A Guide to Creating Fantasy Plants and Animals
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when creating your fantasy plants and animals. I gave some inspirational ideas in the post World Building: Creating Fantasy Animals and Creatures. Add a city or town name in front of peppers and you get Fatham sweet pepper found only on the Fatham Isles.
Recently, I’ve been having fun with fluorescent plants. By book 4 of my Merging World series, people rarely see sunlight. This change was gradual, giving nature a chance to adjust. Now, it’s more common to find glowing plants and animals in certain parts of the world.
Don’t limit yourself to what’s realistic. It’s fantasy. Have fun. In The Marked Host, I created dragon deities that can merge with a person either by living in their body or by becoming weapons or jewelry. Doing so, lets the host use their power.
It does help to have an idea of what’s realistic. Do your own research. If you can do so safely, visit your local botanical garden and really study the plants. I got inspiration from my own botanical garden. I talked about that in the post Fantasy World Building: Plants and Their Uses.
What’s the inspiration (are you basing your plants or animals off something that actually exists)?
In your world, what are they called?
Does the name have a special meaning?
If they don’t have a specific name, why?
Where are they located?
Can people find them all over the land or are they exclusive to just one area?
If they’re only found in one area, why?
What’s their physical appearance?
Does the appearance vary? Why?
Can you find them in the wild or are they mostly domesticated?
If they’re domesticated, how are they used?
What’s the animals weight? Can it sit on the shoulder or is it large enough to ride?
Where do they live? Ocean? Lake? Mountain? Forest? Underground?
What do they eat?
Can they speak or understand the land’s language?
Are they a rare species or can people find them anywhere?
Are they welcoming to humans or do they attack on sight? Why?
Do people hunt them for sport, food or both?
Are they sacred animals worshiped as deities?
Do they have a story, as in is there a folklore surrounding them?
Do they breed? How? If not, why?
Do they travel in packs or is this animal a loner? If they’re a loner, is there a reason for it?
Do the plants have magical, medicinal or cosmetic properties?
Where do they grow?
Can they grow anywhere? What kind of environment is best for them?
How big do they get?
Can they move? Do they walk around?
Do they have their own magical properties, such as they can camouflage themselves?
If they’re used for food, which parts are consumed? Roots, stems, leaves, fruits?
If they can be eaten, do they have any positive special effects on the person or animal?
If people can’t consumed them, why? Are they purely decorative?
Are they poisonous? If so, what do they do to people? Does it have the same effect on everyone?
Are they native to your land?
If not, where did they come from?
What do the plants eat? Water? People? A special energy?
Do they regrow when picked/harvested? If they do, how long does it take? If they don’t, why?
Do you need to create fantasy plants and animals? No. Nothing wrong with regulars cow and horses. Nothing wrong with regular roses and ginger. If you decided to add new plants and animals to your story, only make what you need. Don’t create a magical tree if it’s never mentioned in the story.
Do you have any advice to add? Comment below.