Creature Selection

Yeah, I like memes. More so when they talk about how we create things in story, game, or setting. In this case, the lovely meme running around is how you select creatures. Naturally, as a fantasy writer (including the occasional foray into urban fantasy), I felt this deep burning desire to join in the meme.


Okay, woolly inspirations besides, I think the best way to start is to describe how I don't pick creatures. I'm a contrariety by nature, not that you would know it, but I am. I used to be into vampires, wrote lots of poems and stories about it.

Then, something simple changed. I found out they were popular. Suddenly, I lost all urge to write about vampires. Instead, I drifted toward werewolves, ghosts, and other creatures. My first novel (a travesty that will never be published) was about a shape-shifting dragon who was cursed by three gods. Okay, a bit Mary Jane on that one, but at least he had a theme. The first novel I wrote that I feel was a success was about a man who ended up being betrayed and turned into a mummy. That happens around chapter nine in a thirty chapter novel. The rest of it is finding his one true love. And he was a mummy right at the end, passion and finding love and redemption all.

And, of course, we have the zombie in Case of the Morning Zombies. Creatures of the undead are relatively a recent theme of mine, but looking back through the corpus of stories I've written, it isn't that recent. But, I also like to write about the cursed or just the interesting. I want people not to know the rules, probably one reason I like Undead and Unwed so much.

And trials. There has to be a trial that comes from their being. Either as part of them becoming what they are, or to maintain their uniqueness in the world. I probably won't write much about vampires, there is a pair in a potential sequel for Case of the Morning Zombies, but they are secondary to the fact the main character is a zombie. And not a slow, shambling zombie of yesterday.

In the end, I want to pick creatures that are different. I might write about brownies or house spirits than I would about the big ones. But, I will write about mages of all types, of witches and people who mess with things beyond their ken. I will write about those who saw things they should never write about and were changed by their experience.

But, not if there are at least three books on the shelf of the same topic. Gotta be different. :)