Archive for June, 2013

DRAGON MAGIC: Gold, Curses, and Really Bad Breath

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What makes a magical creature magical? This question has often bugged me in my own writing. Take the griffin, for example. On the one hand, it’s a blatantly impossible creature, part lion and part eagle. At the same time, in most stories, the griffin is just a beast. It’s a strange beast, and it’s very fierce, but it is still a brute creature of flesh and blood, to be avoided or killed. Familiarity breeds contempt, and when a magical creature is reduced to a beast, it becomes much less interesting.

This brings me to dragons. I haven’t talked much about dragons on this blog so far, and that’s been on purpose. There’s so much literature out there about them already that I feel I should avoid the topic unless I have a relatively novel aspect to bring to the table. Today I think I do. You see, dragons often have the same problem as the griffin. It’s all too common to see them reduced to a big dinosaur with halitosis. They’re so popular, so frequently seen and written about, that it’s hard to find new things to do with them. If that issue is one that has plagued you in your creative attempts, this article is for you.

Continue reading ‘DRAGON MAGIC: Gold, Curses, and Really Bad Breath’

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MONSTER OF THE WEEK: The Cherufe

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The Cherufe is a monster I’ve been dying to work into my own writing for a while now. Hailing from Chile, it originates in the mythology of the Maupche people of the region. Chile has a string of volcanoes in its mountains, and wherever there are forces of nature as powerful as volcanoes, myths will invariably spring up around them, and the Cherufe is a great one. Continue reading ‘MONSTER OF THE WEEK: The Cherufe’

LEGENDARY LOCATIONS: Dead Cities of the Desert

Location can be a very important thing to a given story. Set it in a city, and you have a vast array of interesting things to do. A chance meeting at the museum, a shady encounter at the harbor front, an important business deal at an office firm—sometimes once you’ve picked a location, the story can unfold from there. So this new feature of the blog will be all about exploring particular locations from myth and legend, places both real and imaginary, to see what sort of story ideas might be lurking about.

For the first installment, let’s talk about the Taklamakan desert:

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Continue reading ‘LEGENDARY LOCATIONS: Dead Cities of the Desert’

Modern Monsters (Better Late than Never)

Mythical creatures are strange creations. They can be metaphors for human fears and desires, representations of the forces of nature, a commentary about the human condition, and so on. At the same time, they’re much more complex than that. Sure, at some point back in the day one man must have created each of them, but most of them are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. As a result each one is the sum of many parts, reinterpreted by many different cultures, filtered through many traditions, and reinterpreted by billions of people who have come before.

Except when they’re not.

Continue reading ‘Modern Monsters (Better Late than Never)’