Should You Create Plants and Animals in Your Fantasy Setting? |
When world building, I used to think there was no point in inventing animals and plants for a fantasy setting. After all, they're often just variations on real Earth animals, in which case, why bother? For example, maybe you have a horse with an extra pair of legs, or a tomato that's yellow and poisonous, or a smarter lion. You call the first a horse, the second a tomato, and the third a lion, but people will forget you altered it in some way unless you keep reminding them, which is unnecessary exposition and feels like housekeeping (for you and the reader). If you have to keep calling it a "six-legged horse", that encumbrance isn't much better. If you don't call it a horse, but describe it in such a way that people think, "Oh, it's just a horse with two more legs", is that really an improvement? More importantly, unless the alteration matters in some way, why do it at all? For these reasons, I resisted for many years, but then I changed my mind. Below are some considerations that