You’ve heard of “making writing a habit,” and you’ve tried, but the pressure to write fills you with horrible pain and dread. You spend all your time wishing you could write but somehow never writing. The “make it a habit” approach doesn’t work for you. But you still want to write, maybe even regularly. Is there nothing you can do?
Here is an alternative approach to try. A rehab program, as it were, for writers with a psychological “writing injury” that has destroyed their desire to write and replaced it with shame, anxiety and dread.
If you have a writing injury, you probably acquired it by being cruel to yourself, by internalizing some intensely critical voice or set of rules that crushes your will to write under the boot-heel of “you should.” “You should be writing better after all the years of experience you’ve had.” “You should be writing more hours a day, you’ll never get published at this rate.” “You should write more like [Hilton Als/Jeffrey Eugenides/Octavia Butler/Terry Pratchett/etc.].” “You should write faster/more/better/etc./etc.”
You know what, though? Fuck all that. Self-abuse may have featured heavily in the cool twentieth-century writer’s lifestyle, but we are going to treat ourselves differently. Because 1) it’s nicer, and 2) frankly, it gets better results. My plan here is to help you take the radical step of caring for yourself.
1) First of all: ask yourself why you aren’t writing.
Not with the goal of fixing the problem, but…just to understand. For a moment, dial down all of the “goddammit, why can’t I just write?” blaring in your head and be curious about yourself. Clearly, you have a reason for not writing. Humans don’t do anything for no reason. Try to discover what it is. And be compassionate; don’t reject anything you discover as “not a good enough excuse.” Your reasons are your reasons.
For me, writing was painful because I wanted it to solve all my problems. I wanted it to make me happy and whole. I hated myself and hoped writing would transform me into a totally different person. When it failed to do that, as it always did, I felt like shit.
Maybe writing hurts because you’ve loaded it with similarly unfair expectations. Or maybe you’re a victim of low expectations. Maybe people have told you you’re stupid or untalented or not fluent enough in the language you write in. Maybe writing has become associated with painful events in your life. Maybe you’ve just been forced to write so many times that you can no longer write without feeling like someone’s making you do it. Writing-related pain and anxiety can come from so many different places.
2) Once you have some idea of why you’re not writing…just sit with that.
Don’t go into problem-solving mode. Just nod to yourself and say, “yes, that’s a good reason. If I were me, I wouldn’t want to write either.” Have some sympathy for yourself and the pain you’re in.
3) Now…keep sitting with it. That’s it, for the moment. No clever solutions. Just sympathize. And, most importantly, grant yourself permission to not write, for a while.
It’s okay. You are good and valuable and worthy of love, even when you aren’t writing. There are still beautiful, true things inside of you.
Here’s the thing: it’s very hard for humans to do things if they don’t have permission not to do them. It’s especially hard if those things are also painful. We hate feeling trapped or compelled, and we hate having our feelings disregarded. It shuts us down in every possible way. You will feel more desire to write, therefore, if you believe you are free not to write, and if you believe it’s okay not to do what causes you pain.
(By the way: not having permission isn’t the same as knowing there will be negative consequences. “If I don’t write, I won’t make my deadline” is different from “I’m not allowed not to write, even if it hurts.” One is just awareness of cause and effect; the other is a kind of slavery.)
4) For at least a week, take an enforced vacation from writing, and from any demands that you write. During this time, you are not permitted to write or give yourself grief for not writing.
This may or may not be reverse psychology. But it’s more than that.
Think of it as a period of convalescence. You’re keeping your weight off an injury so it can heal, and what’s broken is your desire to write. Pitilessly forcing yourself to write when it’s painful, plus the shame you feel when you don’t write, is what broke that desire. So, for a week (or a month, or a year, or however long you need) tell yourself you are taking a doctor-prescribed break from writing.
This will feel scary for some folks. You might feel like you’re giving up. You might worry that this break from writing feels too good, that your desire to write might never return. All I can say is, I’ve been there. I’ve had all those fears and feelings. And the desire to write did return. But you gotta treat it like a tiny crocus shoot and not stomp on it the second it pokes its little head up. Like so:
5) Once you feel an itch to write again—once you start to chafe against the doctor’s orders—you can write a tiny bit. Only five or ten minutes a day.
