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Old 01-14-2013, 06:43 AM   #1
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Have you ever made up your own mystical creature?

?

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Old 01-14-2013, 08:05 AM   #2
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I've attempted to make up a lot of them, but I run into the same problem. I guess it's simply the fact that humans are predisposed to base their imaginations off of things that are real. I would suggest perhaps researching some more exotic and unknown species and traits from them, as well as creatures of folklore, and see if you can get anything from mixing and matching and whatnot.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:46 AM   #3
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The awesome thing about mythology is that many cultures who had nothing to do with each other in the distant past still managed to come up with similar mythological creatures. Like many different cultures have some version of a vampire or werewolf or shapeshifter or ghost. The details are different but the basic gist is the same. I feel like you can totally make up your own creature and if it's similar to ones that are already made up, that's okay. You have to make sure you're actually creating a new creature with traits similar to established ones, not just putting a new spin on an old myth (like sparkling vampires). There's nothing wrong with putting a new spin on established creatures, you should just know which it is you're doing.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:53 PM   #4
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The awesome thing about mythology is that many cultures who had nothing to do with each other in the distant past still managed to come up with similar mythological creatures. Like many different cultures have some version of a vampire or werewolf or shapeshifter or ghost. The details are different but the basic gist is the same. I feel like you can totally make up your own creature and if it's similar to ones that are already made up, that's okay. You have to make sure you're actually creating a new creature with traits similar to established ones, not just putting a new spin on an old myth (like sparkling vampires). There's nothing wrong with putting a new spin on established creatures, you should just know which it is you're doing.
I second that. Similarities also give you the collective unconscious benefit, as readers feel that maybe they've heard of something like that before, making it seem even more real. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you make your creature too bizarrely different it may come across as more alien than mystical. So be creative and don't get hung up on similarities with existing creatures.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:09 AM   #5
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I always wanted to write something no one else has written, but i see the publishing draw backs..
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:30 PM   #6
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Jungian archetypes will always come to the fore in these cases, all part of the collective unconscious (also a reason why stories with cliches in are often more satisfying - we want to see the hero succeed...).

You'll likely riff off an established myth but you can twist things and make them different in so many different ways - merging ideas (conflating vampires with succubi or sirens for example), changing them (making vampires protoplasmic), reversing them (making the vampire the hero instead of the villain) and other things can take something established and make it new and interesting.

So, maybe start with the creature you think is most like what you need and consider how to repsray it and change the serial numbers enough to make it yours.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:06 PM   #7
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Thank you for your words of wisdom!
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:51 PM   #8
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It's very, very difficult to come up with something that shares no features with any established mythology, just by virtue of the fact that we humans have been doing this for tens of thousands of years. But it's certainly possibly to create something that isn't just an elf or a werewolf with the serial numbers scraped off.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:13 AM   #9
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Have you ever made up your own mystical creature?

I gave it a shot with a creature called a Paddymous Giant in Planet Janitor. It's actually an alien life form.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:34 AM   #10
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I have scaled/armoured deer somewhere of which I'm rather fond, even if that too is hardly original. But most of the time I actually prefer working with existing mythological creatures and subverting them somewhat to my need, instead of actually trying to come up with something entirely orginal. Mostly because there are so many totally awesome (some often stil very obcure) mythological creatures already around. Heck, sometimes there are more than enough natural creatures that are so completely bonkers you couldn't make them up if you tried!

And as a reader I know I can enjoy a clever spin on an existing creature just as much as something entirely new.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:29 AM   #11
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I had blue people well before the movie Avatar, but well after the book The Irda.
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:26 AM   #12
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I have made up my own mythology. I made creatures based on a common fantasy concept, but the creatures are nothing like the concept...if you know what I mean? They aren't a spin, or twist. It was more like, this common supernatural concept sucks...what would I create instead?

I find it much easier to twist my favorite mythologies into creatures that aren't quite the stereotypical myth, but still something familiar and interesting. This is really easy and fun to do. You simply need to research the supernatural creature and find everything you possibly can about them...then change it.

Did you now there was a pre-Dracula vampire that needed the moon to survive? You can do something interesting with that. Research leads to endless possibilities.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:02 AM   #13
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Did you now there was a pre-Dracula vampire that needed the moon to survive? You can do something interesting with that. Research leads to endless possibilities.
I remember reading somewhere years ago that some culture believed vampires had blue fur. I want to say it was ancient Egypt, but I can't remember now. That would certainly be a new direction in which to go.

I created my own species for my WIP, which are similar to lycanthropes in that they have animal features, but that's pretty much where it ends. I find actually creating creatures or twisting existing creatures isn't too hard for me, it was the developing the history to back it up that was difficult.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:52 PM   #14
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I remember reading somewhere years ago that some culture believed vampires had blue fur. I want to say it was ancient Egypt, but I can't remember now. That would certainly be a new direction in which to go.

I created my own species for my WIP, which are similar to lycanthropes in that they have animal features, but that's pretty much where it ends. I find actually creating creatures or twisting existing creatures isn't too hard for me, it was the developing the history to back it up that was difficult.
A consistent history is hard. I explain my mythology to my husband, and he's like "But what about?..." there are all these things that need to line up. It is fun though.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:11 PM   #15
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I've often thought about the fact that we're living at the bottom of a sea of air. What if a civilisation lived on the surface of that sea, not carbon based or oxygen breathing. We have a limited sense array and might not be able to detect their presence or understand their civilisation, they might not be able to detect or understand ours, but they could be disturbed by our increasing activity in their area.

Haven't named them yet.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:26 PM   #16
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I think that there's a lot more possibilities than we sometimes realize. Just takes some willingness to really think outside the box and make originality a priority. The more original the idea you start from is, the easier time you'll have distinguishing your story, because you're not fighting against every other werewolf/demon/vampire/etc. out there.

My addled, sleepless brain produced, when I saw this thread:

Giant flying manta ray-like creatures that rearrange the stars at night; if one is caught, it will carry it's rider up into the sky to speak to the gods.

That idea was so delightfully random that I couldn't help sharing it. I shall tuck that idea away for later.

Working on something with the much more traditional demon right now, though. Ah well.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:39 AM   #17
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Quote:
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You'll likely riff off an established myth but you can twist things and make them different in so many different ways - merging ideas (conflating vampires with succubi or sirens for example), changing them (making vampires protoplasmic), reversing them (making the vampire the hero instead of the villain) and other things can take something established and make it new and interesting.

So, maybe start with the creature you think is most like what you need and consider how to repsray it and change the serial numbers enough to make it yours.
That's basically what I did with The Fallen. They're a combination of fallen angel mythology and succubus folklore. Instead of the religious origins, like with angels, they're creatures that live in the stratosphere, made of "light and air" - gaseous and photonic (er, if that's the right word). A small number of them swoop down to see what's happening on the surface of the planet and become fascinated with the idea of a corporeal existence. They're curious to find out what physical sensation is like, so they create a human body and inhabit it - animate it with their light and air form. The succubus part comes in when they experience physical sensation. They become hungry for pleasure, and must feed on it.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:42 AM   #18
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:06 AM   #19
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I tend to completely make creatures from scratch actually. Like the one eyed toad lizard fish, that's a delicacy in world often eaten with sour kraut by a four armed green skinned Cyclops.
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:04 AM   #20
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A consistent history is hard. I explain my mythology to my husband, and he's like "But what about?..." there are all these things that need to line up. It is fun though.
Agreed. It's great that you have your husband to help you fill in the holes though. I've kind of gone the route of being sort of vague. I figure we don't have a clear or agreed upon idea of where we or any other animals came from, so it would be natural for other creatures to not know how they came to be. I like history, so I'll allude to events in history, but I won't necessarily develop it in any linear way.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:53 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Liosse de Velishaf View Post
It's very, very difficult to come up with something that shares no features with any established mythology, just by virtue of the fact that we humans have been doing this for tens of thousands of years. But it's certainly possibly to create something that isn't just an elf or a werewolf with the serial numbers scraped off.
LOL. Yes, Joseph Campbell's research is testament to that.

Yeah, I tend to work with pre-existing and recognizable forms and concepts, but build an idiosyncratic and complex culture or mythology around those.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:42 PM   #22
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No. Not completely from scratch. But I do enjoy taking a familiar creature and making it my own. So that is recognizable, but not cliched and boring. Or at least, I try.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:48 AM   #23
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a giant snake, that can fly and is rainbow coloured
it talks too...telepathically
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:25 PM   #24
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Whenever I make up my own magical creature, it's normally because my world building gets away from me.

Like, I combined an idea with vampires and demons and all that... (semi generic?) stuff with another one where the witches were the only magical creatures around, and there were no demons or werewolves or vampires or any other sort of supernatural creatures minus witches.

So if I wanted to keep the vampires, I had to change them so that the witches made them, which changed them from vampires to magically-made superhumans.

IDK if that made sense. But normally, I work with an established idea and morph it around to fit my universe. Not sure whether that counts as making your own or doing a new take on something else.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:39 PM   #25
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Yes I have, as a matter of fact - a woman who finds me irresistible.

Had to scrap the idea though. Wasn't credible.
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