1. Mystic_snowfang
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    Mystic_snowfang Member

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    Seeking a worksheet for creatures

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mystic_snowfang, Feb 24, 2011.

    I write fantasy and sci-fi. does anyone know of worksheets where I can write about different alien and non-human critters and keep all my thoughts in order. So far google is not being very helpful and I'm near ready to rip my own hair out.
     
  2. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    There are all kinds of forms and checklists for character profiling, including character traits, appearance, history events, likes/don't likes, etc. Cannot you use these? if you cannot find them feel free to send me a PM and dig out some from my archives.
     
  3. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    If you're on a mac, VoodooPad (and it's free Lite brother) work amazingly well for this. If you wanted a slightly pricier product that does almost exactly the same thing (but looks nicer), try Circus Pony's NoteBook.

    I don't use Windoze very often, so I apologize that I don't know of any programs for that operating system.

    Other than that, you could always use a good ol' fashioned pencil and notebook...
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    If you want prompts, you can come to the character development clinic thread (in word games) or otherwise I'd vote pencil and paper.

    I didn't know there was software out there that did character profiling. :)
     
  5. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Seems a bit strange to me that you'd need to ask. Isn't it a very basic part of fiction writing to be able to formulate your characters and keep track of what they are, who they are, what they're doing etc. without the help of pre-prepared worksheets?

    Try keeping your own record cards. One card for each character detailing name, age, physical attributes etc.
     
  6. RightBastardWriter
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    RightBastardWriter Member

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    Echoing evelon.

    Why do you need worksheets?

    Use your word processor, make a new document for each critter, and write away.
     
  7. ShortBus
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    ShortBus Member

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    your best bet is to search for hours. it kind of sucks but once you have it you have it. i do 3d animation and ive searched for countless hours getting as many images as i could.

    when you search, make sure you jumble your words. like 1st do alien then aliens, creatures, big creatures, small creature, etc.

    also use different search engines. and try to find websites devoted to artworks and look through them.
     
  8. Mystic_snowfang
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    Mystic_snowfang Member

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    If you've ever seen my handwriting....:rolleyes:

    ------

    anyway, i've searched for hours... I've found nothing really save for "worksheets" that have been teacher approved and are non-fiction

    I've stated I'm looking for "fictional creature creation"

    -_-

    Sometimes I hate google :mad:
     
  9. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Sounds like you want creativity in a bottle. The best, most original creatures, are going to come from your own mind. Come up with stuff on your own and you'll have a more original, enjoyable writing experience.
     
  10. Mystic_snowfang
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    Mystic_snowfang Member

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    I'm not looking for premade creatures -_-. I'm looking for some thing to keep my thoughts in order. I need something like that when you live in the chaos I do...
     
  11. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Nothing is preventing you from taking a sheet of paper, making a few relevant headings or boxes with attributes, and going at it.

    In all seriousness, you've spent three hours searching Google with no result, so it's time to try something else. Get a writing tool and a paper and organize the thing yourself. If you're able bodied and have a paper and a pen handy, you have no reason not to except possibly your own laziness or extreme apathy.

    If those don't fit, you might be afraid of getting it wrong ("Oh no, it won't look professional!"). But the worksheets aren't going out to readers; they're a private thing, something you can use as a tool to help your worldbuilding and your writing. They needn't be perfect.

    If you're desperate for an example, you might try character design sheets for RPGs. No, they aren't "exactly" what you're looking for. But they're a model. You can incorporate whatever you need into your own worksheet, including things like weight, height, environment, physical description, special abilities or habits, culture or social organization, and so on and so forth.
     
  12. TheMaster734
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    TheMaster734 Member

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    go here

    http://www.nbos.com/
     
  13. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    Interesting question! Here's what I came up with off the top of my head; you can no doubt improve upon it dramatically.

    (These are of course all intertwined; answering them in haphazard order retracing steps frequently is probably more effective than going down a list)