That’s it. I’m serious: set a timer, and stop writing when the time’s up. No cheating. (Well…maybe you can take an extra minute to finish your thought, if necessary.)
Remember: these rules are not like the old rules, the ones that said, “you must write or you suck.” These rules are a form of self-care. You are not imposing a cruel, arbitrary law, you are being gentle with yourself. Not “easy” or “soft”—any Olympic athlete will tell you that hard exercise when you’ve got an injury is stupid and pointless, not tough or virtuous. If you need an excuse to take care of yourself, that’s it: if you’re injured, you can’t perform well, and aggravating the injury could take you out of the competition permanently.
For the first few days, all of the writing you do should be freewriting. Later, you can do some tiny writing exercises. Don’t jump into an old project you stalled out on. Think small and exploratory, not big and goal-oriented. And whatever you do, don’t judge the output. If you have to, don’t even read what you write. This is exercise, not performance; this is you stretching your atrophied writing muscles, not you trying to write something good. At this stage, it literally doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you generate words. (Frankly, it would be kind of weird and unfair if your writing at this point was good.)
6) After a week, you can increase your time limit if you want. But only a little!
Spend a week limiting yourself to, say, twenty minutes a day instead of ten. When in doubt, set your limit for less than you think you’ll need. You want to end each writing session feeling like you could keep going, not like you’re crawling across the finish line.
Should you write every day? That’s up to you. Some people will find it helpful to put writing on their calendar at the same time each day. Others will be horribly stifled by that. You get to decide when and how often you write, but two things: 1) think about what you, personally, need when you make that decision, and 2) allow that decision to be flexible.
Remember, the only rule is, don’t go over your daily limit. You always have permission to write less.
And keep checking in with yourself. Remember how this program began? If something hurts, if your brain is sending you “I don’t wanna” signals, respect them. Investigate them, find out what their deal is. You might decide to (gently) encourage yourself to write in spite of them, but don’t ignore your pain. You are an athlete, and athletes listen to their bodies, especially when they’re recovering from an injury. If writing feels shitty one day, give yourself a reward for doing it. If working on a particular project ties your brain in knots, do a little freewriting to loosen up. And always be willing to take a break. You always have permission not to write.
7) Slowly increase your limit over time, but always have a limit.
And when you’re not writing, you’re not writing. You don’t get to berate yourself for not writing. If you find yourself regularly blazing past your limit, then increase your limit, but don’t set large aspirational limits in an effort to make yourself write more. In fact, be ready to adjust your limit lower.
When it comes to mental labor, after all, more is not always better. Apparently, the average human brain can only concentrate for about 45 minutes at a time, and it only has about four or so high-quality 45-minute sessions a day in it. That’s three hours. So if you set your daily limit for more than three hours, you may be working at reduced efficiency, when you’d be better off saving up your ideas and motivation for the next day. (Plus, health and other factors may in fact give you less than 3 good hours a day. That’s okay!)
Of course, if you’re a professional writer or a student, external pressures may force you to write when your brain is tired, but my point is more about attitude: constant work is not necessarily better work. So don’t make it into a moral ideal. We tend to think that working less is morally weak or wrong, and that’s bullshit. Taking care of yourself is practical. Pushing yourself too hard will just hurt you and your writing. Also, your feelings are real and they matter. If you ignore or abuse them, you’ll be like a runner trying to run on a broken ankle.
I know I’m going to get someone who says, “if you’re a pro, sometimes you gotta ignore your feelings and just get the work done!”
You can, of course, choose to work in spite of any pain you’re feeling. But ignore that pain at your peril. Instead, acknowledge the pain and be compassionate. Forgive yourself if pain slows you down. You are human, so don’t hold your feet to the fire for having human limitations. Maybe a deadline is forcing you to work anyway. But make yourself a cup of hot chocolate to get you through it, literally or metaphorically. Help yourself, don’t force yourself. If you’ve had a serious writing injury, that shift in attitude will make all the difference.
