Thursday, January 13, 2011

Creating Monsters with N. R. Williams

I want to thank Nicole for being a host on my blog book tour. It means a lot to me.

Why create a new monster instead of using a mythical creature? It’s fun. I can develop the monster in anyway I like. I don’t have to use existing mythology to guide me in their behavior. I can have the animals be good or evil. My monsters, the symberveen, are animals with an uncertain past. But because of their inherent abilities, they can be used as evil pawns by my villain, Renwyk.

When I began the process of writing “The Treasures of Carmelidrium,” I knew I wanted a new monster, something that hadn’t been done before, but something that would be believable. The first criterion for me was to think in terms of what the role would be for my monsters. I knew they had to be big. I also knew that they would be beast, so for the monsters themselves, they would just act out as normal animals following their own behavior patterns.

Enter the antagonist (villain). He is a man who is born with the ability to communicate with my monsters that I named “symberveen.”

Why did I name them symberveen? I thought about anger. Renwyk is angry, he has issues. Anger brought me to fire, which is often a symbol of anger. Fire brought me to simmer, as over the stove and that gave me the name. Symberveen.

The symberveen were roughly modeled after Big Foot. Over seven feet tall, hairy, they live in family groups in the northern area of Gil-Lael, the alternate world I created. That is where the similarities end. The symberveen have almost human arms and fingers with claws. They have a bear like muzzle and poison in their saliva, under their claws and in their black blood. They project psychic nightmares so their prey becomes disorientated and easily caught. The male symberveen fight among themselves, so it is a rare event that they hunt together.

My villain, Renwyk, can control the symberveen and communicate with them mentally. Thus he is able to turn these monsters into a powerful force to do his bidding.

The people in Gil-Lael have developed a psychic shield that automatically comes up when they are in close proximity to the symberveen. This protects their minds from the nightmares that the symberveen project. Our American heroine, Missie, doesn’t have this shield. She is in grave danger from the symberveen.

Do you have questions about creating a monster that I haven’t covered? I’ll be stopping by all day to answer in the comments.

I will be giving away 3 e-books to 3 winners. Just follow the tour, leave a comment and include your e-mail address with each comment. On Feb. 1, 2011, I will draw the winners, announce the winners on my blog and email the winners. The more you comment, the better your chances.

Jan. 7…Friday, Author interview: Deirdra Eden Coppel at A Story Book World
Jan 10…Monday, Interview with the Protagonist (heroine), Missie: Michael De Gesu at In time…
Jan 11…Tuesday, Mythical Creatures: Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough blogs
Jan 12…Wednesday, World Building for Fantasy & Sci Fi: Marian Allen at Marian Allen
5. Jan. 13…Thursday, Creating Monsters: Nicole Zoltack at Where Fantasy and Love Take Flight
Jan. 14…Friday, Tension & Humor, a balancing act: Jean Henry Mead at Make Mine Mystery
Jan. 17…Monday, What are the Treasures of Carmelidrium? Summer Ross at My Inner Fairy
Jan. 18…Tuesday. Interview with an elf: Patricia Stoltey at Chiseled in Rock,
Jan. 19…Wednesday, Jan. 19, Interview with the antagonist (villain), Renwyk, Lord of the Symberveen: Colene Murphy at The Journey
Jan. 20…Thursday, Interview with Galen, Scout of Gil-Lael: The Golden Eagle at The Eagles Aerial Perspective
Jan 21…Friday, Plot vs Character Driven in Genre Writing: Mason Canyon at Thoughts in Progress
Jan. 24…Monday, Character Driven vs World Driven in Fantasy & Sci Fi:
Helen Ginger at Straight From Hel
Jan 25…Tuesday, Playing the “What If” Game: Dominic de Mattos at Writes of Passage
Jan 26…Wednesday, …What inspired me to write about music as a power and why the flute: Clarissa Draper at Listen To The Voices
Jan 27…Thursday. What Elements are in the Story? (Romance, Suspense, Mystery?) Denise at L’Aussie Writing
Jan 28…Friday, Why I Write Fantasy: Jeffrey Beesler at Jeffrey Beesler’s World of the Scribe
Jan. 31…Monday, Why You Should Hire an Editor & Professional Illustrator: (Sherry Wachter illustrated by book so there should be some interesting discussion between us.)
Sherry Wachter who writes as Bodie Parkhurst at Magic Dog Press 

About N. R. Williams

N. R. Williams lives in Colorado, U.S.A. with her husband. She is delighted to have two three year old grandchildren, cousins. She's a long time member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and has been privileged to attend conferences and workshops. Since her formative years, she's been inventing fantastical stories and since she could spell she's been writing them down. While she majored in art in college, she didn't make a living at it. Now, she uses her skills of observation to create fantastical worlds, interesting characters and stories that touch the heart.


Tony Benson said...

Hi Nicole, nice to meet you.

