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How to Make a Memorable Monster:
Bigonkers! is MagicWhat are some good tips on how to make a memorable monster? The one I'm currently working on just sort of appeared on the setting with no background or any connections to the characters whatsoever. All she does is show up and kill people. She doesn't even have a real name!
vigilantly taxonomishDepends partly what kind of monster you want - scary? Funny? Epic? I think the Xenomorph from Alien is a good example of memorable monster design. It taps into both primal fears and more cerebral ones. It helps that it has significant squick-factor as well as looking particularly vicious. And of course, it's very dangerous.
Bigonkers! is MagicFor my monster I was aiming more for "Scary yet Elegant". She looks just like any other human being yet has a very elegant monstrosity about her.
vigilantly taxonomishIn that case, your main weapons are sinister powers or abilities and distinctive personality.
Not a DongNever show it, just have the implication of it. A tentecle here, a claw there. Just the slightest glimpse. How do you demenstrate this threat though? By the broken, beaten, blood, disembowled corpses of those unfortunate enough to get a good look.
CAUSE EVERY GIRL IS CRAZY 'BOUT A SHARP DRESSED MAN
vigilantly taxonomishActually, yeah - one way to make a human monster terrifying might be to never show her doing anything monstrous, only the results. Or, if you are writing a Fighting Series-style story, don't describe or depict her doing anything monstrous until long after you have introduced her into the story and she has already done some killing.
adopting kittehI'd say, as usual with the "how to make my character Y" (for example, the narmy "how to make my character a Complete Monster), the answer is not to try, at least not too hard; it leads to characters and attributes being shoehorned into a role and the readers getting the wrong vibe from the work. Just make a memorable monster (note the lowercase). It is your readers's purview if they find it Memorable.
Short HairA really good monster, in my mind, has one trait taken to ridiculous heights. Jason Voorhees (from Friday the 13th) is unstoppable, as are Bruce the shark (from Jaws), the Mummy, and any Bond villain's henchman (such as Oddjob). A vampire is like someone who comes to you for support—moral, financial, or whatever—and won't let go. A werewolf is like the guy who goes to a party, trashes the place, and doesn't remember it next morning. And so on. The trait can also be a belief. The monster may believe in or want something so badly that she will kill for it. If the monster is (or appears to be) human, there's typically one inhuman feature: fangs, a mask, a concealed weapon, etc.
Under World. It rocks!
I'm no expert or anything, but a lot of the monsters I like are the kind where you know you'd be totally fucked in real life. Not something there's any real way to avoid. And as for looks, less is more. And when you do see them, I like 'em just human enough to recognize but with some stuff seriously off. Like the Slender Man.
edited 7th Feb '11 11:54:07 AM by RTaco
Thunder, Perfect MindOne of the most frightening and incomprehensible things in a human-like character is the total lack of empathy. This may be further exacerbated by the knowledge that such an entity does have some kind of moral code, but one that is inherently disturbing and incomprehensible to the protagonists. Equally uncomfortable, especially in real life: Total silence. Not merely a lack of speech or response to it, but a kind of inversion of speech. Everything is quiet about this thing. Unnaturally so. This is particularly unsettling in instances where noise would be expected, such as during a fight.
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