Faux Paw?

July 30, 2008 at 8:50 am (AJ Hampton, Contests, General)

A short musing brought you by AJ Hampton, who at times may appear to be crazy.

The term werewolf describes it all, doesn’t it? It is recognized as the grisly (yet in fiction and movies sometimes romantic) transformation from man to wolf. Were, meaning man, leaves little room for us women. Hell, MS Word spell check doesn’t even bat an eye at it.

I find myself wondering if there is room for anything else. Weretiger, werepanther… yes, using the prefix tells the reader what they need to know. This person (man or woman!) transforms into a beautiful creature at the rise of the full moon.

It goes beyond that. The paranormal genre is changing, morphing into a new breed much like the shape shifters of the world.

The more I delve into this paranormal arc, I find myself using the term shape shifter instead of were. If even gone so far as to incorporate this into my Cassidy Keller, shape shifting novels I’m writing. In a world filled with a variety of different shifters, using the term were is a nasty, hateful racial slur.

How do you feel about the term were and how it relates to the breeds of shifters that don’t turn into a wolf? Is the werewolf idolized so much there just isn’t room for any other werecreatures?

On a side note, I apologize in advance for the shortness of my post. Someone didn’t (totally meaning me, by the way) pick up Twilight, the first Stephenie Meyer book and stay up into 3 am in the morning absorbing in every single word! It’s a vampire book, so, I won’t gush about it to the shape shifting fans!
To make up for up grin I’ve got two Bending to Break (from my vampire novel) magnets to give away. They are about the size of a post card. Two random commenter’s will win. I’ll be at work today, so any comments will be addressed around 3 pm! I’d hate to explain https://shapeshifterromance.wordpress.com to my bosses. LOL.



  1. Michele Hauf said,

    I’m cool with were. Anything were, that’s fine. Shapeshifter works too. As long as it works in the author’s world, I think you can use anything.

  2. Robin Snodgrass said,

    I don’t mind the term were. I read all types of shifter books and have come to realize that either works fine. I think there’s plenty of room on the shelves for shifters of all types / breeds. I love cats, wolves, horses, and don’t forget Celia Kyle’s duck. Weres or shifters – whatever, they’re fun to read!

  3. Cynnara Tregarthq said,

    Good question, AJ. Honestly– to me, a were is someone who MUST shift at a full moon whereas a shifter can shift anytime, without penalty. Though a were can shift other times, the lunar aspect plays into their world. That said, I think that can be changed, depending on how it’s done. In my book, Treaty of Desire, the shifters have taken the term Were– to mean anyone who shifts form.

    Perhaps that’s what’s happening– a homogenizing of terms into interchangeable parts to be used as we need and want.

  4. Bonnie said,

    I like the term shapeshifter. It is a broader category in my mind and helps my organize my monumental collection of books.

  5. Ilona said,

    Shapeshifter to me means someone who can shift into anything (rather like Odo in ST: Deep Space 9) wereas Were means an ability to shift into an animal form.

    Oh and you are forgiven becasue I too was up into the early hours reading Stephanie’s latest book ‘The Host’. Brilliant book and well written 😀

  6. Savanna Kougar said,

    Hi AJ, I think it’s cool either way, werebeastie or shapeshifter. Although I think shapeshifter covers more bases. And my shifters can generally shift at will, or have other stimulii for their shifts, rather than just the influence of Luna, the moon.

  7. new_user said,

    Hi, AJ. Good question. “were” usually brings to mind half-man creatures, monsters, and involuntary transformations, so I’ve never liked the term much, but it’s useful for identifying characters and cataloguing books. It’s easier to describe a character as a werecat than “one who occasionally transforms into a cat,” and more marketable too. I think shapeshifter is more encompassing, but at the same time I’ve seen this term used to describe creatures who change by magic and in comparison, I like my earthy, passionate weres much better, lol.

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