1. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    Fantasy Characters

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Drusy, Jan 11, 2013.

    Okay, so this might be better off in the character devlopment thread (not sure) ...

    I am working on a story that isn't set on Earth but that has quite a few Earth(ish) qualities. Everyday animals that we might see (horses, dogs, birds) etc. are present. Think Terry Pratchet and Discworld for an equivalent. My question is, as I introduce the mythical creatures, is it better to stick with the standards (ogres, dragons, sprites, etc.) or to introduce new beasts - maybe based on these? The terrain descriptions would be very earthlike - no neon clouds or inverted waterfalls or anything. Should I stay with what is recognizable?
     
  2. Scarfe
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    Scarfe Member

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    Have you ever heard of convergent evolution? The theory basically goes that two eyes, two ears, the wing etc etc have evolved many times in isolation. For example, bats, birds, flying lizards/ squirrels, flying dinosaurs have evolved a wing (of sorts) in isolation. In conclusion, given a similar environment, evolution is likely to find a similar solution to survive in it. I would read up on it and use that as a starting point (if you intend to design your own creatures within the realms of realism). For example a cyclops is absurd because it would have no depth perception, this would not be an evolved trait, anyway, I keep adding to this and will stop now, try reading up on it.
     
  3. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    That's a very good jumping off place. I hadn't really thought of it from that angle. But let's pretend that I did make up slightly altered characters - what about new names for them? Do you think that it is better to just go with the tried and true instead of trying to introduce new names and descriptions? Is it detrimental to the flow to have to stop and describe what each creature is because it has some new name? For example, if I tell you it was a dragon... most people will conjur up whatever they feel a dragon looks like and the story goes on. If I say it's a garthbath (totally random name) I will probably need to stop and describe it even if it's not an important part. Right?
     
  4. Scarfe
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    Scarfe Member

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    But is that a fun thing for you to do and can you build it into your story? The HR Giger alien for me is worth 10,000 dragons in terms of its design (and is consistent with evolutionary theory), I would happily describe that and call it a garthbath if I had come up with it first.
     
  5. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    I think farting bear would be ok, jumping chicken and coughing dragon
     
  6. Scarfe
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    Scarfe Member

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    haha, have you been on the beers?
     
  7. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    funny, right? It's wine :)
     
  8. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    Hah! That reminds me of a VERY un-PC joke.
     
  9. Scarfe
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    Scarfe Member

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    Please share
     
  10. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    Nope. ;) I don't wanna make enemies. Well, at least, no more than I have to.
     
  11. Scarfe
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    Fair enough, well back to target then? Your fantasy characters? (send me the joke)
     
  12. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    I agree with Scarfe. As for names, I'd invent those too. Though you could describe something as "Dragon-like" altough...if that creature does not exist in the world then the characters could not compare a given creature to it. Regardless, I always find ancient mythology an inspiring place to look at too. Dragons, unicorns etc are pretty common but you will be suprised at the amount of mytholigical creatures that never made it into the fantasy realm.

    Oh and another marvellous creature is the monster from "Pan's Labyrinth". It looks ridiculous on stills but its one of the most scaring and convincing monsters I have ever seen...anyway I am beginning to digress.
     
  13. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    You make a really good point Macaberz and one I probably would have abused - the "dragon-like" statement (ogre-esque etc.) could have made its way in very easily - thanks for making me aware.
     
  14. Scarfe
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    The one with hands for eyes? Shit scary. But again fantasy not sci-fi.
     
  15. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    I don't see any reason why you couldn't add fantasy creatures into your writing with familiar settings. Raymond E. Feist is actually known to do something of the like with his books. There are creatures we are familiar with, but look completely different and have different names. One such example is a sort of cow (I don't remember the name he called them), it has six legs, and produces milk for dairy products. We're familiar with a creature like that, although it is completely different from what we expect. He does the same thing with flowers and objects.
    So it's perfectly acceptable, I've seen it done in a lot of stories. In the Rowan of Rin series (one of my favorite as a kid) we're introduced to a town that's quite familiar to our way of living, but there's a bunch of new things that we've never entirely seen before. Which for me, as a child, drew at my interest and made me want to keep on reading.
    There's a lot of successful stories with new creatures and new names that we're not familiar with. How they're presented to us makes all the difference. I found that working with different creatures myself, the best way to sell them is by introducing the creatures, and then sometime in the story defining what that creature is and it's purpose.
    An example from an RP I participated in went something like this;
    "The muledogs will be coming in soon, do you think they'll be strong enough to carry the loads?"
    "They should be," he grunted looking at the papers. "The damn things were bred to carry large loads over long distances and follow its owner without a lead."
    In this example, though maybe not the best, we get an idea of what the creature is that's being talked about, with a name and their purpose. Just these two lines gave us a ton of information about the creatures without going overboard and info dumping.
     
  16. Teodor Pravický
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    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

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    It didn't sound very scientific to me ;)
     
  17. Scarfe
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    Shit paragraphs mate. Double tap. I don't know. my entire view is they need to be something that could realistically exist. A crow with six legs, why would the other four evolve? From where? Why? They wouldn't. Kills it for me.
     
  18. Talmay
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    Talmay Member

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    What I like about fantasy is the mentality of "I want a fire breathing, rainbow puking Pegasus in my story!" and you just do it. Don't worry about the explanation. If you really need one, do it later. We enter a fantasy novel prepared for the unexpected, sometimes ludicrous, creatures to pop up. How you incorporate and mythologize it is what matters, not what it is.

    But to answer your question, I use a combination. Take traditionally, well-known creatures and add a twist that makes them unique. Or seek inspiration from various cultures.
     
  19. Scarfe
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    But I would say that is the difference between fantasy and sci-fi, the former is nonsense, the latter at least tries to retain some realism.
     
  20. Talmay
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    Talmay Member

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    I'm in no way denying that.

    Fantasy doesn't care about the explanation. Sci-fi is built around the explanation. All I'm saying is if you're writing a fantasy novel, embrace what makes it fantasy. All you have to do is keep it consistent to the natural laws and boundaries of the world you created.
     
  21. Scarfe
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    I 100% agree with you, I have never agreed with anyone more. But I am writing sci fi.
     
  22. Talmay
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    Talmay Member

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    Good, we're in agreement. Always nice.

    And it was a simple point I brought up to help Drusy, nothing more.
     
  23. Drusy
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    Drusy Senior Member

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    Classic. That's awesome. :)
     
  24. Scarfe
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    haha no mate Tal. I write scifi so got to obey them, oh who cares, nevermind

    haha is a lovely thought apart from the minor fact that I am not writing a fantasy novel.

    sorry Talmay

    haha doesn't matter really , sorry
     
  25. Talmay
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    Talmay Member

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    Don't worry about it. I was confused by the wording of your post.

    And I just realized I meant to type 'mentality' not 'mentally'. *smacks self*
     

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