June 04, 2020, 05:58:34 AM

Author Topic: Here there be Monsters  (Read 16442 times)

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #45 on: April 16, 2015, 07:59:12 AM »
Elspeth Cooper has got some Selkies in her books, women and men (I think mostly in book 2, but don't quote me on that). And they're very minor characters.
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #46 on: April 17, 2015, 05:08:14 AM »
For anyone interested in really unusual monsters, I have a series of posts on my website about weird monsters from roleplaying games. There's some really crazy stuff in those.  ;D

I bookmarked that. There's some good material there to develop some of my own monsters. I do love monsters.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #47 on: April 17, 2015, 05:11:29 AM »
Here's my key thing with monsters. In RPG terms, you don't want to write all the normal battles. You want to write the boss battles. If you write all the battles, it becomes repetitive and boring. Even in RPGs, those normal battles are only there so you can level up. In a novel, leveling up isn't necessary.

Offline Yora

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #48 on: April 17, 2015, 10:31:21 AM »
As had been discussed in the Fight Scenes thread, characters need a good reason to risk their life in a fight, and the same goes for fighting monsters. There needs to be a point in fighting it. If you could just leave or ignore it, fighting makes no sense.
The most classic example is probably: "The monster stands in front of a door and I really need to get to that door." A somewhat more refined version is "I need to get through this building and accidentally run into a monster that is just coming around the corner. And I don't want to risk it getting me from behind while I try to run away." Another good one is "The monster wants to eat me and for some reason I can't leave this place." (Because it's on a space ship or Antarctica.)

I'm not a fan of fight scenes in general, and the same goes for monster. The most interesting parts about a fight is what happens before and after. Once the fight starts, things are already pretty clear. One of them will die. If the monster fights the hero, it will be the monster. If the monster fights anyone else, that other guy dies.
All the interesting stuff about a monster is what happens before the fight. When will they fight, where will they fight? Who will be ambushed? Which weapons will the character have? How many monsters will it be? Writing good monsters is much more about those things than what it can do with its teeth and claws.
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Offline JMack

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #49 on: April 17, 2015, 11:15:17 AM »
As had been discussed in the Fight Scenes thread, characters need a good reason to risk their life in a fight, and the same goes for fighting monsters. There needs to be a point in fighting it. If you could just leave or ignore it, fighting makes no sense.
The most classic example is probably: "The monster stands in front of a door and I really need to get to that door." A somewhat more refined version is "I need to get through this building and accidentally run into a monster that is just coming around the corner. And I don't want to risk it getting me from behind while I try to run away." Another good one is "The monster wants to eat me and for some reason I can't leave this place." (Because it's on a space ship or Antarctica.)

I'm not a fan of fight scenes in general, and the same goes for monster. The most interesting parts about a fight is what happens before and after. Once the fight starts, things are already pretty clear. One of them will die. If the monster fights the hero, it will be the monster. If the monster fights anyone else, that other guy dies.
All the interesting stuff about a monster is what happens before the fight. When will they fight, where will they fight? Who will be ambushed? Which weapons will the character have? How many monsters will it be? Writing good monsters is much more about those things than what it can do with its teeth and claws.
Really interesting fight with monsters in the Emperor's Blades. Interesting for the context, rather than the fighting.
Spoiler for Hiden:
Special forces soldiers in training for medieval tech army have to face the Slarn in their final test. Slarn are bipedal lizards with many female workers and one king. They live in winding tunnels underground, so are blind, but have other senses enhanced. Poisonous. The spec ops folks expose the cadets to the poison, and the cadets have 24 hours to get the antidote from down in the Slarn tunnels. The antidote is to drink the viscous Slarn eggs. Later, it turns out the test is not just of bravery and ability; the egg liquid enhances the cadets' senses as well. Meantime, there is very little description of the actual fighting, though there is some. It's really the terror of the dark, the desperation to find the eggs and avoid the Slarn - when you can't see a damn thing.
I think this is right to you post @ Yora.
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #50 on: April 19, 2015, 01:38:11 AM »
Another key thing with fighting monsters (or any kind of battle) is that there should be consequences. A battle in which the heroes defeat the monster without suffering any injuries or advancing the plot in some other way is probably not worth being written.

Offline NinjaRaptor

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #51 on: April 22, 2015, 11:56:19 PM »
Dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures were my first love, so no fantasy setting I create would ever feel complete without those beasties wandering the wilds. Usually I place my dinosaurs deep in the tropical jungles whereas Ice Age mammals like mammoths and saber-toothed cats get the frigid polar regions.

