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Bogeyman, boogie monster, or make up my own?

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I am currently working on a PB ms, and I have mentioned my MC's fear of the Boogie Monster. I'm wondering if this is too generic/unoriginal and perhaps it would be better for me to invent my own version of the bogeyman.

My concern with making up my own is this: The monster is NOT a part of the main plot, so I don't want to give it too much attention. Would I have to include a sentence or two of the made-up monster's backstory, so readers understand who/what it is? My first thought was to just say "Boogie Monster" and move on. If I make up my own name--for sake of example let's say I call it the Kitchen Monster--I don't want readers thinking "Huh? What's a Kitchen Monster?" But then a part of me feels like using Boogie Monster is lazy.

I also want to express how grateful I am for these boards. They are so helpful! I tried to ask my husband about the above and his suggestion was to change "Boogie Monster" to a "Zombie-Eating Skinwalker." He didn't understand why that wouldn't be the best choice for a picture book...
#1 - March 19, 2014, 04:43 PM

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Hmm....I think without reading your manuscript it's hard to say. But, given what you've mentioned, that the monster is not a part of the main plot, why does it have to have a name at all? Why can't it be just a monster? I think Boogie Monster or any other "Insert Adjective Here" Monster would beg a bit of explanation, and would therefore seem to be essential to the plot.


I guess I mean -- if the MC is afraid of monsters, okay. Keep it general. "Eliza stared at the shadowy closet door, certain a monster lurked there."  If the MC is afraid there's a monster in her closet, there's no need to name the monster, if the real issue is her difficulty sleeping at night.


On the flip side, calling it a specific name might suggest a relevancy -- Cavity Monster might suggest a monster who sneaks in at night and causes cavities, which might reflect the mc's fear of getting her checkup at the dentist. Or something.


And, FWIW, I'm not sure kids today know the "Boogie Monster" in the way that some of us knew about a "boogeyman" when we were growing up. Boogie Monster, for kids today, might mean simply a monster that has killer dance moves.  :)


Another FWIW -- the second paragraph indicates to me that you already know the answer to your question.  :) :)



#2 - March 19, 2014, 06:02 PM

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Hmm....I think without reading your manuscript it's hard to say. But, given what you've mentioned, that the monster is not a part of the main plot, why does it have to have a name at all? Why can't it be just a monster? I think Boogie Monster or any other "Insert Adjective Here" Monster would beg a bit of explanation, and would therefore seem to be essential to the plot.


I guess I mean -- if the MC is afraid of monsters, okay. Keep it general. "Eliza stared at the shadowy closet door, certain a monster lurked there."  If the MC is afraid there's a monster in her closet, there's no need to name the monster, if the real issue is her difficulty sleeping at night.


On the flip side, calling it a specific name might suggest a relevancy -- Cavity Monster might suggest a monster who sneaks in at night and causes cavities, which might reflect the mc's fear of getting her checkup at the dentist. Or something.


And, FWIW, I'm not sure kids today know the "Boogie Monster" in the way that some of us knew about a "boogeyman" when we were growing up. Boogie Monster, for kids today, might mean simply a monster that has killer dance moves.  :)


Another FWIW -- the second paragraph indicates to me that you already know the answer to your question.  :) :)

Ditto, JennaWren. :)
#3 - March 19, 2014, 07:57 PM
http://www.writingonthesly.blogspot.com/ - My author blog
http://awindowintogrief.blogspot.com/ - My grief journey blog in the loss of our 16yo. son

Thank you for your response, Jenna! I know without a manuscript/context to refer to it's hard to answer a question like this. I try not to bombard the boards with my own manuscript-specific questions, but this was one I couldn't shake. After reading your response, I re-read my post and realized you are totally right, I answered my own question with the last sentence in paragraph 2.
#4 - March 19, 2014, 08:21 PM

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