Ontahl’Yan Word of the Day

The Ontahl’Yan Word of the Day is Turu-Heofan. This word means the “Bull of the Heavens” where the Ancients are said to reside.  Stay tuned to learn more Ontahl’Yan. Turu-Heofan 

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I’amar  Solar System

Hello and welcome to the I’amar  solar system from my book series. This solar system is located in the Ed’Hdn Galaxy and home to RandAnar and Ontahl’Ya. There are all total 11 planets in the system. From left to right the planets are Sudera, Veni, Ontahl’Ya, RandAnar, Tian, Mici-Lan, Jatla, Haehesal, asteroid belt, Feri, Parin, Kron.

I'amar system 300PX

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Power and Impact of Names in Your Story

In my story names are important, they carry meanings that speak to who the character are or how they were imagined to be. Some of the characters carried more than one name in their lives. While similar in sounds the name shows a change in their station of life. While having more than one name and spelling for the characters may be a cause for confusion, I strove to keep each name in respect to the culture that surrounded the character while using that name. Hopefully I was successful.

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For some writers the naming of characters, places , or things become an over welcoming experience. For other writers there is very little value placed on name. For most writers there is an in-between area, important yes, anal no. Where do you fit into this?

For me names are very important, tipping on the scale on anal. The name has to fit the characters, place, or item. I have been known to spend a year deciding on a name. Once the name sounds and looks right to me, then the story can continue forward. Until then the story uses placeholders.

Think on this, unless you are looking for a comical aspect to your story, a monstrous man-eating beast that has killed all the inhabitants of a village, well naming that beast Fuzzy Wuzzy just does not put the fear of death into the reader. However does one want to go the other extreme calling it a Maneater Death slayer. Somewhere there is a happy medium: a name that invokes the fear yet does not slide into a cartoon.

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While contemplating think on the other side of the coin so to speak. For example, we have a war going on with one side winning. What would the enemy call themselves? How would the victors refer to that enemy? Both sides will have reasons for the names. The enemy wants to appear moral and just in the war, while the victors want a name that demeans or corrupts the enemy? Names then become a basic propaganda method used to rally support for a war.

In everyday life, one can tell much about a person with a name. Most names are of course gendered. However let us go deeper into the names chosen. A name can visually instill into your character who or what they are, possibly their occupation (example: Cooper is an occupational name for a maker or repairer of barrels and the like), or maybe even their station in life.

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What is the history of the name chosen. Not just the etymology of the name, but why it was chosen in the story context. How did others perceive this name? Who gave the name in your story? The name a nickname or in honor of someone?

Going one step forward does your character like his or her name? If dislike why? Can he or she change the name. Is there a famous person in your story that was the inspiration for the name? Does the name represent a stage of life? And finally can your reader pronounce the name inside his or her head?

True name

In some religions, myths, and a well as stories, often time a character will have two names. One is considered a true name. the soul or power of the item. If you know that true name then you have power over that item. For instance thin of the Egyptian story where Ra was bamboozled into telling Isi his true name thus giving her power over him by placing her son Horus upon the throne. In Homer’s Odyssey Ulysses shouts out Nobody when asked for his name by the cyclops Polyphemus. Stories tell of Rumpelstiltskin where a child could be freed by a woman knowing the name and the monstrous Nix who could be defeated by shouting their name.

Could your character have a true name, maybe it is his or her nickname.

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Whatever name you choose, it must be your choice in the end and one you must approve of. And if that task is a bit overwhelming with all the names, here are:

Drum rolllll ………Name generators
There are some great generators that may aide you in finding that perfect name.

Name Generator
https://www.name-generator.org.uk/

Fantasy Name Generators
https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/

Behind the Name – the etymology and history of first names
https://www.behindthename.com/random/

Seventh Sanctum
https://www.seventhsanctum.com/index-name.php

Rum and Monkey
https://rumandmonkey.com/widgets/toys/namegen#.XL4_sOhKhPY

Fantasy Name Generator
http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/

Screen Name Generator
https://www.namegenerator.biz/screen-name-generator.php

Your Randomly Generated Identity
https://www.fakenamegenerator.com/
Business name generator
https://www.shopify.com/tools/business-name-generator

Some links to check out

How To Come Up With A Character Name: an Author’s Guide
https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-come-up-with-a-character-name/

6 Creative Ways to Name Your Fictional Characters
https://thewritelife.com/6-creative-ways-to-name-your-fictional-characters/

