What Makes a Good Monster Story?

A good monster story should contain the essentials of any piece of quality fiction: setting, characters, plot, and theme.  If any one of these is right, it might successfully “sell” a story to potential readers.  Better still is the synergistic combination of all of these elements.  A good character negotiating an interesting plot is compelling, but a good character doing so in an interesting setting is even better.  Throw in a properly chosen theme (what I like to call a “high concept”), and you have an interesting world where readers might like to live for awhile.

I see the theme as an interpretive key for understanding the characters and the plot.  While the setting puts a story in physical context, the theme puts meaning into that context.  So far, I suppose I’m sounding like an English teacher.  Okay – so let’s get to the main reason that people read a monster story.

You need a really cool monster. Have you ever really paid attention to things such as why you like to read a story or watch a movie about a monster?  What is it about the monster that makes you want to read about it or look at it?  How does the monster make you feel and why?  In my next blog, I will begin to give some of my opinions (and I do have opinions) on this matter, and there are those of us who consider this a very important matter indeed.

By the way, meet Dinsmore, the stuffed dinosaur my parents got me for Christmas one year.  The old fellow is looking a little the worse for wear these days…