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Thread: Merfolk Writer's Guild

  1. #1

    Merfolk Writer's Guild

    This thread is for the exchange of ideas related to merfolk and story telling.

    Topics for Example
    1. Merfolk appearance in stories
    2. Conversations about stories that exist that involve merfolk
    3. Things we wish were in stories about merfolk
    4. Merfolk story clichés
    5. What's over done and what we don't see enough of.
    6. Short Stories we write or other writing material we wish to receive feedback on.
    7. Peer review of short stories to help each other improve. (Negative Feedback is not welcome, but constructive feedback is.)
    8. Things we do to get past Writer's Block.
    9. Environments in stories with merfolk.

    As this thread increases in use, new topics may present themselves that I have not currently thought of.
    Last edited by Merman Dylan Zalrian; 09-15-2017 at 03:23 PM.

  2. #2
    To start, I wanted to share the story I've been working on. I've been working on my Wayward Tides Series. I'm close to finishing chapter 4. One of my focuses for the story is the world it takes place in. I've spent years planning and working out a world that is alive and vivid where merfolk can take a major role in. Merfolk are beings of the sea. One thing I've always wondered about is how writers like Tolkien who wrote stories involving elves, humans, goblins, dwarves, and etc. never used merfolk. I mean, Elves live in the Forest, Humans live on the land, Dwarves live in mountains, Dragons can live in Volcanos, but the Merfolk are like a perfect representation of any race that lives in the sea. The ocean is such a vast environment with features that are much like what you find on land. I never understood how merfolk never took a more prominent spot light with everything you have to work with in the sea. So, that's what thing I decided to create. I decided to create a story with a strong underwater world. I wanted to create a story to show that merfolk could be a serious race to contend with in a fictional story.

    There are also a number of mythical sea creatures from island tortoises or whales to krakens to leviathans to elementals to merfolk type sirens to cancer the crab to sea scorpions (an actual prehistoric creature I've seen used to great effect in Sci Fi most notably the Sea Scorpion fighting a Vampire Squid in Sanctuary) to a vast number of things that I couldn't possibly list out entirely in one thread post. There are also real sea creatures that are as mysterious and impressive as creatures from myth. You have Colossal Squid with huge eyes and hooks in every suction cup, Jelly Fish (Some have eyes and others are almost immortal), Sharks that can navigate the magnetic field of the planet and sharks that were big enough to eat whales, Crabs and Lobsters that can feel the vibrations in the earth and react to them, and so many more creatures with incredibly impressive behaviors.

    As for landscapes, you have Kelp Forests, Sea Mounts, Reefs, Underwater Volcanos, the Abyssal Plain, the Trenches, and underwater cliffs at the continental drop offs. The landscape underwater is just as impressive as the landscape on land. It has everything it needs to exist as a world of its own.

    So, I don't know why merfolk don't appear in more stories. They are a mythical creature imagined for this vast underwater world. I partly think that certain public impressions of merfolk regarding sexuality and gender have made it easy for people to disregard them. That's a topic in another thread though. I will say this. JK Rolling, Disney, Nickelodeon, and Netflix to name a few have had merfolk appear in TV Shows, Movies, and Books, and they are incredibly successful. Harry Potter Goblet of Fire has merfolk appear, Disney is a given with Ariel and the Thirteenth Year, I believe Nickelodeon first aired H2O, and Netflix picked up the H2O Spin Off Mako Mermaids. So, my point is that merfolk aren't without success in media, so I still don't understand how they don't appear in more places.

    I'm not sure about other areas, but I know that Aqua Man and the DC Universe including some Wonder Woman Comics, Miranda, and even more have merfolk and other people of the sea. I've seen stories even break merfolk up into different groups with the more Fish like ones, humanoid ones, and the classic half fish and half human all existing in one story. Some stories have half merfolk that can go from legs to tail while other stories have merfolk that can gain human legs at will. In the Gates of Atlantis Series, the half merfolk are either merfolk with human appearance and can breathe underwater or they are merfolk with the ability to have a tail and not breathe underwater. Other stories like Pearl Tail involve merfolk that can't gain legs without wishing for it. Mermaids grant wishes in that story.

    So, finally, I really want this to be thread about the different merfolk stuff in stories we've seen or read and how things vary from one story to the next.

