The Challenge of Making 100 Monsters

Pocket Monsters

Pokemon!  Digimon!  Yugioh!  Magic: The Gathering!  Dungeons & Dragons!

I think I covered the big ones that can turn up in the comments. Keep in mind that I considered all of these when I tackled this challenge.  To be honest, I haven’t really started as of the writing of this post in June.  I might have begun in summer if I finished preparing for the fantasy tip book.  To be even more honest, this wouldn’t be the first time I made 100 monsters for a story.  Be nice to know where that notebook went since I haven’t seen it since my time in Florida over 10 years ago.

Anyway, this is for a children’s story set that I was thinking about.  Might not really be for children, but I wanted to have a story where a kid has to find 100 special animals as part of a contest or quest.  I’m leaning towards the winner being the new king and the beasts being guardians of the kingdom.  They were scattered by a villain and bringing them together is the only way to revive the damaged land.  Maybe reincarnations of ancient warriors?  Anyway, this is actual one of my 7 tips post, but I got carried away.  Kind of silly since I’m sure I’ll pose this idea on a Sunday post over the summer.  Downside to scheduling things, I guess.

  1. You can use pre-existing monsters for your bestiary, but you won’t win any points for creativity.  Sure, it’s easy to go through books and grab 100 monsters, including obscure ones.  Those unknowns might even be attributed to you until someone rats you out on Twitter.  If you really want to use a specific monster then admit that you took it from mythology.  Also, it couldn’t hurt to grab maybe 1 or 2, but best to have an explanation.
  2. Animal shows and nature books are almost essential here.  There’s a reason so many Pokemon and Digimon look like real world animals.  It’s very easy to take one and modify it for what you want.  I do that with my Windemere monsters like the dread boars and bog hares.  The hardest part here is the name.  We can’t all combine squirrel and turtle to get Squirtle.
  3. If you want to create a monster that isn’t animal-based then just look around the area for inspiration.  Especially if you’re writing for kids because they can get a kick out of a mundane item turning up as a monster.  Maybe you have a beast that looks like a motorcycle or it resembles a pizza.  It’s silly, but you can afford to have a few oddball ones in the 100.  You can even make it part of the story that they are necessary, but don’t really fit.
  4. Card games like Yugioh and Magic can give you some inspiration.  You have to really modify what you do here because you can’t copy what you see.  The trick is to randomly draw a card and read it over.  Maybe there’s a power that gives you an idea or the name rings a bell.  This is a fairly dangerous game to play since plagiarism is a terrifying accusation.  You can argue that 100 monsters is taken from Pokemon in general, which means you’re already in a tight spot.
  5. Do NOT create an electrified rodent.  I know this is a repeat of #4, but try to avoid the temptation to give a nod to Pikachu.  It isn’t worth it.
  6. Factor in various terrains and elements to expand the variety of monsters.  If you’re only thinking about forests then you’re going to run dry quickly.  The greater the divisions, the more you have to work with.  For example, you can have water or go further into oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, puddles, etc.  Research the different biomes we have on Earth too.  You might find some really unique places that will inspire at least one cool beast.
  7. It doesn’t hurt to connect some of them.  Pokemon using evolving and Digimon uses digivolving.  Basically the same thing, so you might not want to go that route.  It really doesn’t help if the story requires having all 100 at the end.  You can still have some of the monsters be built off of each other.  Maybe a predator and prey relationship or parasites.  Perhaps you need one to get another because they are two sides of the same coin like a dark and light thing.  This will help focus on the monsters and get you at least two from the same brainstorming session.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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15 Responses to The Challenge of Making 100 Monsters

  1. Oops. I have an electrified rodent coming soon.

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  2. L. Marie says:

    Great tips! I have to laugh at the electrified rodent tip. There are so many of those in the Pokémon games, which I have played since 1998.

    I hope you’ll find the time to write that story It sounds really fun!

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  3. So glad I don’t do monsters. I liked the idea of selecting usual things like pizza to make an unusual monster. Maybe mother in law could qualify.

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  4. V.M.Sang says:

    In my Wolves of Vimar series, Books 3 and 4, I have creatures that are ‘melds’ between various animals. For example, There are carnivorous butterflies and creatures called moupions, which are a meld of mouse and scorpion. They look like normal mice until approached when they stand their ground and raise their tails like scorpions. The tail has a deadly sting.

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  5. If you’re looking at a series, it could be fun to put in an end note stating where you got the idea for each. That way, if you’re using an obscure mythological beast, you can say so in the notes.

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