“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):
- 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