  3. #3
    great idea!
    come find Mermaid-Odette on facebook!
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  4. #4
    I don't call myself a writer because I've never finished a writing project, but I do read up on writing advice and make attempts at NaNoWriMo every year. One of my favorite sites to go to for advice is springhole.net. There's even a page about writing merfolk!

    http://springhole.net/writing/things...er-fiction.htm
    bluecorvidae.deviantart.com

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCorvidae View Post
    I don't call myself a writer because I've never finished a writing project, but I do read up on writing advice and make attempts at NaNoWriMo every year. One of my favorite sites to go to for advice is springhole.net. There's even a page about writing merfolk!

    http://springhole.net/writing/things...er-fiction.htm
    Thank you for sharing the advice.

    As soon as I get the chance, I'll share some of my own writing sources.

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  6. #6
    While I have not had a chance to buy and finish reading his books, I find his writing tips very helpful.

    http://www.danielarenson.com/FantasyWritingTips.aspx

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  7. #7
    A cliche that has always been a challenge to overcome is merfolk transformation. Nearly all, if not all, stories seem to have merfolk that become human.

    For example, The Little Mermaid, Splash, and the Thirteenth Year all set a standard in which someone who thinks they are human becomes a merperson or a merperson becomes human. This is seen in H20 and Mako Mermaids.

    I have read in stories something different, however. In a fictionpress story, a Merman lead character can have legs, but he has the physical characteristics of a fish. In another book in the Gates of Atlantis Series. A Merman gets pulled through a gate and into the human world on accident. He can shapeshift his tail into legs, but in the dry heat, his skin dries out and blisters. In another book series, Mer Tail, the merfolk can not get legs naturally. A wish must be made to a mermaid. In my story, enchanted accessories can allow a merperson to have legs, but their scales remain, and their feet are webbed and their ears retain the fins they have as a merperson.

    It does seem to be a challenge to write merfolk into a story, in which their are other races like dragons, sylphs, humans, and etc, that don't have some ability to go on land.

    Maybe the best way to combat this cliche is to have merfolk that can gain the ability to go on land without making them too human.

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Merman Dylan Zalrian View Post
    Maybe the best way to combat this cliche is to have merfolk that can gain the ability to go on land without making them too human.

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    I've been considering this! I'm currently outlining a fantasy story where in of the characters is a half-merman, so he has legs outside of water and a tail when submerged, which is nice for him because in this fantasy world there is a lot of discrimination against merfolk. Unfortunately, he gets a lot of stares and rude comments even when he's in his "human" form because he still looks really fish-like (webbed hands, fins on his arms, etc).



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  9. #9
    In my world, merfolk have illusion magic they can use to hide their fish like parts from humans that lack magical potential when they take on human form. In fact, only humans lack the ability to see through the illusion. However, some humans with the potential to use magic can see through it. In my story, an ancient conflict created a divide between the four major races. So, hiding from humans is essential.

    That being said, the only common reason a merperson would go on land in my story would be because they had to.

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Dragon View Post
    I've been considering this! I'm currently outlining a fantasy story where in of the characters is a half-merman, so he has legs outside of water and a tail when submerged, which is nice for him because in this fantasy world there is a lot of discrimination against merfolk. Unfortunately, he gets a lot of stares and rude comments even when he's in his "human" form because he still looks really fish-like (webbed hands, fins on his arms, etc).



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    I'd love to read it when it becomes available.

    Another part of the cliche that I've been hoping to overcome is the reason for transforming. I feel like a lot of merfolk stories involve a transformation to be with someone. Of course, a transformation implies a change from merfolk to human. I think the shape shifting route is better. I also have been trying to think of alternatives to why they would change their tails into something like legs.

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  11. #11
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Mermaid Kane's Avatar
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    I'm writing a story myself! I'm going a little non-traditional.

    *The meris (mermaid) in the story is a freshwater specimen, and lives alone.
    *The merrs in the story don't have the extravagant buildings and tools and beds that they do in most books, nor do they have values the same as humans.
    *THEY CAN'T TALK, THANK GODS. They sign with movements, or click and whistle. It's so DUMB when merrs talk underwater...
    *No transforming. At all.
    *No inter fresh/salt water merrs, lol.
    *Lots of merr-made words. xD



  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Kane View Post
    I'm writing a story myself! I'm going a little non-traditional.

    *The meris (mermaid) in the story is a freshwater specimen, and lives alone.
    *The merrs in the story don't have the extravagant buildings and tools and beds that they do in most books, nor do they have values the same as humans.
    *THEY CAN'T TALK, THANK GODS. They sign with movements, or click and whistle. It's so DUMB when merrs talk underwater...
    *No transforming. At all.
    *No inter fresh/salt water merrs, lol.
    *Lots of merr-made words. xD
    That's awesome. I like fantasy and fiction and magic, so for me, merfolk talking underwater and not 100% realistic based on science is fine for me. However, I can definitely appreciate the more realistic version of a merperson.

