On Known Creatures 102 members · 30 stories
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Folklore is often passed on by word of mouth for generations before the story hits the page as ink. Thus, there is a wide range of interpretations on monsters and the stories surrounding them. Luckily for writers, this allows for a wide range of creative freedom when coming up with mythologies for such monsters in the setting of Equestria. However, we can take ourselves further and create our own creatures and mythologies.

Granted, this group is called On Known Creatures, so creating our own imagined beasts that are unknown to others does seem counter-intuitive. But the monsters we hear of are born from old stories and imagination, and have long since lost their luster. Demons, goblins, dragons, and such have become the mainstay of fantasy to the point where it does not behoove us to linger in their shadows.

When creating our own creatures, we have to begin with the eyes of ponies, at least in the context of folktales. We know from history that folktales were told to explain unknown natural events. Wisps could be lights in the distance not easily identifiable, and werewolves the over exaggeration of attacks from large, rabid wolves. So what of Equestria? Modern Equestria understands the magic of their world like a science, but that shouldn't be so in the past, when spells were less developed and earth ponies had to fend for themselves--if we assume Equestria was once divided by race.

To start, there would almost certainly be monsters associated with nature. That is, monsters that could interact with pegasi or manipulate the weather themselves, to vex or aid farmers. We can also include the fact that earth ponies likely didn't always understand their growing magic. Monsters closely linked to forests and the earth could be used to explain why some harvests have spectacular yield while others don't.

This generic archetype of nature monster is the framework for the rest of the creative process. As writers we have to realize that monsters and their stories have always been used to describe specific phenomenons. Thus the motivation of the monster's actions should be caused by, or to have an effect on, nature and wildlife. For a start, we are given basic tools from history. Monsters such as elves and faes can be playful and mischievous, wanting nothing more than merriment in the wilderness. Frost giants from norse mythology, however, simply bring winter by existing. Or, the monster could be animalistic, defending their part of the wild as their home.

Creating a folktale around your monster requires some action from a pony, or deity, that pushes its actions. The wandering pony, someone who has been forced to go out into the woods and now cannot find his/her home, is a perfect start. Encroaching on land sacred to the monster can be enough to spark its wrath, and from then on the story must revolve around the extent of its power, not the wanderer.

Power takes many forms, but in a world where magic and gravity are equally real forces, brute strength is not enough. Nature is vile and cruel to those who seek to understand it, and one who vexes a monster of nature can be afflicted with countless trials. Their village may lose all harvest, or disease may strike them suddenly, or they are trapped in the wild like a prisoner as punishment. Bear in mind, these examples have been used before and you, the writer, must find an affliction befitting of the theme of the mythology and of the characters within it. Irony can prove to be a useful tool, with a punishment fitting the faults of the pony or ponies.

Appearance: Vague and easily confused, monsters who linger in places like the Everfree Forest should not bear many striking details to the ponies who spy them. General shape, size, and tracks are often enough to paint a picture in the mind of the reader, aided with one or two particular traits about the monster that makes it distinguishable from common animals. Modern visual arts stresses a lot on the look of the monster, but that is just as complex and changing as its story. In reality, those who see a monster in panic are likely to exaggerate, and it is the job of the writer to turn real exaggeration in living, breathing flesh and fangs.

Next Time (When I get around to it): On creating specters, spirits, and demons.

Group Admin

I made the right choice. Thank you. *bursts into tears of happiness* :pinkiesad2:

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