In short: treat yourself as someone whose feelings matter.
Try it out! And let me know how it goes!
Okay, some thoughts on what might be going on for you:
- It sounds like these ideas might be too intimidating. It often happens to me where I’ll get an idea for an ambitious story, I’ll plan out complicated themes and character arcs and intersecting subplots…but once I’ve done that, the task of writing the story itself looks so big that my desire to write it evaporates. The more architecture your initial idea has, the harder it will feel to execute, cuz with each word you write, you’ll see all the plates you’ve got to keep spinning – “I’ve gotta establish this character motivation, lay the groundwork for that theme, set up this subplot” etc. Your brain can’t handle all that stuff at once, so it shuts down.
- Dovetailing with that: it also sounds like your ideas are too abstract to hook you in emotionally. In my experience, the desire to write a story has to come from a very specific source: you’ve got an image in your mind, or a conversation you want two characters to have, or you want to see how a character reacts to a specific event. Something very concrete and kind of…simple. As I said above, the sooner you jump ahead to larger structures, the more likely you are to get overwhelmed, and many of us react to that by losing interest.
- So what I’m saying is: try starting smaller. Pick one postage-stamp-sized piece of an idea, one that only implicates a single story element – I find a relationship works best, because they’re my emotional way into a story – and just write one little scene focusing on that. Allow yourself to write a scene without the noise from all the story’s other moving parts. Once you’ve done that, try another scene that way.
- Oh, and go straight to the scenes that interest you the most. I find that when I start a long story, I’m tempted to write boring set-up first, as if I have to earn my chance to write the fun scenes, and it totally kills my excitement. Don’t do that. Write the fun scenes immediately. Don’t worry that you haven’t set them up sufficiently; you can rewrite. (Also, guess what? You can skip the boring scenes. That’s right – just skip them. If they’re boring to you, they’ll be boring to us.)
Does any of that strike a chord?
Addendum, now that I’ve thought more about it:
When I recall the stories I’ve abandoned because I lost interest, they all have a common element: every scene I wrote felt like set-up for a future scene. I was forever putting something off, an emotional satisfaction that was coming in the future but wasn’t present now, in the scene I was actually writing. Naturally I gave up, because there was nothing satisfying about chasing a future pleasure I was never, let’s be honest, going to reach.
I think a good way to write, if you have this problem, is to – this will sound corny, but – treat each scene as if it’s the only scene in your story. Yeah, I know, that’s not practical because every scene besides the first requires knowledge of prior scenes and every scene except the last implicitly points toward something. But let’s say you had to give someone a short excerpt as a writing sample and you wanted that fragment, despite its clear incompleteness, to be satisfying in itself as a reading experience. Treat every scene as if it’s that excerpt.
Anon, I know you’re not me, but maybe this will resonate with you? I’m…actually going to try this myself.
beyond her kingdom
WRITING HELP SITES
The National Novel Writing Month blog provides inspirational posts for when you’re stuck with writer’s block and offers guidelines for everything from the publishing process to finding feedback.
The articles for writers on Write It Sideways outline real-life advice, like writing grants, author branding, and gift buying, as well as writing tips and tricks, like dialogue mistakes and how to build tension.
K.M. Weiland, the writer of Helping Writers Become Authors, is an award-winning author who shares creative writing advice on story structure, character arcs, common writing mistakes, and much more!
This website offers great advice for authors, bloggers, businesspeople, and students. Not only will you find writing advice and inspiration, but the site also offers a wealth of practical tips for honing your writing skills, finding work, and staying productive. If you’re looking for in-depth instruction, Inklyo.com also provides a range of courses and ebooks aimed at helping you learn how to write anything well.
Warrior Writers is run by best-selling author Kristen Lamb, who guides writers with comprehensive and detailed posts that have a humorous and easy-to-read tone.
Although this is technically a genre-specific writing blog, New York Times best-selling author Philip Athans has great advice for writers of all types, guaranteed.
Abidemi is an accomplished author who has decided to share her insight and knowledge of the writing and publishing world to help others become better writers. In addition to offering free resources in her blog, she also creates and sells writing courses.
