2014 Monster Roundup

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In October, I launched the Make a Monster project.

People requested monsters, and I made monsters for them. Oh, how I made monsters for them: 17 pieces of horror flash fiction about the scariest, silliest, batshit craziest creatures our off-kilter minds could invent.

Now, it’s time for a little walk down monster memory lane. Or maybe a flat-out run, while screaming for help.

The Circus Tent Monster:

The purpose of Make a Monster is to promote DREAMER, a trilogy of monster-filled urban fantasy novels I’m trying to get published.

The Circus Tent Monster is one of my favorite bloodthirsty beasties from the Dreamerverse. It bashes people with clown-tipped tentacles — because the only thing scarier than being hit by a clown is being hit with a clown.

The Cupcake Monster:

@SconesForDinner wanted a monster cupcake, and I wanted to write a parody of Paula Deen.

These desires went together as perfectly as peanut butter and jelly butter and more butter. From them, the glorious Cupcake Monster was born.

The Hat Monster:

Kinja user blameitonthecroutons asked for a monster with the ability to transform into any kind of hat.

The Hat Monster gave me the opportunity to write the sentence “By the time he realized he’d put a monster on his head, it was too late.” And that sentence makes me really damn happy.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte Monster:

Chris Johnson (@XopherJohnson) requested The Pumpkin Spice Latte Monster.

Do you love pumpkin spice lattes? Are you one of those people who starts babbling about them in July and August, when it’s way too goddamn early to be talking about goddamn pumpkin spice lattes?

Then this monster is for you.

Do you hate pumpkin spice lattes? Do you think they taste like liquid punishment? Would you rather drink water from a puddle in a parking lot? Do you want to staple people’s lips shut when they start babbling about “PSLs” in July and August, when it’s way too goddamn early to be talking about goddamn pumpkin spice lattes?

Then this monster is for you.

The Toilet Zombie:

There is clearly something deeply wrong with Jenny Bones (@JennyBBones), because she asked me to make her a toilet zombie.

And I’m very glad there’s something deeply wrong with Jenny Bones, because The Toilet Zombie is one of my favorite monsters of 2014. It turns out that miniature mer-zombies can get up to all sorts of no good. Also up urethras.

The Hair Monster:

Silly monster requests are a wonderful challenge. Vanessa Fitzsimmons (@Vanessa_Fitz) wanted a monster with the terrifying ability to control hair growth.

There are two things I love about The Hair Monster:

  1. It unexpectedly turned into a love story about a man with alopecia and the monster of his dreams.
  2. Getting to write the sentence “The slaughter started with a handlebar mustache.”

The Unicorn Monster:

The lovely and talented writer Niko Staten (@nikostar) requested The Unicorn Monster, which turned into a grotesque mashup of Lisa Frank rainbow cuteness and Alien.

The Unicorn Monster is particularly near and dear to me, because I am profoundly obsessed with being a unicorn that murders people. Fuck being an astronaut, a brain surgeon, the President, or the Pope. There is no greater calling in life than to be a murdercorn.

The Razor Blade Monster:

Another wonderful writer, Stefon Mears (@stefonmears), gave me a chance to push Make a Monster in a new direction when he requested a creature with bones made of razor blades.

Most of the Make a Monster stories are funny. I wanted to write something sad. The Razor Blade Monster is a powerful little explosion of grief.

The Scream Beast:

One of my very favorite people on Twitter, Olli Crusoe (@OlliCrusoe), came up with the fascinating concept of a monster that makes any technology in its vicinity produce deafening screams.

The Scream Beast was one of the most compelling writing challenges I was given in 2014. It explores my horror universe from the perspective of a man with cochlear implants, and I loved every minute of creating this piece of flash fiction.

The Tooth Fairy Monster:

There are many versions of the tooth fairy in the world of horror. A creature that takes your teeth is a natural fit for the genre.

When @MummifiedByPen asked for The Tooth Fairy Monster, I worked hard to come up with a scary fairy unlike any I’ve encountered before. I think a tooth fairy that pulls out all your pearly whites and shits money into your mouth fits the bill quite nicely.

