If you’re ever stuck for animals to include in your fantasy novel, watch some nature documentaries. There are some truly weird creatures in our world. Seriously, who would’ve thought of a cave-dwelling glow worm that makes hanging silken threads to catch prey and then lights up its tail to attract them? Or how about the hilariously elaborate mating dances of rainforest birds? Even watching shows that simulate how dinosaurs may have interacted provides insight into animal behaviour.
A lot of times when we try to make up mythical or post-apocalyptic creatures, we feel trapped by a sense of having to make them seem plausible. We can’t be too extravagant or weird because the reader won’t be able to suspend their disbelief. But when we look in the real world, we find things that seem entirely implausible. Interesting to note, however, is how each animal is weird for a purpose, that their quirks have developed to help them survive in a particular environment.
So when we make up creatures for our stories, they should reflect the particular world that we’ve created for them. Their quirks should not only help them to survive, but should fit the purpose of the narrative. And how exciting that we can make them as weird and as wonderful as we can imagine.
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