Shelt Taxonomy! Now with Pictures!


People often take a while to acclimate to Panamindorah, and the biggest complaint is that they are confused by all the different species of shelts. Over the years, I have tried numerous ways of explaining the appearance and relationships of shelt species in my fiction, but some period of confusion seems unavoidable.

Most of my humanoid species are not "stock," meaning that they don't come off a shelf of pre-fab fantasy species. Elves, dwarves, vampires, and werewolves are examples of stock species that I don't use at all. Fauns, pegasus, centaurs, and griffins are stock species that I do use. Every author tweaks their stock species a little bit, but the moment you say the creature's name, the reader has a basic idea of what it looks like and how it functions.

Shelts are not stock species. Grishnards, shavier, leons, leopons, and ocelons are not stock species. The fact that they are all built on a similar platform and are taxonomically related to each other in logical ways isn't enough to stop some readers from feeling deeply baffled for the first half of the first Panamindorah book they encounter.

People who cannot tollerate that period of confusion leave my stories, and that's OK. My stories are not for everyone. However, I am always looking for ways to make this period of adjustment more tollerable for new readers. To that end, I recently had my lovely artist, Sarah Cloutier, make me a shelt taxonomy chart, showing how the fauns, nauns, and panauns break down - basically an evolutionary flow chart. I plan to put this in all the Cowry Catchers ebooks shortly and possibly in the next edition of the paper books.

What do you think? Does that help? Click to embiggen!