The following writing websites are great for writers who have some extra time or need to take a quick break and want to spend it productively.
Write to Done clearly outlines useful topics for writers, like imposter syndrome, recovering from destructive criticism, and finding a pen name.
9. Brain PickingsMaria Popova’s writings on culture, books, and other eclectic subjects are always extremely interesting reading for any writer with some spare time.
While this might be more of a book website than a writing website, Novelicious also has advice for writers on retreats and for writing serialized novels—not to mention post about which books are being turned into movies this year (and reading that is time well spent for any writer, really).
The exclusive online commentary from the Draft section of Opinionator covers essays by journalists, novelists, linguists, and grammarians on the art of writing.
The Authors’ Nook houses relatable posts for writers along with advice on being a writer, allowing for a blend of good fun and useful advice for writing breaks.
These blogs help writers market their books and create blogging personas to engage an audience more effectively.
13. The Write Life
This writing website offers solid ideas for blogging, including working from home, pitching ideas, guest posting, and much more.
14. Goins, Writer
National best-selling author Jeff Goins shares real-life experiences and reflections about building an audience, shortcuts to success, and engaging a community in the age of Internet fame.
As stated in its tagline, The Book Designer gives “practical advice to help build better books,” which includes writing creative disclaimers, choosing the right platforms, and using social media efficiently.16. Angela BoothAngela Booth, a copywriter, ghostwriter, author, marketer, and writing coach, write ample posts to help authors improve book sales and ensure a book will be a financial success.
17. Carly Watters
Carly Watters is a literary agent who provides advice on getting published in the 21st century. Her useful “Things I Wish I Knew” posts provide true accounts and tell how other writers can learn from them.
The writing blogs below aid writers in the publishing process, from behind-the-scenes intel to publishing tips and tricks.
18. Jane Friedman
Jane Friedman has more than 20 years of experience in the book publishing industry. She provides informative articles on both the writing process and the publishing process.
Run by New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Joanna Penn, this site offers articles and other resources related to writing, publishing, and marketing books.
20. Alan Rinzler
The articles of Alan Rinzler, a consulting editor, help writers understand what goes on behind the scenes of the publishing process.
Publetariat gives practical information on networking, author websites, and the publishing process. It also shares links to big news stories in the world of publishing.
The Independent Publishing Magazine hosts posts about many different parts of the publishing process, such as growing a following, avoiding authorship problems, and finding the right editor.
These sites are excellent for writers who are stuck in a rut and need some inspiration or even concrete prompts to get them writing again.
Writing prompts are posted here daily, offering inspiration for writers in all genres. Some of the prompts focus on breaking through writer’s block, while others focus on building characters or refining your dialogue-writing skills. If you’re feeling as though you’re in a writing rut, the site also posts inspirational quotes from famous authors.
24. Positive Writer
Positive Writer was created for writers with doubt—like the website’s author, Bryan Hutchinson—and to provide inspirational posts that help writers keep writing.
25. Blots and Plots
The Blots and Plots blog instructs writers to stay in the habit of writing, targeting specific problems and demonstrating how it’s possible to write a novel even with a full-time job.
26. Writer’s Digest
This well-known and comprehensive site offers all manner of advice and resources for authors. Of particular interest are the site’s many creative writing prompts. New prompts are published weekly, and writers post their results in the comments section.
Qwiklit offers fun and accessible articles about reading and writing. It also has a bunch of writing prompts for writers who might feel stuck.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but Writing Prompts That Don’t Suck tries to avoid boring and familiar writing prompts to provide fun and interesting ones instead.
Have at it!
The House And The Moon
I have actually. And usually in the context of a scam. They’re a vanity publisher, as far as I’m aware. Granted a vanity publisher with standards for submissions, and an editing team to make things shiny, but the last I heard of them they still want the author to foot the bill of publishing their book to the tune of several thousand dollars. Which is something you only find out after you request the “free” author submission kit.
