Monday, March 07, 2016

WriteFest Writing Exercise 2: Non-Human Characters

For this exercise, Cassie let us pull 4 random characteristics that real animals have on Earth, and then combine them to create a new character. And it had to be sentient. My four characteristics were:

1) Has antenna

2) Mother can birth one litter of babies with multiple fathers

3) Gills to breathe in water

4) Can see clearly in the dark

So welcome to the "cave-creepers."


Margarine huddles on the side of the subterranean lake, her antenna twitching incoherently as she expels streams of goo into the water from her mouth. Around her, seven male cave creepers flutter, their antenna brushing hers and each others. They radiate excitement and concern. As this is the first time they have witnessed birth, they worry about her health. Should she be this pale, her skin this dry? As they have all just become fathers, they are jubilant and relieved. Our children, the movements of their antenna all but shout, our children are healthy, and alive!

Silhouetted against the soft glow of the lake, twenty-two newborn cave creepers flit in the water. Their bodies are soft, slick, translucent. To the fathers, these babies look so vulnerable, so exposed. But they stretch their wings and fluff their neck-ruffs of fur in pride anyways, bragging to each other through flicks and swishes of antenna: See how fast that one swims? She will be a hunter, for sure. And the thickness of his hind legs? He will certainly win his year’s race to the surface.

Margarine, her wide eyes bleary with exhaustion, gazes blankly at her children. Her lovers settle around her, gently herd her up the rocky bank to the nest they have prepared. Here she will rest, here she will be fed and pampered through her recovery, while the seven fathers take turns watching their young ones grow and develop in the water. When the baby cave creepers have developed lungs and the thin membrane of their wings begins to stretch from wrist to side, they will crawl from the lake and it will be Margarine’s job to teach them all she knows. But for now, it’s the squish of fat grubs and the crunch of tender minnows that she looks forward to. A month or more of nothing, she manages to communicate. How delightful!


1 comment:

Layla Al-Bedawi said...

I love this--both the exercise and what you did with it! I also love that you have to include four animal elements, and as you're writing it, you're all, "Oh, might as well throw in wings, too!" Just goes to show that once you get going, the story just takes over. =)