INTRODUCING YOUR BEAST
WORKING BOTH TERROR AND CLARITY INTO CALAMITOUS FIRST IMPRESSIONS
- PICK A PROBLEM, MAKE IT SMALL
In Nicola’s short, the problem is tiny. A child isn’t playing safely and the mother needs to impress her with dangers in the ocean. That’s it.
Think small. Small problems require unique interactions, are easily delivered on, and are more relatable.
Even in novels, resolve a small need the hero has within the monster introduction scene. Small needs resolved quickly build reader trust.
- SET EXPECTATIONS
Before we meet the creature, establish past interactions. Give your main character an educated plan, rules to follow, or evidence of how these encounters usually end.
- SHAKE THE EARTH
Monsters always have a strong relationship with their habitat. Build anticipation with an aura of influence that shakes the room before the monster even arrives. Even small monsters can/should cause meaningful ripples.
- ROLL THE CURTAIN BACK
Describe your monster in slow motion, as if a curtain draped over it is being pulled away and for each heartbeat, you only see one detail. First the claw, then the arm, shoulder, hair, face.
Reveal the most striking detail last and linger there, gawking.
- INCLUDE ENOUGH FLOWERS
Caves dripping with entrails fatigue readers quickly. Terror must be balanced with saving graces. Show us what you love about the world long enough for us to buy into your contempt of certain details.