Friday, March 30, 2012

Creative Anthropology, Anybody?

Oxymoron, right? How do you make anthropology creative? Simple. Be a writer in need of an endangered species for your story. Paranormal writers do it all the time. Create something that does not exist and make it believable.
When I was writing the rough draft of Last Cowboy, I put an environmentalist into the story and had to have something she might find down in Stone County, Missouri. Several of my characters were lake fishermen who needed bait, so I created a miniature frog and called it a gamie. Turned out, I had to go further by giving it a scientific name, and that was where my creativity was tested. I struggled with a couple of names nobody would believe, and then consulted my scientific encyclopedia. The final name? Amphibios Miniare Gamine.
Sounds authentic, right? In a way, it is. But, and this is a huge one, as far as I know, there is no such frog on the planet, much less in Table Rock Lake. They do use all manner of live bait down there, though, and this fit exactly into my storyline.
How many times do we, as creative writers, have to concoct something to fit our stories? I've had a few, but I have to admit this one is my favorite. Just another part of fiction authoring, it is a pursuit that facilitates our work.
And I'm all for facilitating. How about you?
PS. Last Cowboy in Texas is free for a few more hours today, Friday March 30th, on Amazon. At last count, it ranked #35 in fiction humor. Not bad for a funny little story with a funny little frog in it. LOL


  1. Let's see. I have Prians in Miami Days, humanoid pig creatures. And Faltons, uberhorses of Trusca who have curving horns coming out of the sides of their heads. And Tornans who are -- unhuh! Gotta read it to find that out!

  2. Unfortunately, I'm not very imaginative. I have to be pushed to the wall. Although I do change names of places sometimes.