One of my personal preferred supernatural abilities to write about (and read about) is shapeshifting – particularly into animals. There’s just something really cool about being able to shift into another creature at will. It’s also really fun to write… a smorgasbord of entertainment for paranormal romance writers.
So here are my top 5 favorite aspects about writing shapeshifters (in no particular order).
I already get to write about the beauty of the human form when describing my heroes and heroines. But I also love to describe the beauty of their animal shift. The movement of muscle playing under a cougar’s coat, the razor sharp claws of a bear, the hackles standing up on the back of a wolf. Those are physical traits humans don’t have. So it’s fun to incorporate.
I love the freedom that can come with the animal form. Your characters can experience things like flight (if they’re a falcon for example). Or they can enjoy nature or realize they’re in danger with different senses. They can approach situations differently than a human would. It gives your characters new freedom and you as a writer new freedom.
Let’s be honest, some animals are pretty bad ass. And you get to have your characters be bad ass right along with their animal. They can stalk, or slash with their claws or teeth, or crush, or roar, or run really fast, or fly, or snarl, or... Well, you get the picture.
Human vs. Animal
My editor can’t stand it when I say a man “growled.” But I’ve discovered that if the growl is due to his being a wolf-shifter, then I can sneak it by her. But seriously, getting to imbue my human characters with their animal’s traits can be a lot of fun.
I get to let my imagination really take off with the concepts, and that’s probably the best part for me. As a reader I want books that allow me to just escape, completely. It’s why I love the paranormal romance genre so much. As a writer, the genre lets me give my imagination free reign. Anything goes. And shapeshifters give my imagination a lot to play with.
I find it interesting that you can find this awesome power in books frequently, but it doesn’t’ seem as prevalent in movies (unless you count werewolves). True Blood (the wolf and panther shifters) and Harry Potter (the animagus) are the two big ones that come to mind off hand. But both of those are based on… books. Too bad, because there’s so much movies and TV could do with shifters. So those are my top 5.
What are yours? As a writer or as a reader?
Thanks to the Masquerade Crew for hosting me!