Making a Creature Logbook

  • Print

Issue 61

Making a Creature Logbook

By Cindy Clark

Copyright © 2011, Cindy Clark, All Rights Reserved 


Everyone wants to find that perfect creature for her story -- either a mythical one or something supernatural. Most of all one, a writer wants one that hasn't been used often before - something different. Hours can be spent combing through the internet for such a creature. Mostly the author will find creatures that have been used in fantasy and urban fantasy such as vampires, werewolves and dragons.


After wasting hours searching the internet for something interesting, I decided that maybe making my own creatures would work much better. They would be new and different, or maybe even a twist on something done before. But why just create one? Why not make a whole book of unique creatures? This way I could pull any one of them from the Logbook and slot it into a novel. No more searching for hours for something – new. Having this book by you while you write allows you to throw a creature into a scene quickly, without having to research. You'll know right away how it looks and how your hero or heroine can destroy it.


Here is a check list I've created that helps with adding information for each of your creatures:

1. Find a name generator and write down a dozen (or more) names that show up. They can be anything.

I find that I like this site for odd names that work well for creatures:


2. I decided to do step two away from the computer, though you can easily set up a document file for this part. However, I've found that having a piece of paper in front of you can help you create a creature a bit easier. I found a sketch book and wrote down each of the names I had picked from the name generator, one on each page. You can also use a binder, this way you can add in more paper as the book grows.


3. Next is drawing. You don't have to be an artist for this part. Drawing out a shape of what you want your creature to look like can be a great help. It doesn't have to be perfect. You're the only one that will see this, and a rough drawing can help you put your creature into words. Even if you start with an ear or a tail, it will give you and idea of what you want this creature to look like.


4. Now fill in the information about your creature such as:


  • How is the creature born? By egg, live birth, fire?
  • Do the genders look alike or are they different? Does this creature only have males? Females? If only one gender how do they reproduce?
  • Location of where your creature is found such as mountains, forests or desert.
  • Coloring: Red, green, pink? Many colors? Etc.
  • How is the creature killed? Sword, arrows, bullets?
  • Is the creature hunted? For meat, clothing? Magical qualities?
  • What does the creature eat? Larger or smaller animals? Humans or parts of humans?
  • How long does it live?
  • Size related to a human.
  • Is it dangerous if attacked?
  • Is it weaker or stronger than a human?
  • Does it have poison or another way to defend itself?


5. Write a paragraph of any character seeing this creature. This way you know how to describe it when you add it to a novel or a short story which can save time later.


6. Finally make sure you have a place on the logbook page to write down the novel or short story title where this creature was used. This way you won't reuse the creature more then once.


For my own Creature Book, I have used one page of the logbook and written down well known creatures such as vampires, werewolves, dragons, fairies, elves etc. This way you can do the research for these creatures in advance and write down the ideas you like as you find them.


Here's a great list of creatures from around the world:


Most of all have fun! Creating your own creatures can give your story an unexpected surprise.