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Q&A

Source ideas for monsters in a fantasy novel?

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Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go to get some ideas on different types of monsters that can be created for a fantasy novel? I'm not talking about different variations of zombies or vampires, but rather something more unique and original. I'd like to see some fresh ideas for mosters as antagonists.

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Have a look around for the AD&D 2nd Ed. Monstrous Compendium (or whatever the current equivalent is under their new rules), which listed hundreds of possible monsters (I think there were several of these books). Easy enough to get ideas from these, or other RPG books.

For my own part, I tend to scour around for books on myths and legends from countries around the world, as they're a great source of inspiration when it comes to gods, spirits, demons, and monsters.

Alternatively, look at nature, and make up your own monsters based on the weird and crazy creatures that exist in real life. Believe me, there's enough of them!

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I don't think it will be particularly helpful to you, but there is a book of imaginary beings that you might consult - read more here.

This book does not offer much details in its entries and list relatively low number of creatures - however, there are two characteristics that you might find interesting - it will give a really good overview of creatures that you can find in literature and, also, gives references and entry points that you can follow.

NOTE: If you want true originality then recipe is not possible, except very general ones such as: study the cultures (fictional, literally or national) whose legends you do not know.

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I think fairy tales and folklore provide a huge resource for monsters. Around the world you can find an infinite amount of scary stories to crib from. You can take them and use them as they are, just bring them to the modern world, or you can re-vamp the to be a modern incarnation of the original.

One thing to bear in mind though is that no monster thinks it's a monster, they all think they are the hero of their own story and it's the erstwhile hero who is the bad guy. This is good advice iof you ever think of flipping the point of view of a story and telling it from the 'monsters' perspective.

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Look up "encyclopedia fairies" on Amazon and peruse some of the available books. Pick any being and start varying it. Cross a few. Add an unexpected characteristic. (Within reason. I think even Tolkien would be hard-pressed to pull off something like a half-vampire/half-weredragon who keeps kosher.)

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