How I Create my Creatures and Magic

Sorry about the radio silence for the last couple of weeks everyone! As you can imagine, with a blog run by writers, the bloggers involved are often wrapped up in multiple projects and sometimes hiccups happen.

funny-pictures-cats-scare-hiccups

I know most of us are constantly writing, typing out the words, slashing them with a red pen and refitting plot points every day. But we’re back now!

During this segment on the blog we’re discussing supernatural creatures, magical systems, preternatural beings and all things spectacular!

For myself I have yet to create my own supernatural creatures, simply because there are just SO MANY to choose from if you do your research. I love to delve into Celtic mythos for inspiration. In my soon-to-be released book, Spirit – Book 5 in the Elemental Series, my main character is thrown into the Celtic underworld, The Outlands.

In this land of perpetual shadow she is battling against The Slaugh, The Hunt. A band of restless spirits, consisting in part of those cast out of our world and rejected by heaven and hell, oath breakers, kin slayers and kin betrayers. If you are caught by The Hunt then you, in turn, become part of The Hunt, condemned forever to ride, seeking out others to capture.

But it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more nightmarish creatures to exist in this world. As a lifelong C.S. Lewis fan I have always been intrigued by the nonsense poem, The Jabberwocky. Many studies have been done, dissecting the wondrous words contained within this poem, many of which have defined the creatures Lewis invented. The frumious bandersnatch, the Jubjub bird, the manxome foe and of course, the Jabberwock with the jaws that bite, the claws that catch.

Jabberwocky

In previous books my characters have battled Hell Hounds, Sylphs, Nymphs, hoobyas and even humans and vampires. I’d like to think I could create my own creatures that go galumphing in the night, but there is a treasure trove of magical creatures that already inspire me and I want to explore them, giving them a nightmare twist.

But I like to make up my own magical systems. In this I can let my imagination run wild on the page and figure out what my characters are capable of. I wanted to know what it would be like to feel the pulse of the earth pounding through your body. I wanted to know what it would be like to become part of an ancient tree, feel my roots sinking into the world below as my body stretched to feel the heavens above. I wanted to know what it would be like to breathe under water and set my hands on fire, the heat never eating away at my hands.

And in my new adventures with new characters I wanted to know what would happen if I added this herb with this extract in the bubbling brew over an open flame. I wanted to know what would happen if I charmed a talisman, commanding it to do my bidding. I wanted to know what would happen if you gave the wrong person a potion mixed for someone else.

These are the things you get to do when you create your own magical systems. But you have to be careful to do your research. Even though this is paranormal and supernatural and fantasy, you have to know the kernels of truth, the core facts that these things are based upon because if your readers can spot holes in your facts then they won’t believe your fantasy. You have to earn your readers’ trust before they’ll suspend their sense of reality and join you on this fantastical ride.

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4 thoughts on “How I Create my Creatures and Magic

  1. I think it was Neil Gaiman who said something about working from the best source material you can find. That’s always struck me as great advice, and I love that you’re taking seeds and growing them your own way.

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