So, what do dragons eat? Why do mermaids have breasts? Are they fresh water or salt? Are there centaur women? If so, do they have breasts or udders? What really is the difference between a sphynx and a gryphon?
These are the questions that are plaguing my mind.
Yes, it sounds weird, and there is probably more than one person wondering about my sanity right now. but keep with me a minute.
These are things I am trying to figure out for the books I’m writing. Why? Because I can. I prefer to write fantasy because, let’s face it, reality is no fun at all. I live in it every single day of my life. I want to escape, like most people who read for pleasure, but I like to take it to extremes.
At the same time, I’m a bit leery. I don’t want to just knock off creatures from Tolkien’s universe nor do I want to use creatures out of the D & D “Monster Manual.” I don’t necessarily agree with either Brian Froud nor Doreen Virtue about the nature of “Fairy Folk” and Angels. So…I get to sit down and figure it all out.
I want to figure it out now because one of my pet peeves is when I’m engrossed in a story and I can see a loophole that was conveniently sewn up by something the author had never mentioned before as existing in that universe. I don’t know if you’re following me here, but this is a convention I’ve noticed a lot in the Harry Potter books. Not picking on them exactly. I love Harry Potter, but they are what they are.
Surprises are one thing, poor planning is something else so I want to make sure I have these details well in hand before I get much farther. Already, in my first round of revisions, I know I have a hole I need to confront, where I’m going to need a creature with specific abilities…and I haven’t for the life of me figured out or created such a beast yet. Right now, the characters don’t know what it is, but I find that convention INCREDIBLY LAME so I’d like to figure that out as well so by the time I get to those revisions in the book, I’ll be able to happily add the details and sleep better at night for doing so.
So…what do dragons eat? Well, I figure it’s going to depend on what kind of dragon it is, or if it is even a dragon at all. Based on nature, the closest animal in size to that of a dragon would be a whale. Some whales eat larger aquatic life, fish and what-not…whereas some of the largest eat plankton, tons and tons of teeeeeeeny tiny critters. Considering that dragons are reptillion in nature (for the most part)…snakes that consume one VERY LARGE meal only once-in-a-great-while could be inspiration as well. Of course, go back to the fairy-stories and they would eat virgin maidens, I suppose…or the movie “Reign of Fire” that conveniently explained why they breathed fire by saying that they essentially consume charcoal; so they roast their food first. I like the logic, but I don’t like the conclusion. Maybe that’s just me.
I already know I disagree with almost everyone about Trolls. At least I have that well-in-hand.
But what’s the difference between gnomes and dwarves? And does ANYONE believe that any fairy-type being with any sense of self-esteem would wear that ridiculous pointed red hat? Honestly?
Mermaids…not sure about fresh water or salt, and that will make a big difference. I’m leaning toward salt…but then that would ruin their skin, wouldn’ t you think? There are all kinds of mythical creatures that inhabit streams and rivers, some that seem very similar to mermaids. Are they the same? Are they different? And what is with those breasts? They don’t have genitalia…so they wouldn’t breed like mammals. Are they like the platypus, a little of both? Do they lay eggs and breast feed the young? Or are the breasts some sort of lure…in which case what do they DO with men if they don’t have genitalia??? Are there Mermen or not? Many authors would say yes…I’m not sure.
Same thing with the centaurs. I’ve never heard of a female one…of course that doesn’t mean that no one has written of them. There’s no way I could have read every book in the world, after all. However, I do wonder. Are there centaur women? Children? Do they women have breasts or udders? Maybe we’ve never heard of them because you wouldn’t know they were women from their torso…?
I confuse myself, and often think in circles until I make a decision about what those creatures in my book are going to be like. Each decision is difficult, but rewarding. I’m building a world and re-populating it with creatures I’m creating…makes me feel rather God-like…<giggle>
And although there aren’t a lot of these things in the first book, there will be more in the next and although I’ve no plot yet for a third (but fantasy novels are ALWAYS written in trilogies…lol) I know there will be many more in it as well. I feel a need to be prepared for this. I want to make sure I have these answers before unknown situations are run into…I guess I’m just a little compulsive…Its okay for the reader to be surprised (preferred, actually) but I don’t think I should be surprised…
Although, to tell the truth, I’m often surprised. Sometimes I feel like I have no control over the creative process at all, it sort-of writes itself. I think it’s going in one direction, this is where I want it to go…but no…somewhere along the line, the characters will take a different fork in the road and all my plans go out the window, leaving me to scramble around for plan B.
I hate that. It really disturbs my compulsive side!
Regardless, I’m having fun. More fun than I’ve had for years. And it’s been surprisingly easy, despite how long it’s been since I’ve ridden this particular horse. Even the dreaded revisions are coming along more easily than I expected. Whether it ever gets professionally published or not…I’ve created something, something different and unique that never existed before. Something no one else would have done, could have done, like I did. And that’s something, dammit.
So back to the grindstone. About those unicorns…