Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Creating Fictional Beasts

I love creating fictional beasts. Littered around my house are books on Celtic myths, Gods and Goddess, Irish Folklore, and lots more. And I use them. I use them when I’m stuck working on a story that just begs for a fictional beast, one that can sprout wings, breathe fire or trot on all four legs. But as a writer I take liberties. I like to weave a bit of that and a bit of this into my own new one-of-kind beast. For me that’s when they really come alive, develop special attributes and get named.
Take for instance my Ellora's Cave novellas, Love Me Wild and Love Me Tender (and yes I’m working on the third). In those stories I built a new futuristic world and with the construction of that world I really wanted to add something shocking. Hence the development of my Mage Pegcentaurs. I called them Mage because only a Mage Pegcentaur can shift into any creature and I added wings giving the centaur (horse-like creature) the ability to fly. I needed this character to morph into any other beast in my Love Me Tender story because I didn’t want my main character finding him immediately. Let the chase begin, that was my theory behind it.
I’m working on a new novella that will feature Elementals. These are creatures that can become anything, air, fire, and any other living creature. But with all creatures something needs to bind them in place, or work as a poison. I truly feel that no creature should be omniscient, really where’s the fun in that.
I want to hear from you. What creatures have you created? What names do you give them? Do they have any special features? Share, share, share…you never know when it could be used by a writer in a story.
Speaking of sharing – here’s an excerpt from my Cerridwen Press book Rapture that features yet again one of my made up creatures, I named Tartahounds.
Twice in two days an undersea rupture from the bowels of the Earth had spewed forth a dozen of Hades’ legionnaires and their demonic Tartahounds. Close to four centuries ago, Hades had tried to overtake the undersea kingdom, believing it was his right to overthrow Oceanus’ children. It had taken a massive counterattack with all the Titan leaders from the seven seas working together to finally defeat Hades. However the toll had been enormous.
Thousands of Titans and Sirens had lost their souls to Hades. Nothing could be done for them. Every once in a while Hades liked to test their power, and he would send his legionnaires out to try to break through. Hades’ legionnaires had only tried to overtake the North Seas, where his family lived—that was strange. His father had contacted the other leaders and nothing unusual was happening elsewhere.
Like my mardom needs another problem to deal with. Besides trying to find a cure for the illness affecting his people they were also forced to deal with Hades’ tricks, which were always underhanded.

Seth knew it was a puzzle that warranted more attention. He was sure that was why his father wanted to speak with him at half-tide. Today, he made the decision that extra Titan warriors were needed to patrol all the surrounding shields. They were all on high alert.
This morning it had taken him and two other Titan warriors a good hour to destroy the dozen legionnaires and their Tartahounds who had broken through one of the far perimeter shields. The legionnaires were deadly with their vapor assaults, but the Tartahounds were even more lethal. With a body the shape of an electric eel and its three canine heads, Tartahounds were blind and relied on their ability to scent their prey. One bite and their poisonous venom could render a Titan warrior unconscious.
Mikhail, a friend of Seth’s, had come very close to being contaminated by one of the Tartahounds. The fact the beast had attacked Mikhail on his own, without a legionnaire holding him to a vapor leash, unnerved Seth. Never in his years of dealing with Hades’ legionnaires had he seen a Tartahound unleashed. An off-leash Tartahound could just as easily attack its master. The only thing that controlled them was the vapor leash. Quick thinking on Seth’s part had decapitated the beast, and saved Mikhail from a slow, torturous death.
Rapture can be bought directly from Cerridwen Press at http://www.cerridwenpress.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419910760

Love Me Wild can be bought directly from Ellora's Cave at http://www.ellorascave.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419910104

Love Me Tender can be bought directly from Ellora's Cave at http://www.ellorascave.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419912665

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