The 7 Rules of Picking Names for Fictional Characters
https://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/the-7-rules-of-picking-names-for-fictional-characters

How to Name Your Fictional Character
https://www.wikihow.com/Name-Your-Fictional-Character

How To Choose Character Names
https://nybookeditors.com/2016/04/how-to-choose-character-names/

8 Tips for Naming Characters
https://thewritepractice.com/8-tips-for-naming-characters/

5 Steps To Naming Your Characters Effectively
https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/5-steps-naming-characters-effectively/

What Kind of Name Is That?
https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2016/02/08/what-kind-of-name-is-that/

Power of Names
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/writing-challenges/power-of-names/

The Power of Names
https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-power-of-names

The Power of Names: How What You’re Called Influences Who You Are
https://curiosity.com/topics/the-power-of-names-how-what-youre-called-influences-who-you-are-curiosity/

The Power of Names
https://www.keen.com/articles/spiritual/the-power-of-your-name

True name
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_name

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Map Making: Attempt 1

My attempt to make a map. This is Monarch Island and surrounding zone on RandAnar, the only area still inhabitable.

 

D4TOM4DUcAAWmzQ.jpg

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Arches, Gates, and Doors: Symbolism in your story

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Beyond architectural aspect; the pure symbolism. Door, gates, arches all represent transitioning from one place to another. Either another room, from outside to inside, or it can be from the everyday drab world into a magical existence. So many options and ideas to play with in this subject. Even I have a Pinterest page that contains doors to inspire ideas for writers, check it out when you have the time. I add periodically as I find interesting “doors” https://www.pinterest.com/jajsterling/writing-inspiration-enter-into-another-world/ .

In my first book, Prophecy of the Ancients, I have a place where the characters pass through an arch before going on to open a door to a chapel. It was suggested to me to make the chapter shorter, just eliminate the arch and have the characters go straight to the door. While yes eliminating the arch and scene surrounding that arch would indeed make the chapter shorter, it would also remove part of the symbolism I was injecting into the scene. In essence I would be taking away what is in the principle of the place; the symbolism. In this case the arch is the division between the secular world of man and the sacred world of the Ancients. Thus the arch allows those who can read the ancient script, those have earned the right to proceed to the chapel and into the presence of the sublime, the spiritual.

I use door and entrance ways several time in my book series representing the mundane to the spiritual aspects of a pass-through device. One example of the mystical is in The Veil used in book one. The Veil separates humanoids from the coldness of an alien world and the realm of myths or legends. Once you physically pass through the Veil you are on the path of uncertainly, leaving the safety of reality behind. The Veil can repeal those who seek hate, yet will allow some to pass if they dare. The humanoid must heed the call and challenge of the Veil.

Look at the world around you, when you pass through the threshold into your home, you feel safe and secure from the outside world. This space has for the person become sacred. Look at gardens with flowering vines cascading over arches that one passes through, the feeling of entering a new area of a garden or just a respite of flowers that you can admire all around you.

There are natural pass-through formations. For example the spectacular color arch formation such a Rainbow Bridge, Rainbow Bridge National Monument in Utah or even the narrow passage to Petra that opens into a view of the massive carved facade of Al-Khazneh, the Treasury. Both have that “ooo” moment that can take one’s breath away.

Man-made door and entrances can create that same “ooo” moment. When one walks into the cathedrals of Europe, you are leaving the mundane world of man and entering space occupied by God. The great expanse inside, the high ceilings, and stain glass gives one of sense they have entered another realm, in which the Almighty reigns. And that was the purpose.

Another example of the power of an arch by evading the arch itself. In 1905 a single student at the University of Georgia Arch made a decision not to walk under the black arch until he graduated with a diploma in hand. Despite having to go around the arch by jumping a low fence he maintained that vow that was then followed upon by others to this day.

Consider how the Arc de Triomphe in Paris saw the Germans under Hitler march through in 1940 to conquered Paris followed in 1945 when the French and Allies march through victorious. What is interesting to note is both sides, Axis and Allies (1940 and 1944/45), did not walk under the arch out of respect for the tomb for the Unknown solider located there within and thus the symbolism that stands for. That is a powerful clue to the nature of those passing through, their leaders, or the culture itself.

Give some thought to the “Plain Jane” door or arches, why do you have them. Think about building layer into your story that would either be shoved into the readers face or secretly work on a subconscious level?

Dream interpretation of doors, tarot readings with arches, or even symbolic nature of gates… so many many many areas one can research to get ideas on how a simple idea of a door, gate, and arch can be expanded upon. Here are some information I came upon while researching the net for this little blog piece. Use or not as you see fit and write your own version of how a gate, door, or arch impacts symbolism for your story.

Some random sites that one may find interesting…..

Symbolism
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolism

Symbol
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbol

Symbology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbology_(disambiguation)

Dictionary of Symbolism
http://umich.edu/~umfandsf/symbolismproject/symbolism.html/index.html

Symbolism

Symbol Dictionary
http://symboldictionary.net/

Examples of Symbolism
https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-symbolism.html

The Influence of the Roman Arch
https://www.eduplace.com/kids/socsci/ca/books/bkf3/writing/06_romarch.pdf

Gateway Arch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_Arch

Rock arches are singing and scientists are listening – Science Nation

Birth of the Gothic: Abbot Suger and the ambulatory at St. Denis

Symbols and symbolism explained

Arch Symbol Meanings In the Tarot
http://www.tarotteachings.com/arch-meaning.html

Arch Dream Meanings
https://www.dreaminterpretation.pro/arch

Symbolic Meaning of Rainbows
https://www.whats-your-sign.com/symbolic-meaning-of-rainbows.html

Dream Bible
http://www.dreambible.com

Superstition of gates
https://www.auntyflo.com/Superstition-dictionary/gate

Symbolism of Doors
Symbolism of Doors

Symbolism of the closed doors
https://embracetheworldsite.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/symbolism-of-the-closed-doors/

Uncover Hidden Dream Meanings
https://www.auntyflo.com/dream-dictionary/door

Dreams about Door
https://www.dreamlookup.com/index.php/search/level1/Door/

The meaning of the dream symbol: Door
http://dreamicus.com/door.html

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Food and Drink: The Culinary Experience of Your World

Unless the people in your world do not eat or consume energy in any form, all cultures have food or drink customs surrounding food items, morals, ethics on killing or harvesting, historical importance, religious limitations, laws, or social conformity to what is eaten, how food is consumed, and why food or the drink exists.

Even if in your world, the inhabitants do not physically chew the food, absorbing energy by any means is a form of ingesting. So maybe in your world the main food source is a stone that releases a type of energy that is absorbed by those in your world. Maybe the substance goes straight through to the stomach bypassing any mouth. Both are forms of eating.

Take a look at your world and think along food and drink lines. Where does the food come from? How is it prepared? Are their special foods?

What is your favorite food and why? Use that as a base for your world, would the character like what you like or be appalled at your diet?

Think also on expanding or even limiting the senses. Maybe in your world a person can see what they taste, as in the odor? Maybe they can taste the color of the food? How would red taste different than say blue? What if your world had no taste receptacles for heat/spiciness or sweetness: how would that affect what they eat or how they perceive another culture that can?

Sources of food

Generally food comes from one of three types of main sources: farming/ranching, hunting/fishing, or gathering/foraging. Deepening on your world one or all three may be employed.

What percentage of your food is farm produced? Are these big farms or small farms? Does the amount of produced harvested fit the needs of the population? What about gleaners, is that practiced used and if so again why? Does the biome yield to food produce? If not what special technology or magic is employed to assure an harvest?

Hunting, is it allowed and if so what animals are protected if any from the hunt? Is there a ritual done before killing an animal; either domesticated or wild? Is all the animal used or just a percentage? If so what is the justification of that act?

Is all food shared communally, sold/bartered by individuals, or is the food rationed out by a government/religious official? If so are the rations equal? If unequal what is the basis for calculating who will get what?

Then you need to decide what level of technology is incorporated into your food production. Are their high production farms that yield record crops on scant small land usage based on scientific formulas and chemicals? Or do your inhabitants prefer to let nature take the rein even if the yields are poor.

What of the religious or ethics are involved in the planting or harvesting of food? Does your world have strict kill policies or anything is game to eat? What of religious diet, are there any food that are forbidden to your inhabitants? Is there specific ways a food must be harvested from the fields?

So what does YOUR world say about food or drink? How does the “culinary world” define your world?

Food and Society

Are there any restaurants, cafes, drive up window idea? As eating establishments frowned upon? Is the idea of family dinners preferred?

What about single diners? Are single eaters allowed in food establishments? Or are such places only for single eaters and not groups?

Is there any talking allowed while eating? Drinking? What about utensils are there any main in etiquette rules? For example what fork to use or how to place those chopsticks.

If you have more than one culture on your world, how does food show the difference between the two cultures? Does the food cause any problems between the different cultures?

If you have more than one main culture on your world, do you address the differences in food preferences? Is there a stereotypical dish that represents the culture and everyone eats it no matter what?

Another idea one must take into account is can the reader identify with the food item you are mentioning? For example, would the reader be able to smell the bread cooking even if the bread is alien to the eyes. The common thread is that bread is common and thus have point of reference with your character.

Or would the reader take offense or felt nauseated with what your characters are eating? Maybe that is the goal to shock out the reader.  Strong emotions that can be elicited can help or sink a story.

Over the years or time period, can palates or popularity of food change? Is the food now the same as it was 20, 50, 100, 1000 years ago in your world? If food has changed why? No longer available? Mood set of the populace has changed? The food no longer taste the same? No one eats (blank) because it has become associated with death?

So you have different level of classes in your society? If so does that show in their food habits? Does everyone eat the same basic food items despite how rich or poor they are? Are only certain items deemed for the top percentage of the society or even bottom?

Hunger, does that exist on your world? Are inhabitants dying from lack of food? What is your culture doing if this is a concern? Is there a reasoning for the hunger? War? Ecological? Overpopulation? Greed? Environmental?

One more thing to consider: are there any eating disorders? Is there a reason someone may eat little or a lot? Is the impact negative or positive? Is there solutions? Does your society shun anyone who participates in such or praise them?

Food Preparation

Is there one main gender that does all the cooking? Is there the role split between genders? If a career is it considered useful, productive, high skill or low skilled?

How is food prepared in your world? Special rituals for all meals?

What kind of cooking equipment is used? Regular run of the mill, robots, specialty items? Is some equipment only used at certain times of the year depending on seasons or holidays?

Is there any hand preparation or is all the food already done when purchased?

Is there any training in your culture to cook?

What type of devices are used for the cooking of the food? High technology machines, microwaves only, fire pits, regular ovens? Magic?

Does your culture have recipes? Family generated ones? Is there anything that can spoil a recipe? Why are certain dishes popular? Is there a version of fast food? Junk food? Comfort food?

Are certain smells inciting, like bacon? Or is the smell of food cooking offensive to a culture?

What about super-foods? Highly nutrient foods, yummy or gross tasting? What about foods that have an effect on the body, from emery inducing, hallucinogenic/ mood altering, to curative properties? Maybe certain food give the user properties that could be considered paranormal or superpowers?

Now that the food is ready to eat….

How and where does one eat? Does your inhabitants eat with a mouth and teeth to chew, gnash? Or is there a unique way to eat? Maybe a sucker type mouth etc. The physical act of eating will determine a lot about what your culture eats and why.

So let us for now go with tradition chewing and swallowing. Where does one eat? Standing up, while walking, on the computer, or in a vehicle?

If a table involved, is there a specific way in which it is set? Any rituals involved? Difference for holidays and regular days? What kind of plates and utensils are used? Plastic, china, pottery, metal? Is there any ban on certain plates etc. or the way they are used or disposed of?

Communal style dishes with a pass the dish idea? Does one person put food on a plate for each member of the table? Does one person do the carving of meat or dishing? Separate dishes for separate foods? Is there a hierarchy in how you receive your food?

If one person stops eating do all?

When are the children feed, separately or with the rest?

Mind your P’s and Q’s

What is the etiquette applied to food and drink? All cultures have some form of etiquette in connection with food, so what are yours?

Maybe in your culture making the most noise possible will show appreciation for the food? Maybe silence shows the same idea in another culture? If the two eat together what could one expect: tolerance and understanding or offensive and anger?

Are there servants? How are they treated? How does the diner treat the servants?

Any napkins or toothpicks? Or does one just use the sleeve and a knife point to pick the teeth?

Are there different etiquette practices for class, business, and religious strata? What happens of your cross that strata when not a member? What happens if you violate etiquette customs? Any specific manners that must be adhered to?

Religious Viewpoints

If you have a religion in your story, how does that play into food? Nothing in particular? What you may or may not eat regulated? If so what is the reasoning, superstition, tradition, or a sacred text said so therefore?

What is forbidden by law, social morals, or religious views?

