Welcome! Please note this site deals with adult themes.
This blog is the often amusing, sometimes dangerous den of two British writers of contemporary and paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. Most of our stories are based in the UK and our heroes and heroines are passionate Brits - yes, passionate Brits exist! Come on in out of the cold, pull up a chair and see for yourself...

Monday, 20 February 2012

Shapeshifters VS Werewolves

Is there a difference between the two?

"A Werewolf - also known as a lycanthrope - is a human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or a wolf-like creature, either purposely or after being placed under a spell or being bitten/scratched."

Okay, a human with the ability to shapeshift i.e. a shapeshifter, but there is still a difference between them and Werewolves. Shapeshifters by definition are actually able to shift in to any animal form they like, whereas a Werewolf can only shift in to the form of a wolf, or a wolf like creature. So despite the line being rather thin, is there is still a distinct difference between the two?

I guess it is completely dependent on what your personal views on such creatures are. All writers - for example -  have their own idea of what a Shapeshifter is, or how a werewolf should look, and we will all give such creatures our own personal twist. It is our job to keep such creatures fresh and interesting, plus we will always see such thinks differently.
Personally, as both a reader and a writer, I view Shapeshifters and Werewolves to be two separate groups.

To me a Werewolf is a creature that is a mixture of both man and wolf - an old school monster in a sense - view picture on the left.
Whereas a Shapeshifter is a man/woman who completely transforms in to a wolf - view picture on the right - instead a mashup of the two.

Anyone who has read my paranormal erotic romance, She-Wolf, will know that my Werewolves are old school grab-your-pitchforks-and-torches creatures. In my head they’re a lot furrier and taller than the picture on the left, but that’s just a visual idea for y’all. My Werewolves are big bads the skulk around in forests, and watch you from the tops of buildings. They don't have tails and they don't run around on all fours. They are scary-cool, and in my head I can totally see such huge, bulky creatures creeping around in the Scottish highlands, or in the cities at night.

There are a number of different creatures throughout the world who can transform shapes, so I suppose Shapeshifter in a sense has just been dubbed as the title of a category of magical and mythological creatures; even so, each have their own names and descriptions dependant on their locations. A few examples:-

Skin-Walkers (American Indians) are able to shift in to any animal they desire.

Nagas (Asia) are snake people. And just like Werewolves, and Boudas - Hyena-men (Africa) - they are another type of creature that are a cross between human and animal.

Selkies (Ireland/Scotland) are seal-maidens that shed their skin to become human. If they put the skin back on they will shift back in to their original forms.

There are so many different types, so I’ve added the following link - which is one of many - great site that will list a number of creatures with the ability to shift:- http://www.seekerworld.com/legends/werewolf.html

I guess after a ton of books, and movies about such fascinating beings descriptions/definitions have twisted and merged, and changed to a point where the line is rather broad. Then again it is up to our own imagination on how we wish to paint the creatures in such stories, and whether we wish to view them as different groups or one in the same.

What are your views on such creatures? Do you see horror monsters in your head, or bigger animals when reading stories? Which would freaky you out more if you bumped in to them in the dark?

~ * ~

Both pictures were found through google image search:-
Information taken from:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werewolf
Shapeshifter picture was found on - http://monster.wikia.com/wiki/Shape-Shifter


  1. OMG, what a great blog post!

    I see them as different as well. In The Sands Of Time, Pueblo gives us an overview of the difference between werewolves and shifters (at least, that's the rule in The Witching Pen world): werewolves exist because of a mutant gene and shapeshifters are humans who have mastered the skill of shifting, which is handed down through the shamans of old. Were-creatures can only shift into a feline or canine (mostly), but shapeshifters can shift into many animals including elements like fire and water...

    Oh, Elizabeth! You got me started now! I could go on and on and on...

    So far I've only written shifters; I CAN'T WAIT to write werewolves, and then look out vampires, 'cause you're next! ;)

  2. Thanks hun :-)

    Please feel free to go on. I could talk about this forever! :-P I think with all types of mythological/legendary creatures there is so much room to work and give them a fresh edge etc. They are such flexible, and intriguing creatures.

    Oooo Vampires!!! I love me some fang ;-)