And I’m not saying self publishing with an aim towards success is free or cheap. I’ve sunk thousands into making Phangs into all I can make it possibly be, but that was a personal choice on my part and partly because of the massive (read: overwhelming) “what do you mean it’s healthy polyamory and queer, take my money!” response it got when I first started playing with the idea of making it into something more substantial than a tumblr post and realized it has the potential to actually be something really cool. I even flirted with one or two indie presses, even my old house, but ultimately decided I was better off retaining as much control over the book as possible. I made a choice which made it harder for initial production, but ultimately will pay off more in the long run for what I want to do with it.
But the thing is, that’s me footing the bill of a *massive* project that I want to retain the full rights to and also includes the cost of production. Any *publisher* asking me for that kind of money just to get my book through the door, has not got my best interests at heart. Especially when they don’t list those prices up front.
Basic thing to look for when attempting to find an agent or publisher is: if they want money from you up front, it’s a scam.
Publishers, even small indie press, take the cut of their fee from your Sales. Not “on top of the $2000+ you just spent on marketing” which btw, you can do for substantially less on your own, and also, even with traditional publishing, you still wind up doing a lot of the footwork on promotions yourself. Unless you’re a big fish in this vast sea, you always end up being your best promoter.
Also Writer Beware is an excellent resource for people wondering how to avoid getting scammed when they start out:
They also offer resources on where to look and how to contact people, so it’s an infinitely useful page imo.
Back when I was doing my MA program, I typed up a guide to writing query letters. It’s the post from this blog that I’m most proud of: a thorough step-by-step guide that combines days and weeks of research, and dozens of sources, into a neatly packaged 1,800-word post.
And I have to admit, I didn’t write it for tumblr. I needed to write a query letter myself for a publishing class, and my post was little more than compiled homework notes, saved as a Tumblr post for posterity.
I’ve actually had pieces of this in my drafts for years, but now I actually have to write a synopsis and I’m piling up the research, so I thought it was finally time for the sister to my query post to be published here.
What is a synopsis?
A synopsis is a 1-2 page summary of the events that transpire in a book, either proposed or already written. It’s used to give people who haven’t read your book a quick overview, so they know the story that’s being told in the book without having to read it.
When is a synopsis necessary?
Some literary agents request synopses along with query letters. More often, they’re used slightly later on in a writer’s career, when they have an agent or an editor and they need to submit a proposal for a new idea or project. A synopsis can also be used later on, in situations that don’t involve the author. For instance, when an editor pitches the book to the marketing and publicity team, who may not have time to read every book they’re working on. Unlike a query letter, the book doesn’t necessarily have to be written when you’re submitting its synopsis.
The job of a synopsis is to lay out the story with little fuss and no frills. They let the person you’re pitching know what they’re going to find in that giant stack of pages on their desk or in that obscenely long Word document (or else in the Word doc they’ll eventually receive).
Most professional synopses follow these rules:
- They’re told in third person
- They’re told in present tense
- Characters’ names are CAPSLOCKED at first mention.
- They are double spaced.
- They tend to avoid descriptions longer than this sentence.
- They focus on the central conflict and the protagonist’s emotional journey
- They spoil the ending
- They should be 500 words or less. (That is 1 page single-spaced, 2 pages double-spaced.)
HOW TO WRITE YOUR SYNOPSIS
Writing your synopsis, you have one goal: to tell a 50,000-100,000 word story in 500 words. It can be a little difficult to do this right. A great way to do this is to identify the key turning points in your protagonist’s story.
Do you remember those little plot roller coasters you’d make in elementary school? They’d usually be pointy witch’s-hat shaped things labeled with the terms: “beginning, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.”
Those turning points are the events you should be including in your synopsis.This is the structure you want to emphasize to your reader. You want to make abundantly clear that your story works like a story, that the events of your book have a beginning, a middle, and an end, that there’s an intriguing beginning, an exciting climax, a satisfying conclusion. You don’t want to just list out the events of your novel, but highlight the function of those events. X moment is important because it’s the inciting incident, the moment that takes the protagonist from their normal life and throws them into the story.
