EelKat Wendy C Allen - zdark Fantasy Author

Your World: Unique Wildlife | EelKat's Guide To Worldbuilding For Fantasy Authors - The Squidoo Series

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Your World: Unique Wildlife | EelKat's Guide To Worldbuilding For Fantasy Authors - The Squidoo Series

When creating fantasy wild life, remember not to go too far overboard in making them too different from things your readers can identify with.

Usually I use the same basic animals only different; say the horses are shades of blue and pink instead of tan and browns.

Cats with wings.

Small things are big: say slugs grew to 20 feet instead of 5 inches. Little stuff like that.

My reason for it is simple: readers can identify the animal, as being enough like something that they can see and touch, and therefore can paste an image of in their head, while at the same time being just different enough, so as to be fantasy, but not so different that the reader has trouble imagining it in their head.

For example, most people know what a Unicorn is, And also a Pegasus, and a few might know Phookas and Kelpies, maybe, but how many know the Each-Usty?

What do Unicorns, Pegasus, Phookas, Kelpies, and Each-Usty all have in common. All are evil tricker Faeries whom spend most of their days in the form of a horse...each is from a different culture: Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish, Shetland, Roman, and Greek, but all are nearly identical creatures, and so each can be described as "mythical horses"... descriptions include: "winged horse", "one-horned pony", "water horse", "magical pony", etc.

I use this example of various Faerie Horses from various cultures, because it shows you how Unique Fantasy Creatures were created by other authors. In the case of Unicorns, Pegasus, Phookas, Kelpies, and Each-Usty, each author based the fictional animal off a real world animal: a horse. By using a real world animal to base your fictional animal on, you make it easier for your readers to envision the new creature. 

You always want to make things easier for your reader.

Think about the last time YOU read a Fantasy novel that featured unfamiliar creatures the author had created. Most cases you'll remember that the author said things like: "snake like" or "similar to a dolphin" or "like a jaguar" or "had fur like a wolf" or "a small cat like body" or looked similar to a horse", or "reminded her of a squirrel"...they are always short, simple descriptions, that give vivid imagery of real world animals.

The goal is to keep the reader reading: NEVER MAKE THE READER PUT DOWN THE BOOK! If they have to think too hard about what something looks like, it takes away from the plot of the story and the reader puts the book down. Keep your readers AND you fantasy creatures at the same time, by not going overboard in making them too different, too alien.

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EelKat's Guide to
World Building For Fiction Writers
The Complete Article Index

The list below are the original pages written in 2003, and republished on Squidoo in 2007:

<<< Back To

Or Head To Another Article In This Series:

For help in creating characters in genre fiction try:

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:

More on Worldbuilding In Fantasy Novels:

Books I Use When Creating Fantasy Worlds:

*UPDATE: ADDED November 7, 2013 - I suppose one thing I should point out at this point, before we go any farther, is my use of the word fantasy throughout this series. The bulk of this set of articles was written 7 years ago in April of 2006, parts of it appearing on EK's Star Log and other parts of it appearing on my personal Squidoo account. In the 7 years since writing this I've received hundreds of emails regarding it. A common question asked being: "Why do you talk of building a fantasy world if you don't write Fantasy?"

ANSWER: Fantasy with a capital "F" is the name of a type of fiction, in other words Fantasy is a genre. I do not write Fantasy fiction of the Fantasy genre, that is correct. I do however create fantasy realms for my Science Fiction and Horror works. I write Dark Fantasy, which is a sub-genre of Horror and Space Fantasy which is a sub-genre of Science Fiction.

Did you see it? No? Let me point it out: I write about fantasy worls as the exist in Horror and Sci-Fi but I do not write about fantasy world as they exist in Fantasy Fiction.

If it is not real it is fiction, if it exists only in fiction it it fantastical, if it is fantastical it is a fantasy item, because it is not a real item, however being fantastical does not make it part of the Fantasy genre, just as not everything in the Fantasy genre is always fantastical in nature.

The word "fantasy" with a lower case "f" is a word that means "not real" and has nothing to do with the Fantasy genre (capital "F") at all. And therefore when I say "fantasy realm" I mean a world that is NOT the Earth on which you and I live on in the real world, and am in no way, shape, or form referring to the Fantasy genre.

The methods I use to create my fantasy realms can be applied to ANY genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance, Western, etc.

2013 World-Building Series UPDATE:

Due to issues with content scraping, outright plagiarism, some of my articles appearing on OTHER Squidoo member accounts without my permission, and many of my "Squidoo articles" being stolen off Squidoo and posted without my permission on various  blogs and sites including Wikipedia and Helium; all of my articles are in the process of being removed from Squidoo.

This series of World Building articles in one that has been heavily plagiarized over the years and as of September 2013, it can only OFFICIALLY be found here on - if you find it posted elsewhere, know it was stolen and I am not receiving royalties for it.

2014 Update:

As you know, or not, Squidoo owners Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn stole thousands of Squidoo articles from Squidoo members, and tried to pass them off as their own, resulting in the lawsuit against Squidoo owners for the theft of tens of thousands of articles.

More than 100 of my articles were transferred off my Squidoo account and moved to Bonnie's account,

while my authorship and writing articles, including this world-building series were deleted off my Squidoo account and transferred to Kimberly-Dawn's account!


I am shocked and flabbergasted at what these 2 women have done. That they thought they could get away with stealing so many articles from so many authors! Buying Squidoo from Seth Godin, did not give then the rights to our articles and these two horrible women had no right to delete them off of our member accounts and republish them on their own accounts, trying to pass them off as their own.

More then 100 Squidoo authors have gathered together in lawsuit against Squidoo owners, Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn. The result of that is, Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn, to avoid their asses being sued to hell and back, have now transferred the Squidoo lenses back to their original owners and deleted the entire Squidoo website.

Squidoo is officially gone. It exists no more. Squidoo is dead. Most Squidoo writers have opted to move to Hub Pages as HubPages has bought the remaining shambles of what is left of Seth Godin's Squidoo after Bonnie and Kimberly-Dawn massaquered it in their article stealing frenzy.

While I do have a HubPages account and my remaining Squidoo Lenses can be found there temporarily, they are being moved here and deleted off HubPages as I move them

April 2017 UPDATE:

As of now, all on my 600+ Squidoo pages are now moved here to and no more are remaining on HubPages.

It's hard to believe, Squidoo has been gone for 4 years now. It was such a big part of my life for a decade.