Should Human Characters to Know about the ‘Others’?

This is a question I’ve been pondering lately as I work through plot issues in future writing projects. I’ve always been a secretive girl, I guess. The humans in Penton didn’t know shifters and vampires were living among them, nor do the people of New Orleans know about–well, EVERYTHING. Especially the historical undead which, I think, would freak them out in a serious way.

And yet…it’s intriguing, isn’t it, to think how the humans might respond? (And let’s not even think about it happening in today’s polarized political climate!)

In established series, it varies. There had been a fairly uneventful transition in the Sookie Stackhouse series, although there were religious groups rising up against the evil vampires, and that played a big role in the way the series played out. In Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series, as I recall, the “others” were out and being dealt with inefficiently (no, really?) by the U.S. government.

In Mercy Thompson’s world, the fae had taken the bullet and come out first, and then were moved onto reservations that they proceeded to manipulate in a major way; the werewolves have recently come out. In Kate Daniels, the world is in a post-apocalyptic form with alternating waves of magic and technology that make an interesting backdrop–the poor humans are just trying to survive. At least I think there are humans. LOL.

So, what do you prefer?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

7 thoughts on “Should Human Characters to Know about the ‘Others’?

  1. hummmmmm hum good question, let’s be realistic nothing can be 100% secret so i’m sure at least some chosen human would know….
    in a world where they would go public? i would love to think human could think but let’s be realistic first reaction would be fear and thus violence so i’m not sure if i knew shifter i would recommend them to go public about what they are… ( do i make sense?)

  2. I don’t think I have a preference. It depends on the world building. The Anita Blake series raised some interesting political and medical quandaries with the vampires and shifters open knowledge to the public. However, secrecy can lead to some great plot conflicts. Unfortunately, it seems like the most common response of a lot people is not to deal well with “different” especially in today’s s world climate.

  3. I’ve read series were they do and they don’t and enjoyed both immensely. It definitely depends on whether or not the author can make it believable and believes herself whether it works or not. The fact that most authors have me checking and double checking my locks after reading late into the night and has me checking the pantry and gun supplies calculating the likelihood of surviving the zombie apocalypse says a lot for their abilities:)

  4. I have read books that use both styles of world building and prefer when the humans stay in the dark and don’t know of the existence of the others. As a reader it also makes me feel privileged to know of them and be a part of that world.

  5. I’ve read books where only some humans know like Dracula or the Harry Potter series. I’ve also read ones where either no humans know or all humans know. I don’t really have a preference. I really care more about how well the story is written and if I like the characters.

  6. I’ve seen it done well both ways, but I prefer the others to be “out”. Whenever they are secret, I spend half the book trying to figure out if it’s plausible that the ordinary humans wouldn’t know about them LOL.

  7. Honestly, as long as the author sets the world up and then sticks with her rules, I’m fine with all variations. What gets tricky is when a series keeps paras under wraps from humans, but then para world keeps intruding on the human one – there is only so much cover up and/or explaining that works until I serve out the eye-roll. If a series is based on para secrecy, then the story works best if it takes place mostly in that world – like Dresden – there is limited interaction with plan ol humans in the book, so I don’t think about it as much. Make sense?

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