Picking up where we left off with mammals and birds, we now move on to reptiles and amphibians.
Remember, like mammals and birds, your world would not be complete without reptiles and amphibians. If you've read the rest of this series up to this point you are probably wondering if you have to include all of these things.
You don't have to turn your novel into a zoo.
You don't have to list every single type of animal in your world.
None of that is the point.
The point is to pepper enough of those things into the story, that the reader feels the world is a real place that they can visit.
Reptiles and amphibians are one you see less often then birds or mammals, as they are found n fewer places in the real world, and where they are found, they tend to hide. Thus they do not become as important of an impact on the every day life of every day characters.
This however does not mean they do not, like birds and mammals, cease to fill your novel with the flavours of life.
What would a spring evening be, without Spring Peepers (tiny 1/4 inch long frogs) croaking from the treetops?
What tells the reader it's a hot summer night, better then bullfrogs booming throating bellows booming across the lake?
What hot tropic river would be complete without a croc slowly drifting by?
Snapping turtles didn't start crossing roads with the invention of motor-cars. They crossed roads in front of wagons and horses too. And a big enough snapper will survive the crash, while the wagon wheel is splintered beyond repair, leaving your characters stranded beside the road in the middle of a Faerie infested swamp, just as sunset approaches...
Never underestimate the power of a turtle.
Snakes fall out of trees, or jump out of boxes, or get found in shoes.
Did your characters camp in a strange woods for the night? Did they take off their shoes? If so, you can be certain the first thing they doin the morning is grab a long stick and ram it in their shoe, to chase out any snakes, before they dare slip their foot back inside.
These things may not be plot important and many not have any effect on the end result of the story, but they will certainly draw your reader into your world and help them feel a sympathetic connection to your characters.
The list below are the original pages written in 2003, and republished on Squidoo in 2007:
Even more articles have been written for this series since then:
As there are now more then 100 articles for this series, it now has it's own index page on which to list them all, as there are just too many to keep adding them to this end of article list. You can find the complete listing of all the World Building articles here now: