The Writers' Helpers

Magical/Mythical Creatures

You all voted, and you voted for this so there you go. Now I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’m not going to tell you what to do so to speak. But I’m giving my opinion on creating them and thinking about their personality and roots.

If you are creating something based on myth, research that fucker - Did I need to swear there? Probably not. But research should be the first thing you do, for anything. You need to know the basics of the different myths/legend this type of creature is usually involved in. Then start to take it apart, which bits do you like? Which bits don’t you like? Create the lore for your creature. You’ll need to make sure there are no holes in it. Make sure the way of killing it is clear (if you need to kill it) or the history of this creature is understood by you, else your reader has no chance.

List of mythical creatures

Little known mythical creatures

Mythical creatures: what they do and how to kill them

Adapting myth and legend for fiction

Think about the area you are setting this- Different places have different folklore and magical creatures, use this to your advantage. If your story is set in Australia then why not look at some the Aborigines’ myths and legends- why not use them? Think, be creative and use your imagination to twist these things.

English Folklore (you may recognise some from Harry Potter).

European Folklore

European mythical creatures

Legendary creatures from the indigenous North Americans

Asian Legendary creatures

African mythical creatures

Australian mythical creature

The importance of folklore

South American mythical creatures

If you are creating your own, be detailed- creating your own magical creature from the top of your head? GREAT! J.K Rowling did this and it worked for her. I would first of all get an idea of what these characters look like, draw them- be creative. Then think about what their culture is like? Are these ‘evil’ creatures/people? Would they attack humans? Think about the history of this creature and perhaps how accepted it is by humans. Are they like Goblins? Accepted into the magical world but excluded? Or house elves at humans servitude? (Obviously a Harry Potter reference).

Have elements of ‘humans’ in them - But why S? I’m making a magical creature, they don’t need to be human! No, they can be little bat things with scales, it doesn’t matter. A good magcal/mythical creature will be relatable. Okay, here is an example. House elves? They are magical creatures and don’t act like ‘humans’ would, yet their loyalty and the fact they are repressed is something we both understand and sympathise with. Here is another example, Castiel is an angel, he’s fucking powerful and doesn’t act like a typical ‘human’ would by reacting to emotions. But he does have emotions, he does act on them and he is in fact relatable. 

Know what this character/creature’s powers are and then stick to it. It’s fine to create magical characters that are powerful, but this power should have a limit. You should know what this character can and can’t do. I’m not saying this to be a downer but because it’s not as interesting to read about a character that can’t lose, it is to be frank- boring. It is far more interesting to read something and not know who is going to win. By doing this you prevent it from becoming a Mary-sue/Gary-stu. It makes this a real creature/character that is fallible.

Fantastic beasts and mythical creatures

Kick the fantasy cliche

How to describe a fantasy creature

How much can you change fantasy-creatures and get away with it (forum)

So I hope this has helped and I’m sorry if it wasn’t quite what you were expecting. If you have anything to add please feel free to send us a message, I tried to include mythical creatures from around the world but I don’t doubt that I’ve missed places- sorry.

-S

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