Making Things Up For Your Story: MTUFYS (mm-tuff-yis)
I've been doing a little bit of snippet writing lately. In one of my snippets, a traveler named Braxton is given refreshments by a mysterious lady (Karis; unbeknownst to him, she's a Torg). Braxton asks if he can return a favour and she quietly accepts and leads him deeper into the forest only to jump into a strange hole. Braxton hears her calling and, feeling compelled to return his duty, prepares to jump into what he believes is an Iper hideout. Before he can make up his mind, the Iper snares him with a string of web and he disappears forever. In the mean time, Cornelius, a dactylus, flies off to get help for his master.
So...did any of that make sense to you folks? Well, as a summary, of course it didn't! Who on earth knows what a Torg, Iper, or dactylus is? I do...but that's just because I'm the one who created the ideas. How about a couple definitions before I continue :)
Torg: An imp-like creature that can morph into nearly any body and take upon themselves any disguise. Torg's love to inflict injury and death upon innocent people. In this case, Karis leads Braxton into an Iper web.
Iper: A spider that builds nests underground; often characterized by well-sized holes in the earth.
Dactylus: A dragon/bird creature with a mixture of scales and feathers; very intelligent.
There you have it. Now what does this have to do with writing?
As an amateur, I don't know what the professionals do, but I personally enjoy drawing little sketches and writing down definitions of my newly created creatures. I am a strong believer in new concepts and creatures. If you want your world to break a law of physics, then make it happen! If you wish earth were larger and strange beings roamed its surface...let'er rip! XD
Whatever you do, don't be afraid to make something up. I remember hearing a parent talk to a child once and tell them:
"Those kinds of creatures don't exist honey."
Guess what? In the imagination they do! Of course, it's important that people are capable of distinguishing between the physical universe, spiritual universe, and fantasy universe, but that doesn't mean we cannot have fun with our brains. It gets the engine of your mind revving when you make up things like Iper's and Torg's. We take after our Creator because we enjoy creating like he does. Perhaps our creations are like scribbles on a page next to the beautiful prose of our Lord, but he looks at what we do and smiles because we're trying to be like him! (Note: Human's can't actually create anything that God hasn't already created...just thought I'd throw that out there)
So, if you want to have a story in which blimps and blooneys abound, go for it. Just remember, if you're introducing a new being into the world, please please please! Please! Make sure you explain that creature to your readers. That's one thing I dislike: when an author invents a new thing and then makes you guess what it is.
Moral: Have fun and start MTUFYS'ing, but please explain so we can have fun too!
[Edit (9 March 2010): I am now using the concept explained at the beginning of this post for my latest writing project. Several of the details have changed.]
News: Since April of last year I have managed to accomplish several monumental things in my studies, but I update you now to tell you that three nights ago I had the best sleep since I last visited my aunt's house (years ago) and probably will never have another good sleep like it for years to come *nods sagely*.
--12 March 2017 --
Quote: I really dislike how glasses slide down your nose impetuously when you're glaring down at your unfinished work. -Me