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  13. #13
    I think the cliche I'm most tired of is the one of teenage girls getting turned into mermaids. (Presumably because the majority of merfolk novels are YA. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but wow is there a lot of it). So I'm working on something where a Ship's engineer in his 30's gets turned into a merman when his ship sinks. Just to do something different.

    On the mer-into-human route, I went with the idea that merfolk are experts at making potions. One of which allows merfolk to grow legs when on land. Of course, it's not something that all merfolk choose to take. (And another bottle, of course, causes people become merfolk)

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  14. #14
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Mermaid Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exdraghunt View Post
    I think the cliche I'm most tired of is the one of teenage girls getting turned into mermaids.
    Yeah... PLEASE.

    Also don't like how people think mermaids would realistically never eat fish, and stop fishermen. Like, what the hecky? I'm pretty sure a mer's diet would consist of 50% fish, and the other half would be sea plants or fish eggs. Idk. And I'm not sure a real life mermaid would really care that much about fishermen the more people say. I think they'd care because it's less food for them, but who knows? Mermaids aren't real.



  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Kane View Post
    Also don't like how people think mermaids would realistically never eat fish, and stop fishermen. Like, what the hecky? I'm pretty sure a mer's diet would consist of 50% fish, and the other half would be sea plants or fish eggs. Idk. And I'm not sure a real life mermaid would really care that much about fishermen the more people say. I think they'd care because it's less food for them, but who knows? Mermaids aren't real.
    THANK YOU


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  16. #16
    Honestly, I think the whole "become a mermaid when you touch water" thing is overdone. There are people who can pull it off and make an amazing, unique story with it, but it still feels like whenever someone wants to make a mermaid series nowadays that's the first thought that comes to their mind, It's always the same technical stuff too: Due to some weird encounter, whenever three people touch any amount of water, they grow a tail until they dry off. There's little to no apparent side effects besides maybe powers. And somehow, they're able to successfully keep their secret for ages, despite the fact that they wouldn't be able to drink water or step out into the rain without transforming. Seeing new spins on stories is definitely a relief to me.
    "She dreams of the ocean late at night, and longs for the wild salt air."

  17. #17
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Mermaid Kane's Avatar
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    A party raft was slowly making its way downstream, loud music played, muffled by the water, and some people were obviously having a good time. The merr swam below it, too far to be seen, hoping for a few food scraps to fall by chance. Occasionally, a hand would reach into the water, playing around, or maybe a foot. People loved touching water.
    A small while passed, and no food scraps came. Cirrus was about to swim off to continue the search was she heard roaring. She suddenly remembers the rapids around the river's corner. Stress and panic filled her chest. If the party boat went down, the search people would come and mess everything up, maybe find evidence of the merrs' existence there, and try to catch some.
    Cirrus circled the craft a few times, seeing if anyone noticed the rapids and rocks ahead. Of course not. The meris lunges straight up, bumping the bottom of the boat. It tilts to one side slightly, and she hears the satisfying result of ''what was that'' 's . Then yelling. Someone went to the back, trying to fire up the motor, but it was already scraping the rocks that started to jut from the riverbed.
    Cirrus signed a cuss, and waited for disaster to strike. Maybe she could even just eat the people, and get something out of it.
    This is a part of what I've written. As you can see in the bold, Cirrus really doesn't care about the humans' health, only reasons that would effect her. It's simply more ''realistic'' and less cliche feeling.
    Last edited by Mermaid Kane; 09-01-2017 at 11:49 AM.



  18. #18
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Mermaid Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora Celestia View Post
    Honestly, I think the whole "become a mermaid when you touch water" thing is overdone.
    ''...''
    Seeing new spins on stories is definitely a relief to me.
    Agreed. Or stories where some girl goes to live with someone else near water, and discovers her parent(s) were mermaids, blah blah blah.



  19. #19
    Mermaid Kane, you have an awesome idea. It could use a bit of editing, but artwork is never finished. Keep up the awesome work.

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  20. #20
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Mermaid Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merman Dylan Zalrian View Post
    Mermaid Kane, you have an awesome idea. It could use a bit of editing, but artwork is never finished. Keep up the awesome work.

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    Thank you! And I am totally planning to change and edit things. It's at a draft stage. ^^''



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