1. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    Should I name each type of monster?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TheApprentice, Aug 31, 2016.

    My novel's world has ugly little monsters infesting the planet to the point where all the "regular" animals are kept in secure compounds for protection. I was typing up the part of my novel where I began explaining a little bit about what was going on when I thought to Pokemon...and basically any fantasy story involving monsters. All the different types of monsters are named. Problem is, the point of my novel's monsters is that they are abominations, and are not really always 100% alike looking. The spider types of monsters will have differing numbers of eyes and legs. The tentacle mass monsters might only have two fat tentacles or 100 skinny little tentacles. The appearance is sort of random only there are some similarities.

    Would you consider it boring or lazy of the author not to name each different type of monster?
     
  2. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    It doesn't sound lazy to me. I'd prefer each classification of monster having a name so they're not all just vaguely referred to as monsters, but even that much isn't necessary, I think. It kind of depends on your setting - what would make sense in-universe for them to be called? In a project of mine, there are monsters that're just referred to by what's left of the common folk as monsters / creatures / things, but if we're talking scientific classification, they all probably need fancy Greek/ Latin names. If it's just a matter of what regular people call them, then "those ugly ones with all the tentacles" fits better.
     
  3. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    If these aren't naturally occurring monsters or one-offs like Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster, then I don't really see a problem with not naming them. In fact, I'd caution against descriptions at length until a POV character sees one. It might add to the tension, bringing an element of the unknown.

    What I would find lazy is to have descriptions and names in a list at the beginning. I want to experience the monsters with a character in which I'm invested. I want a little chaos and unknown in my novels. I don't want everything spoon fed to me.

    I was reading a book about narrative today and there was a part about humans being attracted to animals and babies because we gravitate towards figuring out what they are trying to tell us with their deficient narrative skills. I applied the thinking to writing and not wanting to be spoon fed. We want details but we want to experience those details.

    I hope this makes sense; I've had a long day. Probably, I shouldn't have commented but for what they're worth, those are my thoughts. :agreed:
     
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  4. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    No.

    If a specific monster is important and crops up repeatedly, name that one so you don't have to keep saying, the google-eyed abomination with scaly feet and poisonous jello-squirting butt-hole. It just makes things easier for you.

    But for the rest? They're just background noise—like thunderclouds on a rainy day—and I don't see any reason to describe them all.
     
  5. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    If random ugly abominations started appearing in our world you can bet science will be all over that biz. They will be dissecting those critters and finding common links between them, learning their strengths and, more importantly, their weaknesses, and totally giving them names.

    I would find it unrealistic if that was not the case in your world. Especially if these beasts are a threat to the natural ecosystems. Maybe science has one name for a particular creature, but they are known by something else in more common vernacular. You don't have to refer to them all by name but certainly the ones that are significant to the plot.
     
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  6. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    Oh no! I just typed up yesterday that the "pests" had been a problem for decades. I guess I should edit that out and let the reader figure it out on their own.
     
  7. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Not all telling is bad telling. Whether or not you leave that in is mostly subjective. If it fits with the narrative and it's a portion that should be told, you shouldn't have to remove it.

    There are no absolutes in writing. Your intuition should tell you when something is working or it's not. Intuition is really the best way to judge how you should approach certain aspects of the craft.
     
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  8. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    That - show don't tell is a cliche - in reality show vs tell is a balancing act not an absolute one or the other

    If it bothers you you can always put it in dialogue " those squirtles have been a pain in my arse for years" said grizly bob " for every one we boil alive in hot marmalade another two seem to pop up, and i'll tell you getting that hot marmalade into the water pistols, boy that is man's work "

    That aside on the naming front, my suggestion is to make the monster memorable and reasonably few in number of types - otherwise the reader will be left thinking " A slither-womble ? is that the one with the prensile testicles , or is it the big purple thing with two heads a bad taste in music ? "

    ETA - that was supposed to be presile tentacles , but i quite like the idea of a monster who's special power is prensile testicles so i'll leave it in
     
  9. Nicola
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    Nicola Member

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    If this was real the media would name them something which reflected the public mood and the scientific experts would name them according to their classification/species.

    To give them pet names like Pokemon would make them personable, collectible beings rather than one big anonymous threat.
     
  10. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    I actually think leaving them unnamed would add to the "scary" part....if they have names they become alost familiar...if not they are unnameable they become the creeping monster in the dark.
     
  11. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    I wouldn't name all of them. I suggest having an overall name for the monsters and then maybe a few groups of how they look. Like "Spider like ones" or "Tenticle Ones" and whenever you find a new one you through it into the best category it fits in. Hope that makes sense.
     

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