This week: Reptiles-- Part 2: Super WeirdnessesEdited by: Shaara, The Gardener
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Welcome to the Fantasy Newsletter. I hope you’re taking advantage of
Let’s give three cheers for our favorite alternate residence!
Happy Birthday, dear, dear Writing.com!
As one of your Fantasy editors, my goal is to challenge you to think outside the KNOWN and to help you inject your tales with fascinating facts while jagging left and right through troublesome frolics and teethe-writhing dilemmas.
Perhaps we can help each other to safely jog through these twisty turns of radical thought, alternate viewpoint, and dynamic detail. Come! Let’s head down the Path of Dimensions, untextured by any earthly array.
In other words,
let’s drop out of reality for awhile.
Reptiles: Part 2 – Super Weirdnesses
As you may recall, I took a vow a few months ago to roam through Earth’s animal kingdom in search of interesting variations to inspire creative writers to expand beyond their normal boundaries. Today our trip crawls along more four-footed, claw-footed and curiously unusual critters.
All animals have two eyes, right? (Ok, we all know that insects prove that that statement to be wrong, but . . .
Did you know that there’s a reptile with three eyes?
A tuatara has a third eye on the top of its head. Imagine that!
To have three eyes would be quite useful, I think. I’d prefer to place my third eye in the back of my head, since I teach small humans who are frequently into and up to things they should not be doing.
That is not how the tuatara uses his third eye, nor the location of it. The tuatara, boringly, places his right in the middle (well slightly on top.)
This reptile, found in New Zealand, however, doesn’t use his extra eye as I might. The Tuatara’s center eye does have a retina and a lens, but it doesn’t see things.
The Tuatara assigns this extra eye the job of informing him of what season of the year it is and, believe it or not, what time of day. A lizard that can tell you the time and the date? How interesting.
Think about it, an animal wearing a not only calendar but a watch as part of its body -- how convenient!
I wonder if we could train them to keep us informed? One could ride on our shoulders and – if only they could talk – we could pull the tail gently and get an instant update.
But forget about how we could use such a creature. How could a writer use it?
What stories does it inspire you to write?
The alien consulted his third eye
and discovered that it was time
for his evening drink.
The alien, using its third eye,
decided it was time to step out of its old skin.
The ogre spider, using the third eye in the center row,
changed the bobbin of thread, and
began weaving a tapestry into
As with the last suggestion, maybe you’d like to add additional eyes, eyes that perform other functions:
Amount of money still in the bank?
I can almost see it. (The alien child wasn’t sure about his mother’s wishes. He opened his third eye and allowed his mother to view the surroundings. Immediately, recognizing the danger he had stepped into, she ordered him to retreat.)
But third eyes (or more) are not the only weirdness I encountered in my prowling through the wild reptiles of our Earthly kingdom.
Did you know that a green basilisk lizard can dart across water for fifteen feet before sinking?
What if, on some faraway planet or kingdom, one’s lack of ability to water-walk were a sign of inferiority?
I guess one would need to carry special boost flippers -- or to genetically alter one’s feet to allow for such social interactions.
And just suppose that one landed in a society where the Olympic games were all about the distance of one’s waterway-crossing skill. Perhaps all sports would rely on such an ability – races, hurtles, tennis and basketball games . . . all via water running. (Sorry ice skaters, only liquid water would count.)
Would business meetings commence with such a ritual? Maybe trustworthiness would be proven or disproven by one’s unsinkability.
Could a wizard or spaceman adapt to such rules?
Ah the titles of such books:
Watercrossing Planet Oceanic
Free-Walking the Waterways of Blurb
’Tis Better to Walk Than to Drown: My Adventures in the Land of Zooblaw
I hope this newsletter has given you some ideas about writing that next best seller.
Please let me know.
I LOVE to hear comments.
Featured this month:
His entire will was bent toward reaching Julie, but his ability to move, or even breathe, was utterly impaired. The slightly alkali taste of lake water filled his mouth, nose and lungs as he writhed and crawled on dry sand. He heard the thumps of feet as people ran past him, but the sounds were dull and undefined; as if he’d stuck his fingers in his ears.
Heather opened her eyes to an ocean filled with the reflection of dancing stars. The cold of the sea did not matter. A short distance away, a glistening shore, above her, a moon big as bliss.
The lobby was crowded. I accompanied my grandmother through the throng of people here to visit loved ones. Gentle, consoling music, played in the background, which made my grandmother smile as I wheeled her to a somber young representative.
“Mrs. Henderson, welcome to Immortal State… I understand you are here to visit your husband for the first time and are considering the procedure yourself.”
She tried taking a deep breath, and clearing her throat quietly, but she could not hold it back any more. From complete stillness and quiet, Cameron exploded with a sneeze. For a brief moment she forgot why she’d been trying to keep the sneeze in. Then she opened the hand she had used to cover her mouth, and there it was. A tiny tooth had popped right out mid-sneeze and she hadn’t even noticed!
I was driving cross country, running from an abusive ex. He’d broken ribs that I couldn’t fix. He’d bruised my soul into a panicked mess. As a parting shot, he’d smashed the prism I’d received so long ago into fragmented shards and I watched as the colors bled into the dirt encasing my soul.
The genie continued to stare up at me and finally, impatiently, he said, "Hurry up and scream so I can get out of here. This coffee's burning my butt."
I hope you enjoyed my picks this month. See you in October!
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Comments Concerning the August Fantasy Newsletter on Reptiles:
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Well, there I am in the middle of a writing a sci fi novel. I'll just pop into WDC in case there's some interesting newsletters, I think. Am I glad I did! What with snakes controlling venom, and now being offended by colour you're virtually writing this book for me. You're a marvel. Thank you for your newsletters.
Thank you so much for letting me know that what I write helps you write! Wow! Sounds like a scary novel – but an interesting one!
Wow! Lots of ideas about using color in sci/fi! I'll definitely have to use that line of thought if I ever get stumped trying to come up with a good character/species/whatever!
I’m delighted purple that you found something to unstump you in my last Fantasy Newsletter. Thanks for letting me know!
LJPC - the tortoise
You must have spent a lot of time researching all the various animals you mentioned. I particularly liked the ideas about color and your comment about the pink lizard being 'X-rated". Who would have guessed? You presented many ideas to spark someone's muse. Thank you for taking the time to share what you've learned with all of us. -- Laura
Thank you for always commenting about my newsletter! It’s you and the others like you who e-mail their suggestions, comments, and ideas that keep me thinking up new things to write about. One gorilla and a half-size thank you!
woooooow this is one new thrilling idea! You know, call me crazy.. But I i've always thought and believed that animals have a culture humans will never understand. I love your story it's awesome!
You made my day. Thank you for loving my story. Awesome? Wow! Also, I agree with you about the culture of animals. I wish I had more time to devote to studying them. They really fascinate. When I owned my Arab mare, she taught me an enormous amount about nature and the world around us. All I had to do was watch her ears and eyes. Her snorts were quite descriptive, too. LOL
Thanks for putting me in the newsletter. This is addition was superb. =D
It was my pleasure to include your piece. Thanks for the compliment!
I enjoyed all of your newsletters this week.
Wow, coming from an author like you, I curtsey and say a big thank you for the compliment.
That's all for this month. See you in October.
Please, please drop me a line and let me know your comments.
What do you think is the weirdest of the weird when it comes to Earth animals?
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