The Frankenstein monster’s inarticulate roar of pain, a werewolf howling at the moon, the hypnotic patter of a seductive vampire, the grunts of Bigfoot as he tromps through the woods and the bellow of Nessie as she breaks the water’s surface in the loch — the language of monsters….
When writing a tale about a monster, sometimes it’s best to keep the monster silent. Let him/her/it slink along on the outskirts of the human world without uttering a sound. Silence acts as a vacuum that absorbs the human experience or becomes a twisted mirror reflecting back a distorted image of what it is to be human. But when monsters talk — they speak volumes … sometimes at a very high volume, too.
For a writer, developing the language of a monster — the internal monolog of a beast or the musings of a more sophisticated monster — is an interesting challenge. What words does a monster use to describe his life? Doe he hunt innocent prey or simply feed? Does a suave vampire justify his ‘dining’ preferences, insisting that the ‘blood donor’ deserves to be a victim?
Human monsters, serial killers and mastermind criminals, often take center stage in mysteries and thrillers. Ruth Rendell, one of my all-time favorite authors, often takes the reader inside the killer’s mind. Her psychological thrillers layer the language that justifies horrific acts of violence with the every day justifications and excuses that pepper the conversations we all have with ourselves.
Think — ‘I’ll just finish that box of cookies and skip dinner’ paired with ‘she had it coming’ and the language of monsters and ordinary people, meld together in a word salad that is difficult to digest without the ‘nice Chianti’ favored by Hannibal Lecter.
When you are writing about monsters, you’ve got to talk the talk while you walk the walk — or strut, fly, dive, ride….