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Is it a good thing or a bad thing to completely create something from scratch?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Insa, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Insa

    Insa Dreamer

    What I mean is, is it ... acceptable(I can't think of a better word) to make up creatures completely from your own imagination, or new species, or to use existing species, but to change their fundamentals to your own tastes/storyline? Or is it more popular if existing rules and species are used, and characters or events or places are created using existing guidelines and myths etc.
    I tried to explain my question the best I could.

    This question comes to my mind for two reasons;
    1) I prefer to make things up, and I don't want to have to research a character species, or mythical idea, just so I can use it.
    2) It's something that always nags me when I am in the process of thinking up characters, places, etc

    Thank you :)
  2. Bman10119

    Bman10119 Dreamer

    In my opinion its all about your own vision. The only time I think its not ok to use your own creations is when the races are just a rename of something else. If you're going to call a creature that's willowy, pointed ears, the height of elegance, and follows all the normal deffinitions of elves, but call it something else, then there needs to be something fundamentally different about them to cause the new name. Otherwise it seems like thewhole point of writing fantasy/ sci fi is to create what you imagine.
  3. MadMadys

    MadMadys Troubadour

    Create things when there is a reason for them to be created. Don't create just to create because, if you're writing a novel, you'll bloat it with pointless things that turn a lot of readers off.

    If a horse is a horse, and a horse works, call it a horse. If you need a Pegasus, make one of those. Don't make a horse, put wings on it, and call it a flooblegoogle because the fantasy reader will wonder why you didn't just call it a Pegasus.

    If for your storyline you need a new creature/species then have at it. Make sure it doesn't exist in some popular form elsewhere first as well so you don't end up ripping something else off inadvertently. Just make sure that race exists in a specific way for your plot and not just for the sake of having something different in there.
  4. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    I think it would be a brilliant thing. It's just that so many creatures have already been imagined that you're always going to be simply putting a spin on an already existing creation. But good luck trying.

    Cheers, Greg.
  5. Xaysai

    Xaysai Inkling


    Back to the drawing boards on Floogleboogles for me...

    *shakes fist*
  6. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

    Do what you do and you should be fine. I guess you do need to worry about trademark infringement, but few creatures are original in concept even if in name.

    No matter what you choose there will be people that say "If it doesn't have orcs and elves, then it's not fantasy and thus worthless." and "If it has orcs and elves, then it's a rip-off of Tolkien/D&D and thus worthless."

    There will always be haters, so do what makes you happy.
  7. advait98

    advait98 Sage

    I'm completely for i. The fantasy world has become so congested with the same race and species (elves especially) that it would do a world of good (excuse the pun) to create something new and fresh. It's going to be a hard ride trying to come up with something relatively original, but I still have hope.
  8. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    I think genesis writing is good, but you have to do it right.
    Like others have said, don't call something a different name just for being different.
    If you have a world totally different with nothing in common with our world, it will be harder to imagine.

    Make new creatures, but don't avoid traditional names just because you want to make something new.
    Orcs, elves, and all the traditional names have survived because people know the basics about them.

    A race of Hemmitichi's, bipeds humanoids with pointy ears good with a bow and have a connection to the woods, would be a long description of a type of elf. Simply say Hemmitichi's is an elven tribe, and you cut your description requirements in half.

    You can make every classical monster in the monster manual(TM), every monster of lore, every beast ever written about yours, by writing the specifics of the beast in your world.
    (TM make sure the monster you use is not the sole property of AD&D, or any company affiliated with a gaming system. BAsically if they got the name from lore its probably useable. If they created the name and the monster, using the same name might cause legal troubles.)
  9. Creating something new is always a good thing. We humans are a curious species who are always fascinated by novelty.

    Possibly because it's not actually a pegasus, since a pegasus doesn't fit the context or setting.

    The thestrals in Harry Potter kinda look like horses with wings - more than they look like anything else, anyway. But they really aren't pegasi, or any kind of horse for that matter.
  10. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

    Great point here. Here's a list from SRD of what is trademarked by WotC:
    carrion crawler
    displacer beast
    mind flayer
    umber hulk
    Reference: Frequently Asked Questions :: d20srd.org

    Here's a good article referencing six famous trademark battles: io9.com/5919000/six-strange-cases-of-science-fiction-trademarks

    This is one case where I believe if you make these creatures your own and call them something different, then it would *not* be trademark infringement. I'm no lawyer, but how do you tell the difference between a mind flayer/illithid, a human-squid genetic cross, one of the Cthulu people things and an awakened dreamer from Morrowind? They all look the same, but they are all different too. I do not believe that any of the latter three are a trademark infringement on mind flayers.
  11. The Unseemly

    The Unseemly Troubadour

    Well, if all else fails, you can always use a derivation of the original concept, or, as I do, simply make absolute cliches out of the things and add a little twist to the whole. I for example, like using my flying carpets (the dining room sized ones, of course) as public transportation.

    Or, you could twist things around, reverse the whole concept. Vampires (on Heline - my little fantasy world) say that garlic is actually good for the digestion, though the psychological disorder, Alluim Sativumus Phobia, still is potent around the vampire class of society. And they laugh at wooden stakes, when a sword or a musket would do so much better.

    And, if wanting to make something completely from scratch, do a bit of research about fantasy creatures, apply imagination, blend them together a bit, and hey presto, you've got your own strange being from a different dimension. Note: have the names reflect some particular aspect of theirs.
  12. Darkblade

    Darkblade Troubadour

    By all means make up your own fantasy creatures. Everything we have now started when someone else did just that at some point in the distant past. Just remember if you want to use a purely original creation you better think it through completely.

    While the ancient Greeks could get away with wings allowing an unaerodynamic horse to fly or large three headed creatures that would need to devour entire nations worth of food a day just to survive does not mean you can. You have to impress an educated modern audience with your creations, you need to know what the creatures eat, how they mate, their migration patterns, social habits and as many other little tibits as you can conceive. The more thought you put into your creations the less likely the readers are to pick it apart and dismiss it.

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