Posts tagged fictional world
Posts tagged fictional world
I see far too many science fiction and fantasy works set on another world that give me only a handful of bizarre creatures. One or two of them will be things you would expect on another world, but the rest will have close analogs here on Earth.
You might enjoy such things, but when I see another planet, I want to see an entire other planet of new flora and fauna, not just a couple of oddities amidst a sea of normalcy. Ever since third grade, I’ve been designing places with a plethora of bizarre creatures. Here’s how.
Step 1: Make an environment, devoid of life.
Think of all the things that make up your environment. You’re going to want to do this one biome at a time, because most creatures don’t live in both the desert and the rainforest. Some things, like distance from the sun(s), will shape the entire planet, but you should still have several different biomes on a single planet. Mountains, plains, deserts, hilly areas with rich soil, lakes, and islands are examples. Don’t put any life in yet, but consider every possible aspect.
Step 2: Make a common plant.
In the time of the dinosaurs, ferns were everywhere. Now, grass covers a lot of Earth’s land space. Extreme arctic regions often don’t have grass, though, and dense forests sometimes don’t allow enough light to reach the ground for grass to grow. With all of the aspects of your environment in mind, think of something that would thrive there. What would it have evolved to absorb the most possible nutrients from your environment? Depending on how far your planet is from the sun, plants might have different colors. A very faraway planet might have black plants to absorb all possible light, while a planet in the same general area as Earth would probably have green plants. A place with good soil might produce plants with plumper roots. Don’t think, What would grass be like on my planet? Instead, think, What configuration should my plants have that best suits the environment? The idea is to make something that doesn’t look like any Earth plant. A non-Earthlike plant should spring naturally from any place with a different environment than the ones on Earth.
Step 3: What eats that plant?
Create a creature specifically designed to eat that plant. Every part of their body should be created with that plant in the front of your mind and the environment in the back of your mind. You might have to make small modifications to the plant because it would have evolved to evade the creature. You also might find that more than one creature can be designed with the consumption of the plant in mind. This is wonderful.
Step 4: Expand the food web.
From there, create more and more species designed to eat the previous ones. Think of some plants that would grow in the odd little crevices and corners of your environment and create animals that would eat them. Fill every niche that you can think of. For example, there might be a creature that eats only roots or one that that scavenges on dead meat. Don’t forget your omnivores! You can then do this to every other biome on your planet.
There you go. This way, life on your planet should end up looking nothing like life on Earth. If you want a specific creature, you can design an environment and ecosystem around it.
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