Is there any prayers, sacraments, or ceremonies that accompany food?

Does the government or religion have a say in what a person may or may not eat? How much they can eat? Or even when they are allowed to eat?

Spices, Condiments, oh my!!!

As a culture, do your inhabitants prefer sweet foods, savory, society, or bland foods? Are spices an integral part of the economy let alone the food? What types of spices are used regularly? Any reasoning as to why?

Is spice being used to as a preservative like salt? Is spice used as a marinade?

Is there any condiments that your culture absolutely needs, like ketchup/catsup? Does your culture frown upon a condiment used on certain foods?

Is your character ‘lost’ if he/she/it cannot have needed item with their food?

So your character is finished eating: what now????

What happens after a meal?

If a guest how does one thank the host of the party/gathering where food or drink was served? Is there any specific rites or rituals that must be followed? Does you culture expect long drawn out thanks-you and accolades or just a quick bye? Maybe your culture does not speak but sends out thanks by way of written word or a gift?

How does one pay for food at a restaurant etc.? Is it paid upfront, afterwards? Is cash used or do you do the dishes for the food idea?

Drinks, drinking songs, or just fish tales to entertain.

Drinking a liquid is needed by most lifeforms, though there are always exceptions to the rules. So let’s say in your world the inhabitants need fluids to survive. More than likely that would be water, however it does not need be. It can be any fluid, even alcoholic if your species had evolved to avoid the obvious effects on the physical body or actions.

Do you have taverns, bar, clubs, or drinking establishments? What kind of libations are carried in these establishments? Strong drink, nonalcoholic, natural teas, or maybe magic elixirs.

Is there a minimal age to be in those drinking establishments? Why? Are all genders/races allowed, or only one section?

Do the drinking establishment gear themselves to average friendly citizen, rough crowd, looking for illegal activity, or just wanting love in all the ‘right’ places?

Any religious objections or encouragement to an alcoholic drink? What about accidental alcohol intake like a fermented cider or fruit?

Are people happy when they drink, especially if alcohol affects the body or is the mean drunk more common in your world?

How are beverages made: huge corporations, small businesses, or combo? How are beverages marketed?

Best part of any meal: Desserts

What kind of candy/desserts do people eat in your world? Is sugar or honey even known? Any artificial sugar? Is it banned? If a rare commodity what links will one go to gain a sweetening agent?

Are sugar item frowned upon? Only for holidays? Only for certain career levels or as rewards for socialistic behavior?

Odds and ends to think about: 

In your world is there one meal that is significant for either religious (think communion or last supper motif), a wedding that failed miserably, eating for the dead rituals, or even a ‘come to dinner for malicious intentions’ (loosely Medea in Golden Fleece idea).

Superstitions about eating, like throwing salt over left shoulder (to reverse a bad omen) or picking up bread that has fallen and kissing it before tossing it (the idea there is bread is the staple of life)

Any famous chefs or cooks? What have they done to achieve such success? Are they a one name off character or have a depth that can add to the plot?

Are there food bans? Taxes? Rationing? Food banks? Communal gardens?

Are people allowed to have gardens or raised their own farm animals? Is the practice restricted? If so, what is the reasoning there are restrictions?

In the evolutionary record of your world, is there any particular food or drink that would be detrimental or cause discomfort among any of the inhabitants/races?

How does your world store the food? Are there freezers? Ice caves? Root cellars? Jars or pottery? Any kind of refrigeration at all? Certain foods need to be cold to work, simple example gelatin or ice cream. If there is limited refrigeration then if there is a cold spell in the seasons, are these kinds of food popular?

Last but not least: is poison an issue in your world? Do you have testers? Special equipment to scan for poison? Can all poisons be detected? Can some slip pass the technology of the land?

