March 02, 2011

RTW: A creature of your own imagining

Each week, YA Highway hosts Road Trip Wednesday, a blog carnival in which YA Highwayers discuss a topic on their blogs and invite readers to do the same. This week's RTW topic is:

Invent your own mythological creature!

Okay, I've actually done this.

At least, I think I have. If I ever get PRODIGAL MAGGIE published, I'm sure someone somewhere will dig up a mythological chimera that matches my own.

Credit
But for now, various Google searches mark my creation as my own, which is featured in the last half of PRODIGAL MAGGIE and, as such, is

*stamping noise*

TOP SECRET.

It's funny... I used to think JK Rowling invented all the creatures in the HP series, but once I started researching mythology, I realized most (but not all) are borrowed from the legends of various cultures around the world.

Just as the Roman and Greek societies had basically the same gods and goddesses, only under different names, many of the same creatures pop up all over the world. Dragons, mermaids, and giants, for instance, are present in mythologies spanning the globe.

And that's not including all the minor/less well-known creatures (see here, here, and here for lists of mythological beasties).
Credit
So coming up with a truly unique (and in my case, frightening) creature that was also plausible within MAGGIE's constructs was a challenge.  I basically Googled "half-[creature], half-[creature]" (since I was trying to come up with an original chimera, a creature composed of the parts or attributes of 2 or more animals) in multiple variations until I hit the jackpot.

Even more challenging was coming up with a name.  I wanted something that sounded like it already existed - familiar enough that you accept it, but not so familiar as to be inappropriate for an original creation. To find a name (which is, alas, also TOP SECRET), I translated the names of the two animals I combined, as well as several adjectives that describe each, into about 10 languages, then melded words until I found one that sounded right.

I'm rather proud of my possibly hopefully original legendary creature, and even happier with its name. I even drew a picture of it, but that made my aunt laugh, so we'll leave that for an extras section of my website for when/if I get published.

If you could create a mythological creature, what would it be? Join us over at YA Highway to play along!

7 comments:

Erinn said...

SUPER SECRET!!! how mysterious.

The Blue Lipstick Samurai said...

Aaah! Understanding that they're topic, allow me to say one little thing on the subject....

The aforementioned mythical creatures Abby discovered (is that an appropriate word?) are AWESOME.

Tracey Neithercott said...

I love learning about how your created the creature and how you came up with the name. Top Secret is a great creature name, by the way. :)

I'm always shocked to find most of the creatures in the books I read are based off myths. They always feel real to me. I guess I'm not up on my mythology.

Alicia Gregoire said...

Now I'm curious about your half and half creature. I have those too.

Katy said...

So enigmatic! You defintely have me curious about your creature, and your process in creating him (her?) is really interesting.

KO: The Insect Collector said...

intriguing!

Abby Stevens said...

Thanks, Glenna!

Tracey, I think Top Secret is a great name, too. ;)

And thanks, Katy! It was a lot harder than I made it sound here, lol, but I think worth it in the end.

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