A to Z – X (WR)

It’s April again and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge and this year, my theme for the A to Z Challenge is characters and narrators.

X is for (e)xtraterrestrials

This one may be sneaky and not really an “x” word, but I’m running with it anyway. :p

Aliens have been popping up in stories for quite some time now. But how do you write them?

Do you follow the same formula that writers have been following for ages – little green men, with dark eyes, who travel here on flying saucers? Or do you try for something different?

I think a story can be enjoyable either way.  The more interesting question is – do you give them an actual character complete with character development?

Aliens, historically, were treated as one of the many monsters in the monster sub-genre of horror or sci-fi.  This has changed recently, and I think it’s a good thing.  As a reader, I enjoy the development of all characters in a story – both the protagonist and the antagonist.  Though at the same time, there are several aliens in literature/movies/tv who are not developed characters and are still interesting and/or terrifying.

What works best?  Well, I’d say it depends on the genre, the story, and the author’s preference.

Notable extraterrestrials in moves/tv/books

  • Aliens in the Alien series – mostly monsters and not super developed, but still scary (with the exception of the Engineers in Prometheus)
  • Predators in the Predator series – again, not super developed and mostly monsters, but we do glean some information on them, like their moral code (not killing unarmed people or pregnant women) and that there is some tension between the different kinds of predators.
  • Most of the cast of the Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Thor, Loki, and Asgardians
  • E.T.
  • Reticulans (Mulder’s little green and gray men in the X-files)
  • Trafalmadorians



2 thoughts on “A to Z – X (WR)”

  1. Aliens are great, and very versatile. They can be funny, scary-as-hell, wise, bellicose, etc. And they can be benevolent, evil, wise, unthinking, and again, scary as hell. I agree with you in that it must be a struggle to figure out how far to develop the as characters. Aliens kind of have a built-in backstory, but indeed it does greatly depend on their role and what type of fiction you’re writing to determine the depth of their development.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, they are some of the most flexible characters in terms of descriptions, good, evil, motivations, and existence…perhaps that’s why they’re characters that are able to be dropped into any genre and still feel fresh and interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

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