As I continue to ponder about every aspect of writing except punctuation, my previous article on supporting characters moved me on to thinking about non-human characters. As a Dark Fantasy writer and reader, these characters are the favorites of many readers, from paranormal vampire romance to comic books to horror novels to fairy tales, and to my genre, medieval dark fantasy.
Why are these characters so important in our genre fictional stories? It depends on how the writer chooses to use them and like supporting characters, almost “anything goes” with non-human characters. They can be main or supporting, protagonist, antagonist, or neutral (neutral characters to me are the biggest challenge to write). But whatever their place is, the same standard goes along with human characters; beauty, compassion, and loyalty seen often in protagonist and less attractive, sometimes amoral antagonists, with a pretty one pitched in to keep things interesting.
Good vs. evil is a concept that stands very powerful in our minds; therefore, when we add either superhuman or non-humans to our world we enhance the concept to drive the message home. Usually non-human characters in many stories still have human traits, and having them blend in as a greater power makes them all the more interesting, because the reader may/may not know a great secret the other characters don’t know. But not all non-human characters need be powerful; sometimes they carry great wisdom and serve as a mentor.
For anyone that’s read my novellas, it’s obvious that I’m comfortable in my non-human character zone. Shevata isn’t human but is working on it, and the characters surrounding her are not human; thereby making a difficult barrier if she is to put her weapons away forever and become a loving housewife and mother. For her, it will take a while. After she’s done with the numerous non-human characters.