So this Christmas, one of my new presents is a shirt that states, “I believe in horses that can stab people.” Ok, so I asked for it, because I love unicorns and I love that they can stab people. Maybe there are unicorns in my book…maybe… and maybe they kick butt… maybe… but I digress.
I have found that the mythology of mythical beasts and monsters is often up for debate. For me, as long as you hold the fundamental truths as true, then it’s fine to change the rest of it. For instance, I wrote a screenplay about vampires… they aren’t glittery, but they aren’t Vlad Dracul either. They still feed on blood, they are still super strong, but sunlight doesn’t kill them and they aren’t afraid of crosses or holy water. They are a super species of human, so you can kill them with a gun or a knife or a chainsaw, but it’ll just take a lot more time and stamina and bullets.
I did my research on unicorns. Supposedly they are solitary animals. They are shy around humans and will only appear to a virgin maiden. They are pure magic. Innocent. Appearance is somewhere from a horse with a horn to a goat with a horn to a mix of the two with a horn. I have never seen them as solitary and I think like most creatures, they would defend each other voraciously. I also think they are huge, but I think they have the head of a luck dragon, half Falcor, half Andalusian… and their horn is actually a spiral that has two side plates growing into a center bone… those are my unicorns. They can do some other things too, but I’ll leave a little mystery.
The rules apply to all mythological creatures from basilisks to werewolves to fairies to witches to dragons and so on. They can be whatever you want them to be , as long as you hold true the basic nature of who and what they are. Actually, all writing should hold true this rule. When you create a character, it’s yours. You the writer made that character and you can make the character whatever you want, but once you introduce that character to a public and it develops a fan base, you the writer have an obligation to hold that character true. That’s not to say you can’t make the character do things it normally wouldn’t do, you just have to make sure you give us the audience a reason why… a legitimate reason why. Otherwise, we will get angry… ; ) An excellent example of doing this well, would be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This is a different Harry, but we understand why… just make sure we know.
End the end, I say have fun. Everyone should love what they do. I love writing! And the creativity of new perceptions of old ideas…I think that’s where it’s at. So, change the ideology surrounding the old stories, make the basilisk nice, make the fairies evil and let the unicorns stab people… I mean after all, what else is that giant, sharp horn for?