    • Approximate Size/Weight(indicating size/weight by indicating a real-world creature of similar mass will probably be more meaningful to you than numbers that have to be interpreted)
    • Propulsion
      • Does it walk? run? swim? fly? teleport? burrow? plane-jump?
      • If it has more than one form of propulsion, which come more easily/naturally, and which are more awkward?
      • How quickly do it's various forms of propulsion tire it out?
      • How fast do it's various forms of propulsion allow it to move: (without breaking a sweat / with moderate effort / in an emergency?).
      • What physical and physiological features affect the propulsion (running on two legs or four? Does it have a tail that it uses for balance? How does it steer while flying/swimming?)
    • Food Sources
      • Carnivore? Omnivore? Scavenger? Herbivore? Photosynthesis? Filter Feeder? Something else entirely?
      • What variety of things does it need? (For instance, cats are obligate carnivores, and can't stay healthy without meat, while dogs have much more flexible digestive tracks. Most carnivores also need to eat vegetable matter of some sort. And so forth.)
      • How much does it need to eat?
      • Therefore, how much of whatever it eats needs to be present in the local ecosystem to support it?
      • What physical and physiological adaptations does it have related eating and digesting (i.e. type of teeth, etc)
      • What physical and physiological adaptations does it have to help it obtain food (i.e. to help it hunt, or to help it find carrion, or to help it dig for tubers, or to help it reach fruit...)
      • What adaptations does it's food source have to avoid it (e.g. how does prey escape) or to attract it (e.g. Fruit spreading tree-seeds, nectar attracting bees to pollinate the flowers)
    • Predators/Threats
      • What hunts it, or is a danger to it?
      • If it has a natural predator, then in inverse to the question above, what is the ratio of it to it's predator that needs to be maintained before the predators start dying out for lack of food?
      • What adaptations does it have regarding avoiding predators (camouflage? Speed? Acute senses? playing dead? Flying away? burrowing? Popping into another dimension? Looking more dangerous than it is? Mimicing something poisonous?)
    • Habitat
      • What sort of habitat/climate does it live in (desert, temperate, tundra, jungle, marshland, tidal flats, etc)? Why?
      • What adaptations does it have to heat/cold, wet/dry spells, wind or other weather, times of year when food is scarce or when predators are plentiful, etc.
    • Young
      • How many young does it have at one time?
      • How long are the young cared for before they are "on their own"?
      • How are the young fed? Does the mother regurgitate as with birds? Produce a substance to feed them as with mammals? leave them to fend for themselves?
      • How quickly to the young learn the various things that an adult needs to be able to do to survive?
      • How many adults are involved in raising the young? Just the mother? Just the father (as with seahorses)? A mating pair? An entire pack? None at all?
      • How long does it take young to reach maturity?
      • What percentage of young, under normal circumstances, reach maturity? What are the most common causes of death before that point? (predators, disease, being eaten by siblings, failing in it's first full attempt to fly...)
    • Social Nature?
      • Does it form packs/herds? Is it solitary? How territorial is it?
      • How does it react to those of it's own kind that it's familiar with? Another of it's own kind that it's not familiar with?
      • What methods of communication does it use: vocalizations? tail movements? Or does it go straight to battle-to-the-death with the interloper?
      • What physical and physiological adaptations does it have with regard to it's interactions with it's own kind (vocal apparatus, stags antlers, etc)
      • Does it mate for life? For a year/cycle? "one-night-stand"? How do potential mates find/choose one another?
      • Alternately, does it have an asexual means of reproduction instead (parthenogenesis, mitosis, budding, etc)
      • Similar to the question about care of young: if this is a social species, do members ever take care of a weak or sick member -- e.g. providing with food from the hunt and protection from predators? Or is it ever member for themselves?
    • Diurnal Cycle:
      • Is it active during the day or during the night? Or, like some animals, during morning and evening twilight? Some other cycle?
      • Why? Is it avoiding the heat of the day, awake when whatever it eats is awake, avoiding nighttime predators, etc?
      • What physical and physiological adaptations does it have? (Strong night vision but poor day vision, or vice versa?)
    • Annual Cycle: Does it migrate? hibernate? How does it deal with differences in temperature / rainfall / availability of food / prominence of predators over the course of a year?
    • Defense: This was partly covered elsewhere. But to put it all in one place: how does your species defend itself from predators, threatening members of it's own kind, other threats? What physical and physiological adaptations does it have?
    • Misc:
      • Warm-blooded or cold-blooded (i.e. can it regulate it's own body temperature to a certain degree -- how much? Or like reptiles, is it highly sensitive to outside conditions, and need to spend a lot of time sunning / seeking shade to keep it's body temperature
      • What other cycles, besides annual or diurnal is it subject to? Some locusts appear on a 17 year (if I'm remembering correctly) cycle. Human women have a monthly menstrual cycle. What other biological cycles affect your species?
      • Play: does your species engage in play? Only the young? The adults? How often? What does play consist of?
      • Life Cycle: How long does it live if it reaches old age? How long does it live more typically? What are the most common causes of death? What percentage are likely to reach each age?

    This is very rough and hap-hazard, but it might help as a starting point to create your own worksheet from :)
     
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  14. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    WHoah some people have a lot of time to think off the top of their head:p

    But well done. I'm sure that's very helpful to the OP.

    Though me personally, I still have difficulty seeing the point of these things. For instance a lot of the stuff in the above post won't be pertinent to the story. eg. What percentage of young, under normal circumstances, reach maturity?

    I just take a page and write what ever comes to mind when conceptualizing a new character or creature type. Because you know what the general direction of the book is, your mind is already wired to focus on the relevant aspects of your creation.

    If worksheets aren't too restrictive then they're too extensive.
     
  15. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    Hey, it's a Saturday afternoon I'm allowed :cool:.

    I figure use what's useful for this particular story/creature, ignore the rest. The value in such a list is to be able to skim over it and see what jumps out at you, and to have the general questions about why the creature is like it is and how it fits into it's local ecological niche floating around in the back of your head.

    I agree that it's rare that it would be useful to meticulously answer every question (unless the detailed intricacies of the local ecology, and how some change impacts them, are part of the story's focus)

    The list definitely needs fine-tuning though. You can tell it's hastily thrown together.
     
  16. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Ifanechodoesntanswer, (wow, that's a hand full), I hope you're going to charge OP a fee for that response. If that's your off the top of your head thinking, I'd like to see what you can come up with after some heavy thought! Impressive!
     
  17. Mystic_snowfang
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    Mystic_snowfang Member

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    *hugs Echo* You're freaking amazing!

    You deserve an internets for this! *Sagenod*
     
  18. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    *laugh* thanks guys :)

    It's a subject I find really interesting, so I thought the question "let's see, what WOULD I put on a worksheet like that?" would be a fun one to answer ;)
     

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