Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Yawn of the Half-Breeds

Todays post is spurned by a trend that is--hold on, help me find the right word here, please?

Boring? Trite? Cliché? Washed out? Used up? Overdone? Yawn?


Stop that, it's contagious!

Yes, I'm talking about you, Half-breeds. You're contagious and it isn't a good things. In the last three years you have gone from a fresh, new trope to an epidemic. Look at the list of the Half-Breeds and tell me how many titles flashed through your head. Oh, I know this book and this book and oh, yeah that book too. And, shit, she's right...

Human-Were(whatever species) Half-Breed
Human-Vampire Half-Breed
Human-Angel Half-Breed (commonly known as the Nephilim)
Human-Demon Half-Breed
Human-Faerie Half-Breed
Human-Greek God Half-Breed
Vampire-Were(whatever species) Half-Breed

These are *just* the half-breed mixes I've either read or put back on the shelf after discovering it was yet again another book starring a half-breed.

Where did this trend come from and, more importantly, why?

I think the World Fantasy Convention 2012 panelist answered it best during the Romancing the Monster discussion:

Topic: Why do we as authors feel the need to have our heros / heroins fall in love with Monsters? How did the evolution of said monsters go from "Run for your life terrifying" to "hey, baby-cakes, let's make out?"

All four panelists answered similarly:
1) The Monsters of old fill the role of everything taboo in humanity. We see ourselves in these Monsters, and think they are not beyond "saving" because by seeing ourselves in them we humanize them.

Now, you notice the trend of the Human + Other Species dominates the list of half-breeds above. So, kudos to you, Keri Arthur, for standing out amongst the blasé class with your Vamp-Were Riley Jensen.

I think, in an attempt to humanize the Monsters of old, we injected them with human traits, making them lovable and attractive to the humans in our stories. But it's a slipper-slope and we couldn't help ourselves. We began infusing human DNA with our monsters, and creating half-breeds. Now EVERYTHING is a half-breed.

There are two ways to extract ourselves from this trend:

1) Shake up the half-breed combos and cut the HUMAN out of the equation. Make your characters odd mixes of the Monsters themselves. Give us a Vampire (if you must) Greek God cross. I mean, seriously Hera the Half-Breed Vampire. The bitch was already a little crazy, imagine what she could do if she wasn't just vengeful but blood thirsty, too...??? 

2) Let the Monsters have their Ball back: give a Winter Fearie the leading role, and use their own nature against them while they try to change because of a new and totally alien desire within them.

Happy Reading. Happier Writing...something new and exciting.


Two Truths: 
The main character of the first novel I ever scribed was, in fact, a female human-vamp half-breed. 
The novel I'm currently working on includes a Nephilim secondary character. 

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