Writing Prompt: The Bestiary

A tip for other Aussies carving pumpkins: do it the night before Halloween, because the heat kills them within a few days, but Saturday evening mine was sagging and filled with mold!Halloween means beasties. But let’s not concern ourselves with the usual fare like lycans, vampires and zombies, let’s dig deep  and work with less commonly used monsters for our stories this month.

Here’s a few ideas, or go and research something that tickles your fancy.

  • Hippocamps – half horse, half seaserpent of Grecian legend
  • Strix – vampiric owls of Grecian legend
  • Cockatrice – winged cockerels with serpentine tails
  • Garuda – half man, half bird of prey with golden body and red wings from Indian myth
  • Tengu – beaked birdmen of Japanese folklore
  • Amphisbaena – two headed serpent of Grecian legend
  • Tupilak – vengeful living effigies created by Inuit shamans from human or animal body parts
  • Qilin – China’s version of a unicorn
  • Kitsune and Tanuki – Foxes and raccoon-dogs (respectively) that could transform into other shapes, particularly humans
  • Baku – a bear’s body with an elephant trunk and an ox tail, eats nightmares, from Japanese folklore
  • Kappa – monkey faced turtles with frog limbs, mischievous, sometimes murderous Japanese imps
  • Squonk – warty, loose-fitting skin, ugly face, suffers from severe depression, lives in hemlock groves in northern Pennsylvania
  • Bunyip – usually hairy water monsters of Australian legend
  • Selkie – seals that shed their skins and become human from Irish, Scottish and Icelandic tales
  • Ahuuizotl – aztec water dog who drowns people by grabbing them with its tail that ends in a hand
  • Dybbuk – wandering spirits of Jewish legend who make their homes in a person’s mind becoming a ‘voice in their head’
  • Tsukumogami – household objects with a life of their own of Japanese folklore
  • Korrigans – beautiful maidens who lived in wells and either lured their victim to drowning or sucked away his life succubus style

If none of these strike your fancy check out bestiaries for Pokemon or Final Fantasy monsters. Or heck, build your own and go wild.

Don’t forget to comment or link to the work in the comments below.

About Kirstie Olley

Kirstie Olley was the President of Vision Writers Group during 2015-2018, has had ten short stories published since joining the group in 2012, has been a finalist in the Aurealis Awards and received multiple honourable mentions in the Writers Of The Future contest. She also blogs and has free fiction at her website http://www.storybookperfect.com/
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6 Responses to Writing Prompt: The Bestiary

  1. Geneve Flynn says:

    Following up on my story about the Pontianak, a vengeful female ghost from Malaysian mythology, I’m going to write a story about the Toyol, a mischievous child ghost.

  2. allan walsh says:

    Some interesting creatures indeed, food for a writer’s mind, though I thought a Korrigan was an ugly dwarf-like creature from Celtic mythology.

    • I got all of these out of a bestiary I have at home, so I just Googled Korrigans and both versions pop up. Weirder still, BOTH are from Celtic mythology. Those crazy Celts need to make up their minds ;p

  3. Me says:

    A tanuki is not a raccoon. It’s called in English a “raccoon-dog”. It RESEMBLES a raccoon, but is unrelated.

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