Writing Demons: Meaning

So after everything I’ve been talking about, why do I use the term “demon” to refer these creatures?

After a certain Disney cartoon episode aired, I finally realized how demons can be simultaneous with terror. Admittedly, it was more weird-horror (which is apparently not something I care for), but it still made me see for the first time how a creature classified as a demon might actually be frightening.

And I mean frightening in a way other than how bears can be frightening because they’re stronger and deadlier than a human physically  and operate on completely different comprehension of the world.

Which, interestingly, points out precisely where my conception of my demons originates: biology.

I mentioned this last week, but it is a pretty solid fact – my demons are not supernatural beings, so much as biological different creatures. Research for them includes lots of animals facts (e.g. whether seals have sebaceous glands), body facts (e.g. how is bone composed), and science facts (e.g. the chemical composite of stars).

I’ve always imbued a lot of undercurrent environmental and biological science into my writing. (Why? Because I think it’s awesome and inspiring. Yep.)

But back to demons.

Considering my realization that demons can evoke a very real sense of danger and malevolence, that makes me think I have two options for the demons in my writing:

  1. re-name them something else that evokes what they are and how I see them | downside: I’ll lose the etymology related to division and divinity and personal spirits
  2. re-interrupt what “demon” means, which honestly fits better with the themes of the story/stories | additional: I’ll have to be very precise and promote my type of demon against the generalized view of them.

And isn’t that exactly what it was always about in the first place?

Yes, to answer my own question, yes it was.

The earliest theme of my demon story was: humans blame demons for a disaster and condemn them as monsters, but the demons they blame had this amazing, beautiful love story, plus the tensions and contradictions of stories, who tells them, and what they mean.

And I feel that this lens by which demons are monstrous damnable devils against the story of their true natures and lives, which may not exist in the same ideological framework as a human, is central to the story of my demons. Well, that and love that can overcome anything and create an impenetrable golden radiance.

Just trying to find the words to write that paragraph evoked some of the strongest emotions I have ever felt for any story I have ever conceived. Which is probably why it and my demons have stuck with me for over a decade.


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