Either they are going to be friends, or one is intending to attack the other.

The wonderful thing about stories is that they can contain many sorts of unlikely friendships like predators and prey being the best of buddies and never wondering how the other might taste. For example, there’s the friendship of the lion and the tuna (plus his school of friends who can construct a breathing aparatus out of kelp) from “The Other Guys” that you would have to pause if you want to attempt to catch all the jokes and references. There’s the homunculus and the forest brownie from Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (admittedly, they were at each other’s throats at first. But they did become buddies in the end!) Here are a couple other examples:

  • Tommy and Petra in The Calder Game by Blue Balliette (though admittedly, their friendship was a little bit inevitable seeing as they both had Calder as a friend).
  • Lord Umber and the woman in charge of his accounts (though she is more like a terrifying aquaintance you don’t want to talk to) from Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese.
  • Twig and the Banderbear (reading the description you’d have thought it would tear him apart as soon as it saw him or at least impaled him on its tusks when he pulled that bad tooth out) from Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart.

My point is that even though some of my above examples weren’t very good (I had some good ones, but I couldn’t remember the title or character names which annoys me) you can get away with highly unusual friendships in stories. Heck, Kendra Kandlestar and the unger who actually turned out to be ________ managed to strike a friendship that was so endearing and yet so frustrating at times that you love it and remember it forever! By the way, that example was taken from Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger by Lee Edward Fodi. Ratchet Ringtail is definitely my favorite character out of those books!

You have to wonder where good authors get some of these ideas. Some seem obvious from the start and others are less obvious but guessable. I find some seem completely impossible but still end up happening. How do authors write those sorts of things? How are they able to choose the right words that will convey the characters of the pair/group, in such a way that they’ll be utterly lovable (in one of the many definitions of lovable) and also thoroughly memorable?

How would you make an unlikely friendship (one that doesn’t revolve around lovestruck werewolves and glittery vampires deciding “Hey! You ain’t half bad!”)?  Personally, I’d make a situation where a light elf and a dark elf were forced to work together. They’re supposed to be opposites right! It wouldn’t be a romance setting so “opposites attract” wouldn’t apply. Another example of unusual friendships would perhaps be a griffin and a horse, seeing as they’re enemies (can you believe that hippogriffs were supposed to be just a ‘scholarly joke’?) It wouldn’t exactly be original, but hey! It could happen … right?

Post Script: One more highly unlikely friendship would be myself and a chicken. How I love their wings and not in an I-want-to-pet-you-way!

What is one of the more unlikely pairings you have created or read that made an impression on you?

Happy Halloween, people!

Okay, we all know the big, commonly talked about mythical creatures. Griffins (my fav’rite,) dragons, fairies, elves, etc. However….. I’ve been looking through some other, not so widely known ones. Like adlets. They’re from Inuit mythology, and are like werewolves, except for the fact that they don’t shift from normal human mode to oh-my-gosh-I’m-a-freaky-monster mode. Or if you’re looking at some of the newer literature, it’s hot-guy-without-a-shirt mode to oh-my-gosh-I’m-a-big-cuddly-would-be-monster mode. But back to the subject of adlets. Supposedly, they were first created by a woman breeding with a wild red dog that had some interesting powers. Five pretty, very normal puppies were born, but five mutants were also born (the adlets). The adlets apparently tried to attack the mothership, and their daddy didn’t view that in a very good light. So of course he drove them off, but as with most heroes, he got serious injuries. Unlike the heroes in those fairy tales that most of us like (mainly because of the happy endings,) he died, and the woman fled. She put the puppies on a log or something that she could get them on to so they could at least float and sent them off to sea. They landed in Europe and apparently copied their deceased parent by mating with humans as well. I forget what happened in those cases, but my main focus is the adlets. Sometimes cannibalistic, red furred, werewolf look-alikes that have the added bonus of being vampiric? As a friend of mine put it, they are werewolf vampires, which is really cool. Now if only there was some way to mix dragons and griffins without it being obvious to everyone that that was what I was trying to do…

Another example of mythical creatures that aren’t very well known is the Abatwa. They’re from Zulu mythology, and they’re tiny humans that can ride ants. Cool and a possible story vehicle? Of course! I can already imagine a world where the normal sized humans have completely ruined the planet and the little people (literally) come to storm the cities, riding on the backs of an army of ants and other insects…. dragonflies carrying little packets of poison powder to be inhaled by the unsuspecting populace! Rereading that little segment, I have to admit that some of the story ideas seem quite twisted at times, but that is sometimes the nature of story writing.   I’m sure that my little thing about Abatwa going and killing ‘giants’ without being noticed is creepy (in a good way?), but it isn’t as creepy as some of the things out there, so I think we’ll put the stamp of ‘concern raising’ on this one.

There’s one other mythical creature  (out of the dozens I have found) that I’d like to mention here. Adar Llwch Gwin, from Welsh mythology. They are giant birds that understand human languages. They’re supposed to be like griffins in a way, and their name derives from the Welsh words llwch (“dust”) and gwin (“wine”), which I find an interesting fact. Why those two words? As well as understand human speech, they were supposed to obey whatever command that was given to them by their master, which didn’t turn out so well for one guy. He ordered them to attack the first man to enter battle, but King Arthur was delayed so their tore their master to bits. Do I love that story? Heck yes! He should have been a little bit more specific, or changed the wording. Expect the unexpected and all that.

Now that that’s done, I need a drink of water, and to finish reading that book.