Creature creation is an important part to most fictional writing. The monster under the bed, the beast stalking the protagonist in the woods, the keeper of the jewels, the protector of the villain, and so on; they are important but creating them can often be a pain. Here’s how I create creatures for fiction, fantasy, and science fiction.

Fiction creatures:

In most fiction the creatures are vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons, and anything else that can interact with humans in a modern setting. For creatures set in this time I would recommend doing your research, find something that speaks to you and find the lore that works for you. Vampires have many variations from how they have come to be to how they feed on their victims; find something that works for you or make your own. Werewolves are much the same, from magic wolf pelts to spells and deals with Satan. Look at your character and then make a lore that fits around who they are, but keep this lore consistent through your whole story. Keep in mine that not all “creatures” in fiction are monsters, some of them are humans with an agenda. Instead of a vampire that drinks blood or steals life force, they are money vampires, slowly siphoning money out of an account or taking advantage of someone’s good will.

  • Basic rules:
    • Identify the creature you want
    • Research
    • Create or apply lore
    • Keep it consistent

Fantasy creatures:

Fantasy creatures can be as fanciful as needed. From gold plated dragons hording jewels to small trolls under a bridge charging a toll to cross they are what you need but even they need reason. Dragons are different from mythology to mythology; European myths say they horde gold, steal gold, and attack castles while Chinese myths consider these creatures to be wise and good omens (not that they can’t be evil, but generally speaking). So again researcher is needed to find lore that works for you, but that’s if you go with a creature that already exists, what if you create an all original creature. For an all original creature it is easy to find an animal in the real world that’s already kind of scary, like a shark, and then tweak it to create something new. This requires more work but in the end you will have a creature that works for you and your story.

  • Basic rules (for preexisting creatures):
    • Identify
    • Research
    • Create or apply lore
    • Keep it consistent
  • Basic rules (for creating original creatures):
    • Identify creature need
    • Research existing animals
    • Tweak animal and traits to fit what’s needed
    • Create lore
    • Keep it consistent

Science Fiction:

SciFi creatures can be really fun to make, they can be anything from mechanical to lab created, to a monster from deep space. The basics here is that its only limited to your imagination, remember space is scary and who knows what’s out there; AI is still in its infancy and no one knows what it will turn into given enough time; and who knows what gene combinations will create. Just think about what you need and then let your imagination run wild, but try to keep it realistic (can also be applied to fantasy, but think before you create).