5 Ways to Create Fantastical Beasts and Peoples!: Popular Culture


See what others have to say and look for ways to make creatures unique. One way is to do an Image search on you favorite search engine. You will likely come up with pictures, clothes, costumes, figurines, toys, and even jewelry. You many also find references to movies, television shows, and literature.

  • Books: Very popular now (and so difficult to publish new books) are werewolves and vampires, and to a lesser extent – dragons and zombies. On the other end of the spectrum, fantasy author Mercedes Lackey takes horses and cats and gives them magical abilities and histories while leaving their appearance mostly unchanged (she writes about griffons too). There are also poems (“Lamia” by Keats) and short stories, although this media has long been in decline.

  • Comics and Manga: Don’t be shy to browse your local bookstore. Strange creatures for the main characters to fight and befriend. And there are lots of pictures and dialogue.

  • Movies and Television: Both kiddie cartoons and more adult fantasy shows (especially anime) are rife with strange creatures to be rescued or run away from or become allies.

  • Games: fantasty games and RPGs are full of monsters to fight. And every game has to present the monsters a little differently. Sometimes a non-human is part of the fighting group. These characters are especially useful when they act differently from regular humans. They give ideas about the different roles your nonhuman characters could play – sometimes unexpected ones.

  • Toys and Figurines: a strange but effective source for ideas are dog chew toys (see photo) and baby toys. That aside, any common fantasy creature will have toys and figurines modeled after them. Maybe you’ll find one that fits your image or gives you inspiration. I found a figurine of dragons in flight that worked perfectly for a book I was writing. I keep it on my desk.

2 thoughts on “5 Ways to Create Fantastical Beasts and Peoples!: Popular Culture

  1. Y’know, I’d actually consider writing about vampires if there weren’t so many vampire books out already. As things are, it just seems a waste of time.

    In any case, I definitely agree with your suggestions here. Part of being original is knowing all that has come before, in my view 😉


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