Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB
I’m not actually all that “in” to Monsters ‑ though I understand they’re very big with a lot of audiences right now. I guess The Walking Dead or Zombies are popular with lots of teens and younger, not to mention all the adults who really eat them up . . . well, wait a minute. That may be a little too much!
But I’ve always loved Fantastical Creatures, even from childhood. And they’ve never lost their charm for me. The trick for writers is coming up with new twists on “old” creatures. To that end, when I went to the LTUE [Life, the Universe, and Everything] Conference last weekend, which caters to gamers, fans and writers of sci‑fi, fantasy, horror, steam punk ‑‑‑ any of the more “weird” genres ‑‑‑ I found myself drawn early on into the workshop touted as MONSTERS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF.
The panel was made up of Larry Correia, Andrea Pearson, Mikey Brooks, Robison Wells, Shirley Bahlman whose stories range from shoot ’em ups, the grotesque, the fanciful, and the creepy (and I probably haven’t nailed ALL of them down).
The biggest thing I got out of it was to try looking at other ethnic groups than your own. I couldn’t agree more. I lived as a young girl in Hawaii. The myths I read were filled with the Hawaiian hero, Maui ‑‑‑ the Polynesian version of Hercules, and Pele the goddess of volcanoes. I loved a Loki‑like imp and the adventures (and troubles!) he got into, And how funny were the Menehune ‑ Polynesian version of Irish leprechauns.
Every year when we got our “textbooks” for the year, I whipped through all the sections which had myths or fairy tales or any type of fantasy in the first couple of days. Then I found myself bored when we had to read the “other” parts of the text with stories about children in a town, or on a farm, or in an “ordinary” school. Loved it, though, when we would read all the ones I’d already read, as a “class assignment.” I read them over and over.
So what did our illustrious writers recommend for a NEW look at OLD sources?
Mermaids, nymphs, dragons, fairy tales, etc., that were not western‑based. Look at the Finnish Kalavalla, Atlantis, Eastern European writings. What about Syria ‑‑‑ so much in the news now ‑‑‑ or the Japanese. (You want dragons? The Japanese have wonderful dragons!)
Or take a gander at The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A‑Z of Fantastic Beings from Myth and Magic by John & Caitlin Matthews, or Wikipedia’s mythology art books. They even said there are free eBooks available from Amazon of other countries’ fairy tales.
How about letting your imagination run wild and make up some of your own? Or think about rare monsters someone else has made up: Larry Correia’s wife told their small children about the Store Wolves ‑‑‑ I think they were located at IKEA ‑‑‑ that ran up and down the aisles looking for small children, presumably to eat! That reminded me of a friend of mine years ago who told her children that our in‑ground trampoline was where we kept the alligators. THAT kept them from going out there to jump alone! Have you heard of the Moving Rocks in Death Valley? Maybe it would be good to examine territorial urban myths for another source!.
Whatever you come up with, have fun, use your imagination, and Write On!
See you next for Saturday’s Spellbinder!