Some creatures just fall into the Monster category. Thanks to the ancients, sea serpents are one such. But why should they be monsters? Our largest sea creature isn't. Indeed, the Blue Whale is one of the most loved creatures on our world.
I have just finished writing the first draft of book nine in my Unicorn Chronicles saga, still yet to be published. It is currently called Aelwen Jones & The Voyage of the Sea Dove, and is about a long voyage, unsurprisingly.
For obvious reasons, I won't go into the plot or say why they are on a long voyage, but on the trip, they come across a pair of young sea serpents. Or, at least, creatures that might match that description. They are long, slightly snake or eel like, so that kind of does it for the Serpent description.
Being young, they are nowhere near the size of mummy sea dragon. They are only forty feet long. And of course, they have young faces. Oh, and they make a chattering sound that can sound like giggling!
The long and the short of it, they become constant companions on the voyage, even helping to pull the boat sometimes. They are very much short of the captain-gobbling monsters of legend.
While I was attempting to draw one of them, I wondered why a sea monster would be a monster. Or any creature, for that matter. Especially a creature who has young who need to be cared for. A mama bear might be a fearsome beast, but stay at a safe distance, and they are wonderfully funny mothers who make you wish you could join in. And they don't look monstrous at all when they have their mouths shut.
I do have monsters in my books - they are the main thrust of the story - but they are corruptions of creatures. Yet even some of them have children and manage to bring them up, in their own sweet way.
But I also have other creatures who are fairy tale type creatures but who I have tried to re-invent by shoving some logic into their lives.
If you take trolls, for instance, like my sketch of Peohtred the Forest Troll, by the time you imagine a family, a way of life, of existing for thousands of years as a people, then you very quickly lose the monster. In fact, if they were so monstrous, they wouldn't survive; they would make themselves extinct.
Peohtred is one of my heroes, and though I do have bad trolls, most are very nice, thank you very much. They are just ten feet tall and carry big hammers.
But having invented friendly creatures like my sea serpents, I then had to think what they looked like. These are fast, powerful creatures, so they will be sleek and strong. My inspiration was a dolphin - pleasant face and smooth of skin. But I wanted some fantasy in there too, so a butterfly koi carp inspired the pectoral fins.
I am not an artist in any shape or form, but I am pleased with this drawing and with the characters that inspired it. I think it is a very believable creature while also being a magical creature of fantasy.
There you go - the best of both worlds.