Writing Prompt #12: Beast and Beauties

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

February 22, 2010 -- 4:17 p.m.

Well, looks like I got the top three pairs in the ice dancing right, if not the order. Davis and White's long program is good, but not quite good enough to beat Virtue and Moir. I'm okay with that, the Canadians skated well.

I thought the Russians' original skate was overrated. The nice thing about all the other skates was it caught the flavor of the folk dances they were doing, like Davis and White stepping right out of Bollywood, down to the delicate hand motions. On the other hand, the Russian's aboriginal dance looked like people who had never actually seen an aboriginal dance doing what they thought it might look like. At least they toned down the skin-color thing.

Meanwhile, I saw a PBS Nature Special on Beauties and Beasties, talking about various ugly and beauty creatures and why their appearances had evolved the way they did, and how the ugliness sometimes gave creatures functional advantages.

One of the species covered was the Viperfish, which has got to me about the ugliest, most terrifying-looking things in existence. Even though they're not human predators, waking up face-to-face with one of these would seriously freak me out.


Title: Beasts and Beauties
Genre: Any
Type: Description

Try to write descriptions of the Viperfish. They can be twisted into any context--maybe your land is being overrun by monsters with Viperfish faces. Try to isolate what makes them so ugly and terrifying. The thin yellow teeth? The large black eyes staring at you with their beastial hunger?

Use these pictures to inspire yourself to write a description that would make Stephan King shudder. Remember that human beings have evolved to find certain things instinctively frightening. Remember that, when it comes to creating creatures that can inspire your characters to greater heights of fear, and use your descriptions to terrify the readers as well.

Now in contrast, write a description from a Viperfish's point of view. When a Viperfish looks at an attractive Viperfish, what does he notice? The shimmer of her scales? The delicate ridges in her chin? Can you find the beauty in the ugliness? Can you convince your reader that this is the most fearful thing he or she has every seen, but also the most lovely?


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