Building a World for a Novel – Part 16
New to this project: Start with Part 1
Part 16: Look! Up in the sky!
We have looked fairly intensely on the ground and peeked into Oceans and Lakes. Now it’s time to look up.
Does your world have flying creatures? There are no hard and fast rules that force you to have winged wonders, pollination of plants, for example, could be done by crawling insects or rodents, but what touches the heart and imagination better than beings that live part or all of their life cradled on the winds?
As I have said before, a fully detailed account of how any creature or plant came to be on your world is perhaps outside the realm of feasibility for our purposes, but that should not keep us from populating our world with any number of wondrous, exotic creatures.
Terrestrial flying creatures are as small as tiny insects or as large as a pterodactyl. Nothing prevents you from having airborne organisms too small to see, but which would feed larger creatures, or cause insidiouschanges in them. What about air-locked flying things that never touch the ground? Floating air-sacs that live on sunlight or the aforementioned organisms. Might these creatures create cloud farms? Might there not be whole societies unseen and unknown to those attached to the ground? What does your imagination suggest?
Airborne predators, flying beasts large enough to attack, even carry off a full-sized adult can make life a real challenge for your people.
Will your flying things be birds? Winged snakes? (Beware of dragons, unless you make them unique and call them something else!) Will they be griffin-like? Will they be winged people? You get to say. In our wide Universe it would seem that just about anything is possible. Twice.
Next, consider how your people will interact with winged creatures. Will they hunt them for food, use them to help in the hunt of other land creatures, make pets of them, war against them, or recruit them to war against other people? How intelligent will your fliers be? Can they speak? Can they barter, or plot or intrigue?
What is their place in the ecosystem of your world? Are they a food source for a race of animals? Do they rule the world?
Finally, what do your flying creatures look like? Do they share common attributes with Terrestrial birds? Are they transplants from Earth? Were they released on your planet only to die out, or to mutate and thrive? Do they have wings with feathers, or do they glide over planes of stretched skin? Do they make a signature sound when they fly? Do they use some other means of lifting and moving altogether?
What do your flying creatures do up there, anyway?
Next time we’ll take a closer look at Predators and Domestic Animals.
Continued in Part 17