Tips On How to Write Characters with Wings (For both fanfic writers and original content writers)
So I’ve been reading a lot of fics lately where people are either
A) Putting wings onto canon characters
B) Making OCs with wings
So I decided that, with the influx of people who are writing winged characters (and therefore the influx of errors that come with writing winged characters), I’d make a little thing to help you slap a pair of wings onto anyone!
This is also a bit personal, too, because the MC in my upcoming novel has wings!
1. Know that there are a lot of types of wings to choose from
Part of being a writer is the desire to take something (whether it be a pre-existing work or an idea in your head) and make it into your own. So, instead of just going with the classic bird wings, why not spice it up a bit? If your character is an angel, you certainly don’t have to stick to the classic depictions of angel wings. Why not give them butterfly wings or dragonfly wings?
Here’s a small list of different types of wings to choose from:
- Bat wings
- Beetle wings
- Bird wings
- Butterfly/Moth wings
- Dragonfly wings
Note that these wings are for animals who can fly. There are also animals who can “fly” that actually glide, such as sugar gliders and flying squirrels.
Yeah, so the options are pretty limited, but feel free to make up your own kinds of wings that aren’t necessarily based on a pre-existing creature’s wings!
2. Be familiar with the anatomy of your character’s wings and their limits
If your wings are completely unique, draw them out. A diagram or picture is key when it comes to things like description. I’m not gonna tell you what everything does and give you Animal Wing Anatomy 101, that’s for you to research. Know that there are different types of wings and that they have different uses, strengths, and weaknesses.
3. Never use the full extent of your research!
“But wait, Maddy!” you cry, writing utensil in hand and poised to stab me. “I thought we were supposed to were supposed to show our research!”
Well, you are. Technically that’s not wrong. But, readers don’t want to know ALL of it. Over-described wings are sometimes worse than under-described wings; what sucks more than not knowing what a character’s wings look like is having to look up wing anatomy in the middle of the chapter!
Only use the most basic of vocabulary when it comes to describing the parts of the wing. Most of the time, you just have to say “bat wing” or “feathery wing” and the readers get the basic idea. (Like seriously, do you think the readers know what a dactylopatagium brevis is????? It’s a part of skin on a bat’s wing btw)
4. Don’t bring your character’s wings up only when they’re needed!!!!
Unless your character’s wings can fade away when they’re not needed, wings are a 100% real, 24/7 thing! It’s bothersome when writers mention the wings in one chapter and then only bring them up when there’s a daring escape that needs to be performed! Most of the time, I forget that the characters even have wings at all!
There is also the fact that wings aren’t all pros and no cons. If they’re functional, they’re probably big, and if they’re muscular, they’re probably bulky. If your character is clumsy, they’ll probably knock things over constantly, and if they’re not clumsy, they’ll still knock things over constantly.
Your wings are two (or four, or five, or six quintillion) extra appendages; they’re a part of your character! You don’t have to spend every second reminding the readers that they’re there, but don’t go long stretches of time without even mentioning them.
5. Your character’s wings can be a good way to indicate their mood or to provide for that little bit of description that you think you make be lacking
Why wouldn’t you want to describe the wings? I mean, you don’t want to describe every minute detail over and over again, but it’ll boost your word count a lot more than you think. They can also be used to convey your character’s feelings without explicitly telling the reader! It’s like a new set of facial expressions!
See? You can tell he’s wary and ready to fight from the movement of his wings!
Also he’s crouching next to a dead body but that’s not relevant right now
Here’s a list of wing language (?) that you can incorporate into your story that will not only increase your word count, but will also add to the sustenance of your story!
- Fold tightly
- Fluff up
- Raise up
- Snap open
- Curl up
- Kick someone’s legs out from under them
- Snap someones neck (only for muscular wings like bat and bird wings)
- Poke out from under blankets and let all of the cold air in
- Stepped on
- Get pins and needles from being folded for too long
- Squashed on chairs/ in beds/ in crowded hallways
- Vulnerable in battle
- Molting (for bird wings)