I'm not such a big fan of the common "supernatural" monsters, but occasionally I find it fun to take traditional fantasy creatures and give them a naturalistic, or at least non-magical, explanation. Vampires might be a separate species of hominid that evolved prominent canines and a diet of blood (wonder how nutritious that would be?), or perhaps mermaids are descended from some hi-tech genetics experiment combining human and fish parts.
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Offline Nora

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #52 on: April 26, 2015, 04:52:08 PM »
I'm not a fan of fight scenes in general, and the same goes for monster. The most interesting parts about a fight is what happens before and after. Once the fight starts, things are already pretty clear. One of them will die. If the monster fights the hero, it will be the monster. If the monster fights anyone else, that other guy dies.

Unless you're in game of thrones. In which case, the most wicked survives.

All the interesting stuff about a monster is what happens before the fight. When will they fight, where will they fight? Who will be ambushed? Which weapons will the character have? How many monsters will it be? Writing good monsters is much more about those things than what it can do with its teeth and claws.
Really? I came back to this thread to say that I was beginning a story starring a proper "monster", but in my case there will be no direct fight.
Some examples come to my mind of monsters making some serious damages and where the fights aren't so much the main interesting points.
Like in the B.P.R.D. comics, derived from hellboy. One character has been turned into some sort of evil were-jaguar by a forest jaguar spirit. He feels it in himself, but turns involuntarily and keeps no memory of the mess he makes. When the tension builds and the character actually lashes out in that form, he makes some damages (destroys the physical body of a medium, kills several 'red shirts', kills his own doctor and the assassin who came after him) but the real point of interest is how he deals with the realisation that he's responsible of deaths and lost control, is a monster and yet wishes he would keep his friends from harm.
His final battle against another monster is mint. Hand to hand combat.

Comes with amazing art too :



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Offline Yora

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #53 on: April 26, 2015, 05:26:34 PM »
Can't really go wrong with big cats.

Those and bears.  ;D
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Offline Nora

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #54 on: April 27, 2015, 03:10:44 AM »
Can't really go wrong with big cats.

Those and bears.  ;D
True. But then Hellboy and BPRD are two series that star real monsters, Ars Goetia demons, old gods and practices and their own take on more traditional "monsters" (werewolf, vampire, homunculus, ghosts, witches) and some celebrities, including baba yaga, vlad the impaler, Hecate, Raspoutine and the like.
I really love these series. Ever since Mike Mignola has adopted it it's been blowing my mind away.

It stars a very cool wendigo :
Spoiler for Hiden:


The were jaguar is hardly very sexy :
Spoiler for Hiden:


A large part of plot revolves around frog monsters that turn humans and keep a very gory cult :
Spoiler for Hiden:


There are a wealth of unexplained fancy monsters :
Spoiler for Hiden:



« Last Edit: April 27, 2015, 03:12:27 AM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline JMack

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #55 on: April 27, 2015, 11:52:55 AM »
The art is very cool.
But wendigos were, to my understanding, humans overtaken by the wendigo spirit, usually when they'd eaten human flesh during the hungry times of winter. But, really, who gives a crud, it's cool art.  ;D

Meanwhile, one of these days I'll pull out the book Where the Chill Came From and put some notes in here about the wendigo.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline Yora

Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #56 on: April 27, 2015, 12:52:12 PM »
But wendigos were, to my understanding, humans overtaken by the wendigo spirit, usually when they'd eaten human flesh during the hungry times of winter.
It may not look like it, but it is just that.
We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on a big tower of other dwarves.

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Offline Nora

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #57 on: April 27, 2015, 03:11:47 PM »
The art is very cool.
But wendigos were, to my understanding, humans overtaken by the wendigo spirit, usually when they'd eaten human flesh during the hungry times of winter. But, really, who gives a crud, it's cool art.  ;D

Meanwhile, one of these days I'll pull out the book Where the Chill Came From and put some notes in here about the wendigo.

In this story they have a nice twist : the spirit has a body, the one you see, and each time it kills a murderer, the soul inside the body is switched. In this specific case the guy caught in the wendigo is a good soul who has moments of lucidity as it meets our heroes, and is called Daryl...



He's caught by the BPRD and is given a pic of his family... Sad stuff..



But that's what I love with the treatment of monsters in the Hellboy series. Some are senseless, some regret their humanity, some don't, other have their own values and motivations, and they're all different.

Meanwhile I'm precisely working on a new short story for a submission somewhere else, revolving around a wendigo. But I'm doing the old school one, as Jmack conceives.
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Offline JMack

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #58 on: April 27, 2015, 03:42:52 PM »
@Nora, this is dated in its prejudices, and I haven't read all of it, but it might be of interest:

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/10897/10897-h/10897-h.htm
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline Nora

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Re: Here there be Monsters
« Reply #59 on: April 27, 2015, 03:50:14 PM »
@Nora, this is dated in its prejudices, and I haven't read all of it, but it might be of interest:

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/10897/10897-h/10897-h.htm

Thanks a lot! I wanted to look out for it, hadn't thought it might be free of rights already! Cool, straight on my ereader, thanks a lot!
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty