Monster Bits and Bobs – ESP Workshop Notes

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The detail of your monster depends on several questions. As with any worldbuilding, there is a balance between building relevant story information, and getting too sucked into your world to write. Judiciously use bits and bobs from these notes.

  • What part does the monster play in your story?
    • How large of a part does the monster play in your story?
    • Is it a character?
    • Does it illustrate danger?
    • Does it interact with your characters?
    • Is this monster the only non-humanoid in the story, is the story full of monster?
    • Is the monster in conflict with your characters?
  • Does your monster have a solid shape?
  • Is your monster a shapeshifter?
  • What is the intelligence level of your monster?
  • What does your monster consume? How?
  • What does your monster create? How?
  • What is the environment where your monster evolved?
    • May not need to be hyper realistic, but shouldn’t conflict
      • Sodium based monsters in a water world
    • Is the monster out of its natural environment? What is the impact?
  • Do they use magic?
  • Are they magic?
  • Do they use technology?
  • Do they contain technology?
  • Do they move?
  • How do they travel?
  • Basic needs, food, shelter, reproduction
  • Can use occasional made up words to draw attention to a creature part, too many make illustrating context difficult

Your monster can have none, one, or more of each some features.

  • Exterior
    • Feathers
    • Mucous
    • Hide
    • Shell
    • Carapace
    • Scales
    • Slime
    • Gills
    • Hair
    • Exoskeleton
  • Distinguishing characteristics (for individuals)
    • Blemishes
    • Pustules
    • Scars
    • Tattoos
    • Missing bits
    • Differences in symmetry and coloration
  • Sensory
    • What senses do they have? How do they use them?
    • Eye
    • Eye Stalk
    • Tentacle
    • Pseudopod
    • Nose
    • Ears
  • Mouth
    • What is the use of the monster’s mouth?
    • Beak
    • Tentacle (when the base of the tentacles is within the mouth)
    • Lips
    • Teeth
    • Suckers
    • Tongue
    • Mandible
    • Fangs
  • Limbs
    • Arm
    • Leg
    • Wings
    • Trunk
    • Tentacle
  • Forelimbs
    • Can be prehensile
    • Paw
    • Pincers
    • Hand
    • Hoof
  • Extremities
    • Fingers
    • Toes
    • Claws
    • Talons
    • Hook
    • Fishhook
    • Stinger
      • Can be used to deliver secretions
  • Protrusions
    • Horn
    • Bone
    • Tusks
    • Antler
    • Spikes
    • Tail Spikes
    • Fin
  • Secretions
    • Potentially stored in a sac, or created in a gland
    • Mucous
    • Acid
    • Poison
    • Silk
    • Spittle
    • Oil
    • Ink
    • Slime
    • Musk
    • Any material
  • Emissions
    • Thoughts
    • Sound
    • Spores
    • Heat
    • Smoke
    • Cold
    • Dust
    • Emotions
      • emanating the monsters emotions
      • supplanting your emotions
    • Anything gaseous or lacking substantial form
  • Other
    • Face
    • Head
    • Tail
    • Trunk
  • Recommended book: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Related: Character Descriptions – ESP Oct

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