The Paperclip Man:

Have you ever had an excruciatingly boring job? The kind of job that feels like a slow trip down Lobotomy Lane?

Well I have, and when @nothipsofacto asked for a paperclip monster, it gave me the perfect opportunity to revisit the viciously dull filing projects of my past. The Paperclip Man will resonate with any wage-slave who’s done monotonous drudge work.

The Thanksgiving Monster:

The Thanksgiving Monster is another one of my favorite monsters of the year.

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without at least one dreadful family gathering. The Thanksgiving Monster is a gift to everyone who’s had to deal with racist relatives, arguments about politics, passive-aggressive sniping, simmering resentments, excessive amounts of booze, and all of the other ingredients that make the holiday season so fucking miserable delightful.

The Unraveler:

The Unraveler is the only Make a Monster with two parents: @improbablejoe wanted a monster that unravels knitting, and @SatanInSingSing wanted a vicious ball of thorns. Obviously, these traits were a perfect combination.

The Unraveler is among the most surreal of the monsters we made in 2014 — and that’s really saying something. Who knew that the ability to unravel knitting could be so damn dangerous?

The Nose Monster:

When the utterly fabulous M. Andrew Patterson (M_A_Patterson) requested a nose-beast with prehensile nose hairs, he gave me a chance to write 2014’s most cathartic monster.

I’ve spent nearly every minute of the past two years tormented by untreatable allergies to seemingly every substance on earth. I am locked in a never-ending battle with snot, and the snot is winning.

The Nose Monster is a thoroughly disgusting creature. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to encounter a giant nose that skitters around on long, slimy hairs like a spider, wonder no more!

The Tutu Monster:

Ksenia Anske (@kseniaanske) isn’t just a talented, driven, incredibly inspiring writer, she’s also the mother of The Tutu Monster.

Some Make a Monster stories spring into my head fully-formed the moment someone requests them. In true muse fashion, Ksenia’s request instantly produced a story, and one that I love. The Tutu Monster is creepy, oddly pretty, and disgusting in equal amounts.

The Rainbow Monster:

Nathan S. (@SomeGoofyNerd), who runs the Graphic Nerdity blog, came up with the best Make a Monster request of 2014: a rainbow monster that shoots glitter laced with LSD.

The Rainbow Monster is a concept so ripe with absurdity and silliness, I was almost afraid to write it. What if I didn’t make it funny enough? Weird enough?

After a great deal of thought, I unleashed The Rainbow Monster on a church bake sale. And a great time was had by all, except for maybe the people who got eaten.

Almost all of the monsters created this year will end up in a DREAMER novel. This monster will have a starring role, because oh my god obviously.

The New Year’s Monster:

The New Year’s Monster is the final monster of 2014, and one of my most precious babies.

If you’ve resolved to improve yourself in 2015, this fellow will make you bitterly regret it. Here are some tips for surviving The New Year’s Monster:

  1. Read this horror story
  2. Tell all of your New Year’s resolutions to take a long walk off a short pier
  3. Begin eating butter and sugar by the handful as soon as possible, ideally while smoking a cigarette

Make a Monster in 2015:

Make a Monster is here to stay. In 2015, I’ll be making one monster a week. You still have plenty of time to request a monster of your own. You can request as many monsters as you want, even if I’ve already made one for you. The more monsters, the merrier!

Together, we will create great horror. Together, we’ll make the DREAMER books a reality.

Thank you so much for requesting monsters. Thank you for sharing our scary creations and spreading the word about the Make a Monster project. Thank you for goofing off with me on Twitter. Thank you for helping me make my nightmarish dream a reality.

And thank you, Alisha Rai, for making some truly awesome monster illustrations. You are an MS Paint maestro.

There are big things ahead for us in 2015. Some of them will probably try to eat us. It will be super-fun.

Want me to make you a monster of your very own? Check out Make a Monster!

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