Creatures are everywhere in books. Vampires. Werewolves. Faeries. Goblins. BigFoot (some argue he is real and I’m leaning towards a yes on that). And then there are made up creatures we encounter with fantastical names. These are fun to create and encounter.
In A HUMAN ELEMENT I created a creature-man, X-10, who was part human and part…something else (no spoilers here!). He grows up a science experiment unloved, enraged, and hideous to look at. He’s never given a name and desperately wants one. There he is on the book cover with those evil yellow eyes, but you can’t help your genes, right? :)
Where do you start when looking to develop a creature? Here are some basics to help you get started. And just for fun take a quiz to find out what kind of mythical creature you are! (I’m a vampire). Here also is a mythical creature guide to use as a reference if using known creatures in your writing.
And here is a handy starting list to begin creating your creature:
Name : Life Span : Weight : Height : Number of Young it can have : Diet :
Origin : Enemies : Lives : Appearance : Abilities/Powers : Personality :
Features of X-10:
6 ft. 5 in. tall
Milky white translucent skin
Steam shovel mouth
Nail-less with pod like fingers and toes
Since he is only half-human I wanted to give him an unfinished, primitive appearance to him. Even more fun was to create his powers which he used to spread death and pain.
X-10’s features up close:
X-10's nostrils flared, widening his flattened nose further across his face, stretching from ear to ear. He breathed deep with his recent success and felt power surging through his massive, muscled body. His veins pulsed and throbbed pushing up through his milky white skin. The blue veins cut across his naked body, carving ropes across his translucent skin in a clumsy, child's drawing. He flexed his pod hands and feet congratulating himself on his victory. Having no nails, X-10 knew he looked unfinished. His fingers and toes were fluid extensions of his body, they widened at the tips with connected webbing.
Powers of X-10:
A seeker, can seek people out with his mind powers
Can kill with his “mind’s eye” from afar
In A HUMAN ELEMENT the heroine, Laura Armstrong, uses her powers for good – until she has to use them to save herself. But X-10 uses them to kill and destroy.
Here X-10 uses his powers for revenge:
His anger raged again, thinking of her. He threw off the afghan and jumped up from the chair. Where was she now? He knelt on the braided rug and placed his hands to his head seeking her out. Sunrise was coming. He had little time but he wanted to find her. He needed to punish her, to soothe his rage before he slept for the day.
His mind's eye flew over the treetops, up a mountain. There she stood, in a dark room with walls that gleamed. She must be underground. Something moved on the wall. Moving pictures. A strange looking person was in the movie. He looked familiar to X-10. Then he knew it had to be his father. Laura's father too. He looked familiar as he looked like himself. A seething fury rose in him watching her watch the movie. Then a girl appeared. She looked like Laura and he knew it was their mother. His wrath grew immense, hating Laura for looking normal like their mother while he looked like the freak.
X-10 crushed his hands together and shrieked a demonic wail, pressing into her brain, probing with points of fire. Pain. He wanted her to feel so much pain. She fell to the floor, hugging herself. He watched her writhe and moan. When he faced her in person he would bring her to her knees and kill her while he stared into her forlorn eyes. Those big, brown eyes. He would snuff them of life so no human could enjoy them again. Bitter bile filled his throat and he swallowed hard, forcing it down. It was time to go. A few hours sleep was all he needed and when dusk fell again he would be off, running the last few miles toward his prey. He was so close. By tonight he would be upon her. And they would be face to face.
He thumped his chest in a war cry and ran through the farmhouse door, a wild beast with one thing in mind. To kill.
Can a creature with such vile tendencies to use his powers for evil even be redeemed? That’s a question raised in A HUMAN ELEMENT.
Do you create your own creatures in your writing or do you use already known mythical creatures? How do you go about developing a new creature?
About A HUMAN ELEMENT:
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.
Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test.
With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
Readers who devour paranormal books with a smidge of horror and steam will enjoy A HUMAN ELEMENT, the new novel about loss, redemption, and love.
Reviewers are saying…
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is a haunting look at what it means to be human. It’s a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death, with a killer so evil you can’t help but be afraid. An excellent read.” –Janice Gable Bashman, author of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.
Donna Galanti is the author of the dark novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She won first place for Words on the Wall Fiction at the 2011 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at: www.donnagalanti.com
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