Everyone knows there are no vampires, it’s doubtful that sasquatch exists, what about Native American stories about windego, skinwalkers or shapeshifters? Who makes up these creatures? Why, writers do. We create such fantasy figures. We don’t have anything to back up their existence.
And thus the shapeshifter in my book, Wolf Song, was created by me. There don’t seem to be any Cheyenne shapeshifter legends, or none that I could find. Most shapeshifter legends are about evil creatures, and I wanted a good and helpful one. So I made up my shapeshifter, where he came from, what his reason for being is. This is fantasy.
Everything about the gray wolf restoration program, its results and effect on the ranchers is
true, based on a ton of research. There’s a big difference in truth and fantasy, and most readers recognize it immediately. Dan Brown has done a fine job of mixing truth (reality) with myth (fiction). His novels are enjoyed by millions.
Now I don’t dream of being enjoyed by millions, but I would hope to have a following of faithful readers who like the kind of stories I write. Wolf Song may be the only paranormal mystery romance I ever write, but I got to thinking about my hero, a Cheyenne shapeshifter, and decided I’d better clear up a few things.
As a culture we are accustomed to movies and books that have no basis in fact. Wild and crazy events take place, entertain us, make us gasp with horror, cry out with disgust, yet we go back for more and more. And it’s all lies, folks. Very rarely based on even a modicum of reality.
Batman can’t fly, James Bond can die, spaceships can’t really go into outer space, as was sadly proven only recently, those guys in Fast and Furious can’t really drive their cars like in the movies, but don’t we love watching all these fantastic tales, and reading stories that excite us?
So, yes, do research, base your stories on reality if you wish, make sure your history is correct, unless of course you’re writing about a dystopian world or something like it. I have a book about a demon who possesses a normal, ordinary woman. Good grief, of course that couldn’t happen.