Like any writer of horror, I have a desire to create a monster that will have people trembling in their seats. I have been researching how to do that. Thinking up a monster should be easy, right? Well, in a way it is, but if the readers don’t think your monster is believable, you will have failed.
Where does your monster come from?
Of course, your monster’s point of origin would be the innermost depths of your creative mind, but where will your readers believe your monster originated?
Just as there is a day that you were born, your monster must have a beginning too.
Outer space – What lives in outer space? Are there monsters living on any or all of the planets besides Earth? Remember the movie Aliens and its monster? The only purpose of the terrifying xenomorph was to kill others and reproduce.
What other horrifying monsters could lurk in the darkness of outer space?
Hell – Hell, full of grotesquely formed demons, is a good place to start. Or maybe your monster comes from another hellish dimension. Even demons can appear in forms that are pleasing to the human eye. Is your monster’s appearance deceiving? Is he or she pleasing to look at? Not scary at all? At least not until the creature’s true intent is revealed.
Maybe your monster is more of an it than a he or a she. Is it genderless? No reproductive organs? Does it maybe reproduce by cutting off a portion of its own physical being and planting it? Or does this portion just begin to grow on its own as soon as it is taken off?
Accidentally created – Maybe a mad scientist is just trying to create a companion, someone to keep him company. But something goes horribly wrong with his creation. This could be a modern-day Frankenstein, but this monster isn’t made out of body parts from those who were dead and buried.
Many scientific and technological advances have been made since the time when Mary Shelley lived. Did you know that there are 3D printing machines that will print the parts for a fully functional firearm? If firearm parts that are functional could be printed, why not body parts?
Disease – With new medicines and vaccines making frequent appearances, what would happen if one of them carried a deadly secret? What is one of them did so much more than it was intended to do? What if it changed the individual who received it into a monster?
Radioactive fallout affects people in horrible ways. Who knows what it could turn someone into? Maybe a monstrous spider?
The dark – Whether indoors or outdoors, I have a hard time seeing when it is dark. Since I’m not a nocturnal creature, this is normal. And I have to admit, it’s a little scary when I can’t see what is right in front of me or even across a room from me.
If I’m outside on a night when it’s so dark that I can’t even see my hand in front of my face and a strange noise comes out of the woods that surround my house, the urge to run back indoors is strong. If one or more pairs of glowing eyes appear, I’m out of there.
But what if your character is in a place far away from shelter and safety? Maybe he has a flashlight or candle, but those won’t last forever. And something else is out there too.
What attracts this creature to the darkness? Is it part of the darkness itself? Does it think beyond hunting and catching its prey? Is your character going to be its next target?
Out there– Does your monster come from a place that hasn’t yet been explored? There are very few places like that left on our planet today, but that hasn’t always been so.
You could have a creature come from one of the remotest parts of the Amazon jungle.
Maybe a creature of snow and ice has been hidden in a part of Siberia that hasn’t yet been invaded by people.
There are so many places “out there,” that your monster could come from: the deepest and darkest parts of Africa, outer space, the middle of the ocean, from inside a volcano.
Underground – The thought of being buried alive is horrifyingly nightmarish. The thought of being buried alive and having an underground creature join you in your death trap of a coffin is even more horrifying and nightmarish.
What is lurking beneath your house? At the bottom of your dried-up well?
Is there a monster living in the ground where you buried that person you murdered?
What lives in the dirt where you have hidden your treasures? You think your underground vault is impenetrable to all, but there are things you didn’t even know that you needed to protect yourself and your treasures against.
Underwater – Yes, sharks live underwater. And jellyfish can be just as dangerous and life-threatening. Other things can lurk in the water too. Explore the creatures of the ocean. Just doing that should give you some ideas for your own monster.
Whether it be in the depths of the ocean, the murkiness of a puddle, or the crystal clear water of a bubbling brook, there a monster can reside. What brings it to life? What does it want? Is it looking for revenge? For happiness? For food? For a mate? To return to its home?
Reading this article should have sparked at least one idea, maybe even more, for a monster. Where will your monster come from?