Some videos I found online that may be of help to you

World Building: Fantasy Food and Rations
https://youtu.be/WjohfZp8_AI

World Building – Food
https://youtu.be/r-Y8qwV4LW4

Food in Novels | World Building Help
https://youtu.be/7q9wmwSc_-0

World building: Food
https://youtu.be/SmaXlhwAWUw

A Beast Requires: World Building Through Food
https://youtu.be/ly-OqzqN3P0

Worldbuilding Wednesday, episode 1: Metal and Food
https://youtu.be/hqQPixeVBHM

Lore and world building: food
https://youtu.be/x94B-vBJdos

Dive into Worldbuilding: Food!
https://youtu.be/GJ0HBamgzWk

Forager Forge | The Civilised Neighbours

Bird Island | The Food Web (not in English but captioned)
https://youtu.be/VL4qIqruLWw

Bird Island | The Rainforest Buffet (not in English but captioned)
https://youtu.be/v_nkBSSJbLU

Posted in blog, characters, culture, food, Uncategorized, world-building, Write, writer, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating Animals Part 1

Creating Animals for your world

I noticed some time ago that most fantasy authors use the same basic animals in their fantasy worlds: deer, wolves, rabbits, bears, foxes, squirrels, snakes etc. All of these are animals common to western Europe and North America. C. S. Lewis broke from this pattern a bit by throwing some exotic animals such as apes, cheetahs, and lions into Narnia, but even then the Talking Beasts that usually played the biggest roles were ones familiar to Western Society. The only variances are the magical/fantastical creatures that are thrown in to make things interesting.

Now given that most fantasy is written by those living in either North America or Europe, and use the same basic climates as their homeland for their stories, it’s not surprising that the wildlife would be similar. However, I still think that this an area where a little creativity can aid in giving your worlds their own unique feel. So, we’re going to look at four possible approaches to spicing up the biodiversity of your fantasy worlds apart from creating new creatures.

The first approach is to look at creatures in our world that live in similar climates/and environments as your world that aren’t commonly considered in fantasy worlds. For instance, there are some species of monkeys that live in the forests of eastern Asia that theoretically could survive in our climate. That was a bit of an extreme example I admit, because if you randomly drop monkeys into your semi-European feeling world, people might look at you funny. But with a little research, I’d bet you’d be surprised to see what all kinds of critters could make it in your temperate-climate fantasy worlds.

The second approach is similar but a little less dramatic, and that is simply to take a closer look at the creatures that live in the US and/or Western Europe depending on the feel you’re going for. And then you simply migrate in some that get overlooked. For instance, there are other large predators in Western environments besides wolves and bears. In the US we’ve got cougars/mountain lions whose original range covered most of the continent and even today ranges from the Yukon in Canada to the Andes of South America. In medieval Europe you read about boar hunts and wild boars. So look at some of the creatures in the habitat you’re using for your fantasy world and see if you’ve overlooked any. Now, of course, you’re writing a novel not a biological profile of your world, so don’t feel obligated to drag every single species over to your world. But there are a lot of creatures that lived in medieval Europe that get overlooked in fantasy. This is one that Brian Jacques handles fairly well in his Redwall books.

The third approach is to be mindful of species. FYI, deer in Europe are a bit different from the species we have over here. Likewise, not all wolves are the same. The same goes for foxes, bears, and most other fantasy animals. Birds are probably the worst victims of this, we have “eagles” and “hawks” without giving thought to the fact that there is a pretty broad variety of eagles and hawks out there. Now again, you do not want go crazy and start talking about the twenty different species of mice. That would be a bit overkill. And granted, to people in a medieval type mindset, a wolf is a wolf, plain and simple. But if you throw in subtle hints that your wolves look and act a little differently than your stereotypical timber wolf, and maybe more like your red wolf, then you’re still doing better than a lot of published authors out there. Or a similar thought if your characters are roaming a lot, is to have them notice in passing that creature X is different in this part of the world than in their homeland.

The fourth approach, which doesn’t really address the issue directly but is still relevant to the conversation, is to demystify the fantastic creatures in your world. I understand that in a lot of cases the fantastical creatures are rare, but for those that aren’t why do the people that live around them still act like they are? For instance, if your world has a creature with the body of a horse, legs of a lion, and head of a tiger, would horses really have been domesticated as pack animals and mounts? I know, that may seem less fantastic and exotic to some, but I think that horse/lion/tiger-riders are a lot more fantasy feeling than a regular cavalry. What if one of your races suddenly discovered that your non-race dragons were really tasty? Would dragon-hunting suddenly become a popular sport? Obviously, I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here, but it really is something to think about. If you have creatures in your fantasy world that are not in ours, then it would make sense to think about how the food-chain and ecosystems would be impacted and how the races in your world would interact with said creatures.

Now the key here is not to think of these as either-or approaches, but rather a variety of approaches that can be used in any sort of combination when considering the types of wildlife to have in your worlds. Nor are they exhaustive, feel free to sound in the comments if you can think of another approach to the issue which I have overlooked.

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