest II.
Then my son and I started talking about what to do for book three. Hmmm. Yeah. Of my two kids, my son is the reader and the Para/SciFi fan. My daughter is the social outgoing one. So my son starts telling me what he’d like to see out of his favorite character, Mark the ADHD werewolf. O-kay. Before it’s all over with, Making Tracks had an insecure, colorblind hero who’s head over paws with a girl terrified of anything supernatural. We had a Fairy uprising, the evil dude from the past, and a seriously P.O.’d dragon.
And after a short break messing with Arthurian Legend, in a very Christmas themed Conjuring Cal, I’m back to writing about the werewolves. I heard you sword and swashbuckler fans perk up on that. Conjuring Cal is another fun what if…. What if Excalibur became human? Sound like fun? I had a blast writing it. And the Christmas theme allowed me to play with more than just Arthur and his gang.
With Mordred on the loose, Cal (Excalibur) is placed in Gennie Pendragon’s safekeeping. Unfortunately, his humanness comes with an expiration date.
What could Gennie possibly want for Christmas? Why Cal, of course. Good thing she’s friends with the guy in the red suit. Don’t forget a slightly forgetful Merlin, a houseful of sweet if overgrown wards, and her overprotective many great-somethings ‘Uncle Art’. (Head by Total-e-Bound to download a copy of this one. http://www.total-e-bound.com/)
What up next? Well… Lets’ see what we’ve got to work with this time,
Tank and Chase, the dynamic duo of the werewolf world, have a mysterious past. Bradley is working for the Fairies since the last book. Can we say ‘Conflict of Interest’ boys and girls? And then there’s the Van Helsing style Psychic Hunter who knows he’s saving the world from the supernatural scourge of the evil. Is the Hunter the hero or the villain? I mean, all monsters are evil, right? All his conditioning and all the traditional books and movies portray it that way.I’m a traditionalist only in that I like a happy ending. I’m a sucker for a Cinderella story. Bad monsters, good monsters, who’s sleeping with who, or even who’s staking who. I only fall on the ‘new and sensitive’ side when I write. For sheer reading escapism, it’s all good, so long as the story is worth hanging around for.