Making up Monsters

Storytellers are good at making up monsters. Space monsters, sea monsters, monsters under the bed – you name it. It’s like this special talent our imaginations have when we’re faced with the great big unknown.

Yarr! I terrify sailors with my enormous jaws and frankly preposterous nostril hair!

Yarr! I terrify sailors with my enormous jaws and frankly preposterous nostril hair!

I like that we’re good a monster-making. I think we do it because stories are about bringing things to life. You know, like those mad scientists that crank down the electricity handle and yell out IT’S ALIVE, IGOR whilst cackling madly. That’s basically me at my laptop when I’m coming up with a new book idea.

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It is unclear whether this mad scientist is:
A) creating an abominable and godforsaken form of life
B) listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack on max volume

The Last Zoo is a story all about monster making. It’s got flying pigs in it, and spiders the size of jeeps, and time-travelling frogs, and very materialistic dragons (they all about the bling).

But I guess it’s also about people, too. Because the thing is, every made-up monster has a bit of its maker in it. And one of the things we’re all finding out is that in real life it isn’t just monsters who rampage and destroy. It’s us.

So I thought I’d write a story about that.

(Also, I threw in a unicorn who poops glitter. Gotta give the people what they want, after all.)

If you like, you can read an extract of The Last Zoo here, or you can check out the song I wrote below, which is all about monster making.

Enjoy!

 

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Makin up a Monster

Makin up a monster, makin up a monster

Horn like a unicorn and claws like a lobster

Whatever monster you make mine will be stronger

Think my monster’s beatable? You couldn’t be wronger.

 

A story’s better if you add in a beast -

a story technique that’s worked

since the Ancient Greeks

at least.

You take two animals, you mix them up together

and if that monster has a tale to tell then you’re a storyteller!

A troll inside a cave,

a dragon on its treasure,

I’m makin up a monster

any monster whatsoever, cos I’m

 

makin up a monster, makin up a monster

horn like a unicorn and claws like a lobster

whatever monster you make mine will be stronger.

Think my monster’s beatable? You couldn’t be wronger.

 

The heffalump, the harpy and the minotaur,

the mermaid, the medusa and the manticore,

the beasts that medieval mapmakers used to draw

of what the sailors saw

beyond the farthest shore

yeah there are beasts that soar

and there are beasts that roar

and there are beasties that will bite you

with tooth and claw

and we could probably make a million more

but now it’s time to sing a bit that you have heard before, because I’m

Makin up a monster, makin up a monster!

Horn like a unicorn and claws like a lobster,

whatever monster you make mine will be stronger.

Think my monster’s beatable? You couldn’t be wronger.

So why don’t you try it?

See what sort of monster

your monster resembles!

Cos our imaginations are like Avengers

they love to

ASSEMBLE.