Nancy, it's interesting that you say these things today, as I am just in the process of creating some creatures for my current wip, and I've been going through the same thought processes. Not coming up with the same creatures, though, you'll be glad to know.

Your concept for the symberveen is well thought out, and I've definately picked up some useful thoughts about the process of creating them. Thank you.

Cherie Reich said...

Don't add me to win a free copy, since I already have one.

That said, I love what you've done with the symberveen, and that's cool how you came up with the name.

When I wrote my fantasy novel, I went more towards mythology, but I created a new creature as well as found a few old creatures that aren't typically in stories and used them. I think these things give a fantasy story a little something extra than the same old same old. :)

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks again Nicole for hosting me. I appreciate it so much.

I look forward to reading what you've done with your monsters Tony. Very exciting and you are entered in the contest.

Cherie, I'm glad you like my monsters. I sure wouldn't want to run into them. I would love to read about your monsters as well and learn how you invented them.

N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Southpaw said...

That's really cool. I like how you came up with the name for you new monster too.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I think these creature are fascinating with so many abilities to torture and capture their pray.

Always lurking in the shadows they can pounce on you at any moment.... Scary.... Chills run up your spine just reading about them.

Another fun post from your book tour Nancy ... great job!

Hi, Nicole.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I like creating my own monsters also. I like to think of all the things we're afraid of when we're young and still think things lurk under the bed or in closests.
Cool name for your monsters.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Holly. It's surprising, I invented the name in just one day. The monsters took a little longer.

Thanks Michael, I'm glad you were cheeped out.

Oh...know I must learn about your monsters Susan. I'm intrigued.

N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Melissa Gill said...

The symberveen sound very scary. I always like those monsters that are new and very menacing.

Margo Benson said...

Thank you for sharing your monster creation, Nancy, what a great name (and interesting process behind it). I think that having them able to attack psychically is inspired and so chilling. I'm much more afraid of creatures who have an extra sinister element to them. Having said that, I'd also be terrifies of anything so tall as I'm only 5'1"!

Great to be over here, Nicole, what a beautiful blog.

LTM said...

How fun to create your own monster. And it makes sense to use a mythological creature as a jumping off point. Great work~ :o) <3

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Like the idea of projecting nightmares. Sounds very Lovecraft.

N. R. Williams said...

They are scary, Melissa.

Yikes, Margo...I'd hate running into them but doubly so if I were 5'1". Margo left her email so she is in the contest.

LTM, I think we are have our own vision of what is scary and mythology just enhances it.

Nightmares enhance our fears Alex.

Thanks everyone for coming by.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Golden Eagle said...

I've never tried creating a monster, but it does sound like a fun process. I love the way you created the name Symberveen.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Golden, it's always nice to see you in the comments.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

What a world of possibilities when you create your own monsters! And then you get to invent your name for them. What fun!


Chris Phillips said...

great post. i like when authors can steer clear of the overused mythological creature and create their own.

Ann said...

Great post Nicole, thanks.

Marian Allen said...

It's great that the natives have developed a shield against the monsters, but the "new girl" from our world is vulnerable. Cranks the terror up a notch!

Marian Allen

Dominic de Mattos said...

The symberveen were very well written, combining the triple jeopardy of brute strength, poison and dark nightmares. A most excellent creation!

I really enjoyed reading about your creative process, Nancy, and particularly the naming - names are my biggest bugbear! I wonder why I write fantasy, when virtually every name must be created!


N. R. Williams said...

It is fun Monti.

Chris, I agree so many mythological creatures are over used.

Thank you Ann.

Marian, yes, our hero's must be vulnerable in unexpected places.

Thank you for the compliment Dominic.
I have a great resource for most of my names. I didn't use it for the monsters. Below is the title in case anyone wants to buy it.

The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Jamie Gibbs said...

Excellent advice! Do you worry about anatomical details in your created monsters i.e. ways of walking, positioning of vital organs etc.? Also with pack monsters, do you work out the potential social interactions between the animals when they are free from human intervention?

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Jamie, good question. None of that was necessary in my fantasy. I did have the characters discuss the significance of the attacks, since the symberveen are known to only live in family units and the males fight among themselves. A group attack was mysterious to the characters. They walk like Big Foot. I am planning to answer all questions in more detail in February after the blog book tour.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Jeff Beesler said...

Love the creative names of your creatures, Nancy! As fantasy writers it can be more work to come up with brand new critters, but oh so much rewarding in the same token, too.

Do the female symberveen do any hunting, too?

jeffreybeesler (at) gmail (dot) com.

N. R. Williams said...

That's a good question Jeffrey. I suspect they would, but since the actual family unit isn't important in my story I haven't developed that aspect. You left your email address, so you are in the contest.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

ali cross said...

Whoa. What a fantastic post! I love, LOVE, that you created your own monsters. So respect authors who do that. And symberveen is an AWESOME word.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Ali. I hope you will join us on the rest of the tour.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author