Shannon Delany's Blog: Shannon Delany's Goodreads Blog - Posts Tagged "transformation"

A great gal and pal on Twitter, Carla asked me to consider doing a post about werewolves and why they rock.

I'll be honest, when I thought (years ago) about the books I'd someday write and that would define me as an author the term "werewolf" was never part of my figuring. I had tales of dystopian societies, of teens being raised by governments that used them up and spit them out--stuff full of social commentary. Stuff totally devoid of werewolves and vampires and ghosts. I always figured one of those would define me as an author. And perhaps eventually one will.

But for now, I am an author of werewolf novels. And I've found the experience thus far to be much more enriching than writers who disparage werewolves and vamps could possibly imagine.

I love my werewolves.

Here's just the first bit of why...

Werewolves are richly symbolic. This is the nerd in me popping out. I like things that are more than they seem (at least tucked into a pretty bookcover ;-).

So we’ll start simply with the concept of transformation.

In life we grow and change. It’s normal. It’s natural. Sometimes it’s empowering and at others it’s painful. Mostly change is terrifying.

It’s ironic, really. Humanity is one of a few species (gotta give props to cockroaches, certain microbes and rats—we keep such great company ;-) that is best suited to adaptation and surviving difficult environments and circumstances. But we dread change to the point people in abusive situations sometimes stay with the abuser because they at least know what to expect—the world without the bruises and beatings seems even more frightening. It’s the idea of accepting the evil you know rather than facing the “fear of the unknown” brought by change.

So take that fear of the unknown, the fear of change. Couple it with the fear we have of wild animals—especially the primitive fear of wolves—and blend it together. Now take a sip of that symbolic smoothie and you are the werewolf. Someone battling against inevitable change from within. Someone scared of what has to happen because the natural course of life has betrayed him or her. Someone seemingly poisoned by nature and forced to embrace their fear.

Who can’t relate with that sort of stress?

So, first on my list of why werewolves rock? Forced transformation. We go through it in our teen years in an utterly human way. And man, is transformation richly symbolic if you think about it.

Tomorrow we’ll handle another reason related to why I think werewolves rock. Today I play Devil’s advocate here: and explain why this particular nerd thinks vampires will stay strong considering our current culture.

What do you think about werewolves? What makes them rock your world? Don't be afraid to throw in your comments. Just because I write werewolves doesn't mean I'll bite. ;-)

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Published on December 15, 2009 15:06 • 214 views • Tags: 13, 2k10, change, class, delany, life, paranormal, shannon, supernatural, symbolism, tale, teenager, teens, transformation, werewolf, werewolf-s, werewolves
In part one I mentioned I never really imagined myself as a writer of werewolves (and Kelley Armstrong even had a great interview I read once that mentioned the danger of being pigeonholed as an author). And although my debut trilogy is definitely chock-full-of "werewolfy goodness" and "supernatural funk" I like to think it's still even more a human story.

Think back to 13 TO LIFE's tagline: Teenage love, loss and--oh, yeah--werewolves. My werewolves are hugely important, it's true, but the story (I hope) is seen as even more than just a "werewolf story."

Today let's think of another angle of what makes werewolves so amazing--our deeply ingrained fear of one half of that heady werewolf cocktail:


Think about it: werewolves go from human (and supposedly humane) to the creature that haunts our fairy tales, myths and legends.

Little Red Riding Hood's nemesis? The Big, Bad Wolf.

The wolf in sheep's clothing.

Peter and the Wolf (*nods* for those of you who have followed me from early on, you catch the double meaning here ;-).

When we talk about primitive people and our basest fears what do we mention lurking just outside the safety of the campfire's glow? Wolves. Dangerous, slavering beasts with a hunger for our flesh. Freudians go nuts over this sort of cultural symbolism. Is Little Red Riding Hood a thinly disguised story of a girl's coming of age (the red hood, the grandmother, wild woods, the lurking predator and powerful woodsman--you know the drill--and if you don't, ask your psych teacher ;-)?

And wolves--the dangerous side of werewolves, that supposedly most beastly component--still manage to scare the bejeebus out of many of us.

The fear of wolves is deeply ingrained in our psyche. We like to think we're the top of the foodchain. But when faced with things like wolves (who rarely bother with humans if we can be avoided) or sharks, we humans recognize that for all our technology we may not be the biggest, best and brightest in every environment.

It's a disconcerting thought (even though, in reality, they don't want a thing to do with us).

Now force two things (wolves and humans) that have tried so hard for centuries to keep a safe distance into a single body. Wow. Talk about keeping close quarters with your fears.

The ensuing battle that rages between the beast within and the supposedly humane human makes for great inner turmoil. You want soul-stirring conflict? Have your hero struggle against something inside—a somewhat invasive force—that is trying to take him over and encourage the wildness our "civilized" nature has tried to erase.

Now our hero has to deal with an animal nature his very evolution as a homo sapien has tried to distance him from. Maybe he's average most of the time--just a regular guy. But let those wilder instincts gain a hold and suddenly he's more keyed in to his senses (things we often ignore in our day to day lives even though we can experience a wide array of sensation without being wolfy). As readers we can experience things that our dulled senses can't as easily enjoy (or be stunned by). Werewolves tweak our primitive sensory curiosity.

Now mix in a love interest. Suddenly we kick up curiosity, fierce loyalty, perhaps a bit of possessiveness--things that when overdone are scary, stalkerish and controlling. But done the right way... Heroic and alpha.

It's a thin line we walk between our fear and our passion.

Werewolves scamper all around that line and tease out our fears and mix them with wonder. Just one more reason werewolves rock. ;-)
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Published on December 16, 2009 10:53 • 181 views • Tags: 13, 2k10, change, class, delany, life, paranormal, shannon, supernatural, symbolism, tale, teenager, teens, transformation, werewolf, werewolf-s, werewolves

Shannon Delany's Goodreads Blog

Shannon Delany
A simple (and most likely infrequent) blog about Shannon Delany (c'est moi!) and the release of her (er--my) books including her (that's mine too...) 13 TO LIFE, SECRETS AND SHADOWS, BARGAINS AND BETR ...more
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