There are tons of great story roadmaps out there, that go into more specific story elements. The Hero’s Journey is the most famous example of a detailed, and mostly universal, story structure. There’s also the three-act structure that’s famous among screenwriters.
Find a structure that fits your story the best and use that to identify the events of your story that need to make it into your synopsis. I’ll link to different sources at the bottom of this post that will give you variations of story structure.
If you can correlate key scenes in your novel to the descriptions of these plot points, you’ll find an easy roadmap to navigating the many events of outlining your novel.
Your protagonist’s journey
Your protagonist is the heart of your story, and should be the heart of the synopsis, too. The protagonist’s emotional journey may not string all of these plot points together, but it’s going to be what makes them matter to the reader. The human element of your story has to be represented in your synopsis.
There’s no room for long descriptions, so you’ll have to be smart about finding a few terms that not only tell your reader who the character is, but what their story will be. For instance, if your story is about someone trying to get their critically-panned paintings in the Museum of Modern Art by breaking into the museum and installing the pieces themselves, you may want to introduce them with a sentence that begins like so: “When IGNATIUS, an ambitious and untalented struggling artist, discovers his work is rejected from yet another gallery…”
In addition to these descriptive terms, you should spell out what your protagonist wants (or wants desperately to avoid) and their stake in the events of the story.
Along the way, tell us how these key aspects of their persons change due to the events of the story, or else how they influence the events of the story. Tell us about how after raving reviews for his DIY MoMA exhibit came in, Iggy realized that though he still liked painting, his talents actually lay in performance art. Untalented to talented, struggling to successful, all because his ambition pushed him to try new and daring things.
As in query letters, you only name the most important characters and locations outright. If you’re writing a synopsis for Harry Potter, you’ll want to use Harry’s name in the query, but most other people and places can be referred to by their function in the novel. Ex: Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon can be “his cruel relatives.” Hermione and Ron can be “his friends.” Even Hogwarts can be a “school for people with magical abilities.” This makes it easier for a reader to understand what’s going on in your story. Too many names in such a small amount of space can be overwhelming.
All telling, no showing. This is one piece of writing where you’ll want to tell, instead of show. You need to get to your point as quickly, as clearly, and concisely as possible; this isn’t the place for creative storytelling.
Oftentimes, synopses are given along with other materials, such as pitch letters and sample pages. While a synopsis should be captivating in-so-far that it’s well told, and it should maybe be a little stylish, being captivating and stylish aren’t its main goals. Additional materials like sample pages and pitches have more room for creative flourishes and can do a better job of selling the story, while the synopsis focuses on telling it.
Your synopsis should show that you know how to tell a story. While a synopsis doesn’t sell a story like a query, it should still illustrate the fact that you have an interesting, unique and well-structured plot. When finished, your reader should be able to think to themselves “that’s a good story. I want to read that.”
Your first draft will be too long. Your first draft of a synopsis will always be at least a page or two longer than it should be. Identify the sentences and paragraphs where you explain why a thing happens and ax them. Identify sentences where you repeat yourself and ax them. Identify descriptors that aren’t vital to understanding of the story and ax them. Once you make your first painful cuts and see that the story still makes sense without those things, you’ll start to get a better understanding of what can and cannot be taken out of your synopsis.
- 6 Steps for Writing a Book Synopsis
- How to Write a 1 Page Synopsis
- The Hero’s Journey
- Learn How to Write a Synopsis Like a Pro
- How to Write a Novel Synopsis
- The Secrets of Story Structure
- Three Awesome Plot Structures for Building Bestsellers
- 7 Ways Write Plot Outline
- Synopsis for “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”
- How to Plan Your Novel Using a 3 Act Structure – ex. “The Hunger Games”
- Story Structure by Plot Point for “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
Ok. I’m tired of the typical vampire, werewolf and fairy.I’m also tired of the occidental-centrism in mythology. Hence, this list.
I tried to included as many cultural variants as I could find and think of. (Unfortunately, I was restricted by language. Some Russian creatures looked very interesting but I don’t speak Russian…) Please, add creatures from your culture when reblogguing (if not already present). It took me a while to gather all those sites but I know it could be more expansive. I intend on periodically editing this list.
