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Thread: A creature by any other name.
March 18th, 2012, 06:18 AM #1
A creature by any other name.
In my current WIP I am using a mythical creature that strangely only came into being in the early 20th century, see here;
The origin of the creature suits the setting of my novels (a duology about WWII RAF bomber crews/POWs and their return to civilian life circa the harsh winter of 1947), but with a very popular set of cult films of the same name I am dithering about calling my creatures by this name. The name I am currently using in first draft makes them sound a bit wimpy.
Question; should I stop dithering?
March 18th, 2012, 07:47 AM #2
Your creatures were originated in the way you are using them, so the fact that Disney changed them for its movies shouldn't be a factor.
If you are concerned, find a way to briefly describe in the novel when they were seen for the first time and why they were called that way (a veteran remembering maybe?).
March 18th, 2012, 08:47 AM #3
Yes, I think I am worrying over nothing. But it is hard not too, with those damn films out there.
March 18th, 2012, 08:55 AM #4
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On the one hand, using the familiar terminology creates expectations in the reader. If your creature is too far from the stereotype, it can be off putting. OTOH, If they are generally in the same mode, then divergence is more readily accepted. If they are total departures, then maybe a new name is the better approach. In the end, it must always be what works for you.
March 18th, 2012, 09:40 AM #5
I feel my creatures are true to the nature of what they originally where. I also have a bigger problem up coming, to convince folks that me, a mere female, can write a novel set in a WWII POW camp.
This novel has had a gestation period of over 12 months. What was one story, began to feel wrong, as the flashback scenes became longer and more detailed, so I took out the flashback scenes and have begun to write book one of a duology. It feels right now, and strangely I am using only one POV character, though still using a limited 3rd POV. Also by doing this I can flesh out the second story and interlink them so much better.
So, book one a basic POW story, with all the ingredients of Coldiz, with the addition of Gremlins. Book two Gremlins invade Brigadoon with ex RAF bomber pilot hot on their heels out to stop them plunging the world into a cold, grey, bleak industrial future devoid of the colour and richness of the past.
March 18th, 2012, 09:41 AM #6
Actually, I'd kind of suggest the opposite. If your gremlins are more in line with the original mythology but quite different from Disney's gremlins, then call them gremlins. If they are very similar to Disney's gremlins in appearance, operation and mythology, call them something else. That's because if they are very similar and you're calling them gremlins, people will assume you are tapping the same vein as Disney and when you then diverge from that vein, people will get confused. If you call them something else, then people may say, that's kind of like those gremlins in the movies but it's something else.
If, instead, the creatures are different and you're calling them gremlins, then readers know it has nothing to do with Disney films and you're doing some other form of folklore, in the same way that werewolves, dragons, etc. may be portrayed many different ways. You may still get some confusion, but it's unlikely to be much. For instance, Rowling had house elves in Harry Potter -- they did not look or act like the Sidhe elves that people are familiar with from Tolkein and elsewhere. It was clear that Rowling was doing a different kind of elf.
Also, bear in mind that the Gremlin movies, while they do still pop up on t.v., especially around Halloween and Christmastime, and you can still manage to buy a Gizmo doll, are almost thirty years old. Many people have never heard of them. And gremlins of one sort or another have made an appearance in other fantasy stories. (See The Goblin Corps by Ari Marmell, the Jig the Goblin stories by Jim C. Hines.)
March 18th, 2012, 02:16 PM #7
When you said Disney Gremlins, I immediately thought of this wartime cartoon - but of course it's Warner Bros., not Disney.
I'd say stick with the term Gremlins. I was really into the film (the Gizmo one) when it came out, but now I associate the name with generic critters responsible for mischief. Disney don't own the name, just the design of the creatures from the film.
March 19th, 2012, 05:48 PM #8
To be fair, weren't the Gremlins in the movie only called so because a War vet called them that? The creatures were technically called Mogwai.
March 19th, 2012, 08:24 PM #9
I read your opening to this novel awhile ago... and I've seen the movie - the 80's version since I'm assuming they're remaking it like they do everything else. I think you need to put it out. MUCHO cool concept that was different and a good deal fun to read.
March 20th, 2012, 02:12 AM #10
Thanks everyone for taking the time to answer, Gremlins it is, then. I have put it into the text and it ups the menace to my characters in a strange way.
Now I need to see if there is a German translation. I also need some German names that are not your stereotypical for German guards in POW/war movies. I have done 12 months of research on this so far and am still having to do odd bits here and there.
And thanks, warfitz45 for the compliment. I think it is a very cool concept as well. Just hope the powers that be do.
March 23rd, 2012, 10:03 AM #11
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was just checking the german translation . I think it's "böser Geist".
April 4th, 2012, 05:52 AM #12
If you need help with German, I can try to help (but I'm not too reliable with schedules, lately).
Good to see you're still at it.