Fantasy & Science Fiction Creature Development Questions

Questions to help you better think out and develop your fantasy and science fiction creatures. For more resources, check out the links at the bottom of the page.

  • If applicable, what did it evolve from? What is the creature’s total evolutionary history?
  • What environmental forces and pressures caused it to evolve into the form it has now?
  • What vestigial features does it have? What did its ancestors use them for in the past?
  • What tradeoffs has it made in its evolutionary history?
  • What might it evolve into in the near-ish future, given the general way things are currently going?
  • What does it eat? Does it have a wide diet, or a narrow one? How does it find food?
  • What does it prefer to eat? What kinds of things will it generally only eat in times of shortage?
  • What does it compete with for food, water, territory, and resources in general?
  • What impact does its behaviors have on the environment?
  • What creatures prey on it? Parasites? Large predators? Carrion feeders?
  • How does it defend itself against predators?
  • How does it hide or conceal itself when it needs to?
  • How has its prey (plant, animal, otherwise) developed to resist or defend against it?
  • How does it communicate with members of its own species? Members of other species?
  • How, when, and why does it interact with other members of its own species? What are its behaviors like when dealing with young? With adults?
  • If it's a social species, how do they structure and organize? Do all members breed, or are some members non-breeders that contribute to the group in other ways?
  • How does it reproduce? How often? How many offspring will it usually have at once? How many offspring will it usually have over the course of its lifetime?
  • How long does it take to reach reproductive age?
  • How long is its average lifespan? How long is its potential lifespan? How often do the creatures reach the end their potential lifespan, if they ever do?
  • If applicable, how does it let others know it’s ready to reproduce? What all do courtship and mating entail?
  • Does it look after its offspring at all? If so, how much, and for how long?
  • What is the mortality rate of its offspring? What percentage can be expected to reach adulthood?
  • What diseases does it most frequently suffer from? Which of these are the most dangerous?
  • What are its physical vulnerabilities? Which parts of its body are most prone to injury? Why?
  • What are the most common causes of death among its species? Why?
  • What are its strongest senses? What are its weakest senses? Why?
  • Which living species are most closely related to this species? What are they like? How do they differ?
  • If applicable, how do populations of this species differ across different geological locations, biomes, climates, etc.?

Also, you might find helpful:

Tips to Create Better & More Believable Fantasy & Science Fiction Species
Things Writers Should Know About Animal Behavior
Tricks & Tips For Creating Fantasy, Sci-Fi, & Other SF Names
Country & Culture Development Questions

External Resources

Evolution: 24 Myths And Misconceptions
Understanding Evolution @ Berkeley University
How To Create A Scientifically Plausible Alien Lifeform
The Desert Adaptations of Birds & Mammals
Antarctic Animal Adaptations
Winter Adaptations Of Animals
Rainforest Animal Adaptations

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