Of note: I did not include specific legendary creatures (Merlin, Pegasus, ect), gods/goddesses/deities and heroes.
The Ancient Dragon (Egypt, Babylon and Sumer)
Of the Cockatrice (creature with the body of a dragon)
Alphabetical List of Dragons Across Myths (Great way to start)
- Little creatures (without wings)
- Creatures with wings (except dragons)
Bendith Y Mamau (Welsh fairies)
Peri (Persian fairies)
Yü Nü (Chinese fairies)
Garuda (Bird-like creature in Hindu and Buddhist myths)
Bean Nighe (a Scottish fairy; the equivalent of a banshee in Celtic mythology)
- Spirited Creatures
Jinn (Genies in Arabic folklore)
Oni (demons in Japanese folklore)
Demons in the Americas (list)
European Demons (list)
Middle-East and Asia Demons (list)
Judeo-Christian Demons (list)
Mahaha (a demon in Inuit mythology)
Flying Head (a demon in Iroquois mythology)
Toyol (a dead baby ghost in Malay folklore)
Yuki-onna (a ghost in Japanese folklore)
The Pontianak (a ghost in Malay mythology)
Funayurei (a ghost in Japanese folklore)
Zagaz (ghosts in Moroccan folklore)
- Horse-like mythical creatures
The Kelpie (Could have also fitted in the sea creatures category)
Hippocamps (sea horses in Greek mythology)
Horse-like creatures (a list)
Ceffyl Dwfr (fairy-like water horse creatures in Cymric mythology)
- Undead creatures
Asanbosam and Sasabonsam (Vampires from West Africa)
- Shape-shifters and half-human creatures (except mermaids)
Satyrs (half-man, half-goat)
Sirens in Greek Mythology (half-woman and half-bird creatures)
The Kumiho (half fox and half woman creatures)
Scorpion Men (warriors from Babylonian mythology)
Domovoi (a shape-shifter in Russian folklore)
Aatxe (Basque mythology; red bull that can shift in a human)
Yech (Native American folklore)
Ijiraat (shapeshifters in Inuit mythology)
- Sea creatures
The Kraken (a sea monster)
Nuckelavee (a Scottish elf who mainly lives in the sea)
Lamiak (sea nymphs in Basque mythology)
Bunyip (sea monster in Aboriginal mythology)
Apkallu/abgal (Sumerian mermen)
The Encantado (water spirits in Ancient Amazon River mythology)
Zin (water spirit in Nigerian folklore)
Qallupilluk (sea creatures in Inuit mythology)
- Monsters That Don’t Fit in Any Other Category
Myrmidons (ant warriors)
Giants: The Mystery and the Myth (50 min long documentary)
Inupasugjuk (giants in Inuit mythology)
Fomorians (an Irish divine race of giants)
The Orthus (two-headed serpent-tailed dog)
Rakshasa (humanoids in Hindu and Buddhist mythology)
Yakshas (warriors in Hindu mythology)
Taqriaqsuit (“Shadow people” in Inuit mythology)
- References on Folklore and Mythology Across the Globe
- References on writing a myth or mythical creatures
(I have stumbled upon web sites that believed some of these mythical creatures exist today… Especially dragons, in fact. I just had to share the love and scepticism.)
This is perfect for my latest project ^~^
Idk if it’s stupid or what, but felt like contributing:
the Munaciello, a little trickster spirit from my hometown, can be benevolent or malevolent. The article in English isn’t quite accurate on wikipedia, but here’s a link tomost Neapolitan legends from the city website http://www.comune.napoli.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/EN/IDPagina/5654
OP, Thank you so much for putting this reference together. I’ve been working on an original novel that involves dragons from all over the world, and I’ve been having a hell of a time finding good information on non-European dragons.
All the other information is sure to be helpful for the future, as well, I am sure!
May I contribute: la ciguapa (one of my personal favs)
This is a blessed post
Because OP added some things in Malay mythology (Malay here encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei with clusters of them in the entire Southeast Asia) I thought I also included some things pertaining the orang bunian !