Last time on the Making of ABC, I discussed the importance of following a breadcrumb trail of references back to its source. This implies a significant amount of scholarly research. But I don’t want to discount another major source of creature discovery; namely, serendipity*.
Sometimes you don’t find the creature, but it is the creature that finds you. And for creatures to find you, you have to do a lot of reading of books both digital and physical, a lot of exploring in libraries and bookstores old and new. And I’m not talking about online bookstores, I’m talking about brick-and-mortar, real-deal, honest-to-goodness secondhand bookstores where the wonderful scent of books hits you as soon you go in, and where you can spend long, happy hours finding things you never knew you needed. I have made a number of discoveries merely by reading, whether in my home, in libraries, or in bookstores**. Caspilly surfaced in an old Larousse book on the sea. The Swan Valley Monster lurked in a corner of a used bookstore in Pennsylvania. The dreaded Wheel of Balsaeg, the unspeakable Boongurunguru, and the vast Trolual and Ziphius were found for the first time in a children’s book of mythology. The list goes on.
In summary, I guess what I’m trying to say is
So next time you’re looking around in a bookstore full of books that nobody wants, you may yet find the next big thing. Who knows?