As I near the end of typing out the first book in the Cryptid Series, the pink pages are piling up. It’s looking good, too, as an introduction to the entire series. After I finish NaNoWriMo in November, ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part is going to get a rewrite onto digital and probably be handed out to a few select people to critique. After spending eleven years trying to perfect the Dome Trilogy, I’ve learned that perfection is unattainable as an indie author. However, my goal this time is not an epic series but digital pulp fiction.
The biggest hurdle is finding good cryptids to add. In my first draft of the series as it stands (seven/eight books written and notes for more), the glut of cryptids and mythological beings didn’t show up as soon as they should have. At this point, I have a half-dozen cryptids to add to the second book, ones that are curiosities from around the world.
The most fascinating thing about cryptid and mythological species is that so many of these creatures transcend cultures. I suppose that’s why they tend to hold fast in the hearts and minds of certain people, the cryptid-believers and cryptid investigators and cryptozoologists among us. Descriptions of creatures change between cultures, but the base being is there and the evolutionary and social pressures on normative species in the natural world every day can be applied to them as well. That is a wonderfully powerful tool as I hunt down the best-of-the-best and try to explain why or how these could exist in a world overrun by humanity. It’s not easy, for I only have layman’s experience with the science I need to make this a fully cohesive work and I don’t want to turn to “Be-e-e-cause it’s supernaturally mystically magical!” every time I bring one or more cryptids forward. Inexplicable is fine. Unknown is fine. Bizarre and more dangerous than one wants to get close enough to study is fine. The Cryptid Series is a What-If? tale; I want to really develop what I think modern people would do in this particular What-If? scenario. Hopefully, I can get a little more detail in by learning from people who do the work that my characters do as cryptids leak into the natural world of the fictional world of the Cryptid Series. Though, well, there is the trouble with substance dualism versus property dualism, but I think the books falls on one side of that fence pretty early on despite my personal beliefs falling on the other.
It’s fiction, though. I’m writing fairy tales, not submitting an article to be reviewed in a journal of neuroscience.
So, I hope at some point, people will jump up and say, “What about this creature? What about that creature?” Despite having amassed a collection of books filled with fairy tales and myths from around the world, I am constantly amazed and delighted by what’s out there waiting to have me introduced formally to it. The Draugr, for example, is a beautiful nasty that has evolved in the telling and retelling. It’s thrilling to access the expanse of information and chip off or pry away the calcified additive layers to get to that core being of mystery and mythic proportions. Then, I get to apply the natural world of today and give it an excuse for living or simply lose it to extinction and have it rest among the things lost to time. Not everything becomes a fossil; it takes an extraordinary series of events to have that happen, and many species will forever be lost because they didn’t get pressed between the sedimentary pages of Earth’s geological memory book. That alone is one of those things I appreciate so very much about being able to delve into cryptozoology. In my story, they aren’t in the fossil record because they aren’t (or they are, but they’re too similar to other things to be mistaken for those other extinct creatures…).
I suppose, if anyone wants to see their favorite creature be featured in the Cryptid Series, just leave a comment on this web post. Just the cryptid name is fine, since I can do the research. However, adding one or more favorite myths or stories about the creature would be amazing (since I love collecting myths). Sharing our stories is part of being human, especially the legends of the nightmare critters which scare us most. That vulnerability is part of raising something mundane up into the realm of sacred. Where we are most vulnerable, I believe, is where we find both our noblest and our most odious attributes.
But that’s another thought for another time.
Friends, readers, Netizens . . . lend me your cryptids.