Writing Creature Fiction

Why do I write creature fiction? For starters, I have been working on my creature novels now for going on 9 years. And when I really sit back and think about why it is that I do what I do, the reason is because I love it. It allows for both an escape and break from reality, which so many of us need from time to time. These are the type of books and movies that I loved as a kid. Jurassic Park, Congo, and many other adventures filled my childhood days. It was these types of books and movies that allowed me and millions of others to escape mentally. We live in a day and age that whenever you turn on the news or read the internet, you are filled with sad and depressing news. I think first and foremost this is why I write the type of prehistoric thrillers or creature fiction that I do. They allow us, if only for a few minutes or maybe an hour a day, to fully escape from the reality that we are fully invested in. But let’s look a little bit deeper into what exactly entails writing a good creature thriller.

When I sit down and begin to work on my novels at the computer, I want something that is fast-paced, filled with tons of action, has good characters, and of course is loaded with plenty of creature scenes. But this isn’t easy. Each of what I just mentioned could take an individual an entire lifetime to learn to master. But ever since 2009, I have been working diligently on my creature fiction writing. Now let me be honest with you, my all-time favorite book is Jurassic World by Michael Crichton. The novel came out in 1991 and has spawned millions of book sales since and now five Jurassic Park movies. It was a great inspiration to me, and it’s been a great inspiration to many other writers. But unfortunately, the topics and themes that Michael Crichton tackled in the novel have already been done, so when I began to think about my own writing career, I made it my goal to try and come at these type of books from another angle.

So I have been working very hard to come up with new and believable concepts, concepts that if you stretch both reality and reasoning a little bit, you might be able to see how such a story could be possible. But once again this is easier said than done. As stated, I just don’t want to write down that someone walks into a deep rainforest somewhere in the world and they stumble upon some huge monstrous dinosaur. That concept seems to have run its course. So I’ve been straining my brain to find a way to keep these creature thriller books alive, while still keeping the story within the bounds of reality. I’m always wanting to create or write about some type of exciting animal, something that will bring a lot of blood and guts and terror to the very pages of the book. Case in point, its always my goal to write a movie on paper. I always envision my book and imagine what it would look like up on the big screen. I picture a family of four going to the movie theater, purchasing the movie tickets, buying popcorn and sodas, and sitting down for 2 hours to be entertained. I think this is what drives me the most, to write something that I truly believe is not only worthy of the big screen, but which also deserves the chance to be converted from a book into a movie. A lot of writers will tell you that you should ultimately write the type of book that you want to read. Well hopefully I do them one better. I write the type of book that I would love to see turned into a movie. But most importantly, I try to write something with the potential to captivate, thrill, and terrify millions of people.

I’ve wanted to write creature fiction for as long as I can remember now. I’ve wanted to invent creatures and animals that have never been seen before. And while some of my books have had animals in them that have never been seen by, I’ve hopefully chosen topics that aren’t as inundated as others. My new novel Gigantopithecus is indeed going to be tricky. There are plenty of books out there about Bigfoot. But what I’m really hoping to achieve is a realistic creature book that showcases not a mythological monster, but a real animal. For the past several months now, I’ve been looking at how gorillas interact with both their environment and one another. And most importantly, I’m looking at the how and when they become violent, and display signs of aggression. As I am working on my new novel Gigantopithecus, I am also working on my short novella SILVERBACK. The story takes place on a short hiking trail in San Francisco. The two books are indeed different, but they still possess many elements that feel as if they go hand-in-hand, even though one is a short novella and one is a full-length novel.

The way that my silverback gorilla interacts with the main character in the novella will indeed be similar to how my characters will interact with the monstrous Gigantopithecus in my full-length novel. There will indeed be crossover similarities, but the main difference is simply in scope and scale. The Gigantopithecus would have stood roughly ten feet in height, weighed well over one thousand pounds in weight. So as you can see by these dimensions, this was a monstrous beast by any stretch of the imagination. But it is now my job as a writer to put it in a suitable habitat, make its movements and interactions as lifelike and realistic as possible. My goal is to make this animal not a cartoon-like character, but a living breathing animal, one which may or may not have died out as recently as 100,000 years ago.

-MICHAEL ESOLA
Editor-in-Chief/PREHISTORIC MAGAZINE/www.PrehistoricMagazine.com

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