Too Many Types of Creatures? ~ Talkin’ ’bout Books Tuesday (Discussion #11)

 

“Talkin’ ’bout Books” is a meme for weekly book discussions.

 

About the meme…

Each Tuesday, we will post a discussion about a book-related topic. Sometimes, we will gear this toward writing books rather than reading them.

If you’re a blogger and you would like to join in on the fun, you don’t have to post about the same topic, but you are welcome to do so if you want. Just post a discussion and leave your link in the comments. If you’re not a blogger, that’s okay too. Just leave a comment with your answer to this week’s question.


 

My topic for this week is:

Too Many Types of Creatures?

 

This question stems from a debate I had yesterday with my sons. When discussing the book I am writing with my daughter, my sons said there are too many types of creatures. They think we should stick to the basics: vampires, werewolves, and humans.

Let me clarify that I am using the term creatures to include all the preternatural, supernatural, and fantastical beings of mythology, folklore, and literature. I didn’t want to call them “monsters,” because the word has a negative connotation that doesn’t apply to all types.

Anyway, my daughter and I think that there can’t be too many types of creatures. It’s part of what makes fantasy interesting. I love it when stories bring in creatures from different cultures. I don’t care if they mix them together (like a Japanese kitsune hanging out with a Norse valkyrie). At the same time, I can see my sons’ point. Not every type imaginable needs to be in the same book. There has to be a balance. So, that leads to my questions…

Do you have a limit for how many different kinds of creatures can be in one fantasy book? How many is too many?

I thought about Simon R. Green. His books are filled with tons of different kinds of creatures, and sometimes it can get overwhelming when the main character keeps getting attacked in every scene by a different type of creature. Despite that, I enjoy his stories. I’m thinking that what I don’t like is the constant fighting with little breathing time, rather than the variety of creatures.

Right now, these are the creatures my daughter and I have worked into the story (spread out with other stuff in between):

  • Vampires
  • a Werewolf
  • a swarm of Dark Fairies
  • a high court of Elves
  •  a Witch
  • a Druid
  • a sea monster (undetermined type right now)
  • a giant spider (also undetermined type)
  • a Gremlin
  • a Cerberus
  • a Cat-Fish
  • of course, humans

Is that too many types of creatures? Does it depend on the story?

The book is called When Monsters Come, so my thought is that we need variety to make it work. But, I’m willing to change my thinking if most people agree that I’m overdoing it.

And, not just for my own story, I’d like to hear what you think about books that are populated with lots of different types of creatures. Have you read any that took it too far?


This post is part of the 2017 Discussion Challenge, hosted by It Starts at Midnight & Feed Your Fiction Addiction

2017 Discussion Challenge image

 

Jen Schaper

I am a mom of three kids, a wife, and a wannabe author. For Books That Hook, I review books, create features and discussions, design the website, and do all the administrative stuff.

7 thoughts on “Too Many Types of Creatures? ~ Talkin’ ’bout Books Tuesday (Discussion #11)

  • March 9, 2017 at 3:50 AM
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    I don’t think you can have too many (well yeah you probably can at SOME point) but for me I think it’s in the execution. How is it handled and does it work? Like you said about needing a breather- yeah if it’s constant attacks by an ever changing roster of creatures that might be too much. But if some creatures are layered in as background info and it feels natural to the story- why not? For me I like to have a little variety besides just vamps and werewolves (cause they’re in everything).

    Thinking back to fantasy I’ve read, I don’t think your list is too much. I mean a lot of high fantasy and urban fantasy has TONS of creatures, even if they don’t play a prominent role. We know they are there. So it can work.

    I like your title too. 🙂
    Greg recently posted…A Darkness AbsoluteMy Profile

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    • March 11, 2017 at 1:08 AM
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      Thanks, Greg! I was thinking about high fantasy today. There really is a lot of variety in the creatures, which is part of the worldbuilding. It makes sense, when you consider all the species of animals we have in our own world.

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  • March 7, 2017 at 10:34 PM
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    No such thing as too many creatures! Although, ok, it just depends on if they’re all necessary to the story. That’s kind of my go-to rule for everything in books. So if they all have a purpose in regards to the story, if there’s a reason they’re included, then it’s not too many! But if they’re just being thrown in for the sake of including more different types, then it might be too many.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: Sparrow Man (Sparrow Man Book 1) by M. R. PritchardMy Profile

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    • March 8, 2017 at 12:31 AM
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      I agree that they have to have a purpose. The same can be said of regular characters in books. I have read books that have so many unimportant characters with names and complete backstories. I’m like: I don’t want to know the life history of the guy at the deli shop! (for example)

      Thanks for visiting 🙂

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  • March 7, 2017 at 7:23 PM
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    I don’t think that’s too many at all! I quite enjoy worlds that have a huge diversity in magical elements — not only are they more interesting, but there’s plenty of opportunity to really see some creativity 🙂

    The book I’m working on features a demon and a djinn prominently, includes the fae to a lesser extent, and will probably end up making reference to random other things along the way 🙂
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    • March 8, 2017 at 12:29 AM
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      I’m glad I’m not the only one that likes diversity! I like being able to make things up as I go, too 🙂

      Reply

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