Little Things to Remember When Writing about Cool Pets in Fantasy
One thing that is kind of irresistible in fantasy are the totally awesome, sometimes mythical, exotic pets. I will never say don’t write them, because I love them (and I LOVE reading about them) but definitely keep a few things in mind while writing them.
They are animals. Let them act like animals. They may act as an extension of the hero’s hand, but that should only mean that they are well trained. They’re still separate (most of the time) from the character and like to do their own things. Think of a dog. It might fetch you your newspaper, but it also might chase the neighbor’s cat, chase its tail, and explore odd rooms of your house at random times of the day. It’s what dogs do.
Remember the owner-pet relationship. If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know this is a sacred thing. I’ve shared this bond with a pet fish, Bloop - and yeah, it’s sacred stuff. Think of this relationship as you would any relationship. It’s one that involves nurturing, bonding, dependency. Even a fairly self sufficient pet will require bonding.
When writing about fantasy creatures, know the mythology. As the writer, you have a large degree of freedom, but if you’re writing about a creature that has a somewhat ambiguous appearance (like most of them) make sure you keep their descriptions consistent and if you don’t plan on describing in super detail, make sure they are consistent with popular belief, especially with creatures like dragons, werewolves, goblins, and griffins - as these in particular can be depicted in a number of ways and are some of the most variable.