The Fun of Fantasy Research

Fantasy Month Header

I’m an idea pack-rat.  Sometimes I find something in a conversation or in a book that interests me so much that I must write it down.  Notes are scattered across my desk, my computer, and phone.  I even have a drawer dedicated to miscellaneous paper.  While some of these preserved ideas are merely personal, others I keep because I know I can use them in a story.   It is, in a way, research in advance.  I’ll show you what I mean.


Here we have the great crested dragon of the Tiradian desert.  It may not have the most impressive aerodynamics, acting more like a glider, but of all the desert dragons this one is the largest, with a wingspan of 30-50 feet.  Perhaps some of you recognise this magnificent animal.  In which case I’ll admit it—the great crested dragon is actually the quetzalcoatlus, with a fantasy twist.  I came across the quetzalcoatlus one day while amusing myself with some random article browsing. My first thought was ‘what a terrifying beast, I’m glad I don’t have to meet it in real life’.  My second thought was ‘what a fascinating beast, I’m sad I don’t meet it in fiction’.  I figured a creature so big and so strange had to have a fantastic story attached to it somehow, and someday I would write that story. 

Everything that I listen to, watch, and read has potential as story research.  This is more than just a way to make my fantasy world more interesting—as real in the reader’s head as it is in mine by adding familiar and careful details.  I’m also able to exhibit the wonder I have for this world, by imitating what catches my imagination.  With this in mind, I’m kept on the wide-eyed lookout for more wonders to share. 

Research doesn’t always have to be that tedious thing one has to do to keep up a reader’s belief.  I consider it an engaging spark that ignites the story.


For those wanting more fantasy material, Jenelle Schmidt is hosting February is Fantasy month, and a list of other fantastical blog posts may be found here!

9 thoughts on “The Fun of Fantasy Research

  1. Dude, you’re using the quetzalcoatlus in actual fantasy? Or going to at som epoint? I’m in awe and also a little jealous that I didn’t think of that. (Though, in all fairness, I tend more towards “traditional” Western dragons.) Anyway, great point; story research and ideas can come from anywhere!


  2. To be honest, I’d never heard of the…thingy, but it looks awesome and it’s cool that research doesn’t have to mean hours of looking at boring things.


  3. That sounds so awesome! I think the quetzalcoatl makes an appearance in the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, did you ever read that? I can’t remember if it makes an actual appearance or if they just reference it though. Anyway, either way, that’s a great idea for a twist on dragons!

    I love this approach to research for writing, just keeping an eye out for things that take us by surprise or amaze us, or make us ask questions!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s