Okay, so I recently introduced a new character into my current Work in Progress novel. And yes, it is based on the often overlooked creature that is the cuttlefish. Why did I look to this rather simple animal for inspiration, you ask? Well, several reasons actually, but I guess the most prosaic would be because I like how they look.
I’m sure we’ve all seen one in some form in our lives – either on TV or at an aquarium. They move effortlessly, with a rippling motion to their small bodies that mirrors the sway of the ocean. The fronds at the front of their faces flow and mischievously prod, and their giant eyes portray a staring intellect. They are gems of the seas, delicate and beautiful creatures that have extremely high intelligence and use such natural gadgetry as camouflage and sight that can see both in front and behind simultaneously. Awesome then, correct?
So…to my character. I do not want to give too much away, but the Indigo Cuttle melds cuttle and humanoid into a fragmented and sinister whole. It utilises bio-luminescence on its body, which mirrors its moods and gives a stark visual picture to all around as to its changing power. It also exists both in space and deep underwater. There, Lovecraft’s obvious influence comes in. This thing is an ancient, slumbering demigod – one with a complex code of honour and secrets that even the (powerful) protagonist cannot decipher. It also sits on a spinning celestial throne (Thanos, anyone?) and converses with lesser beings when it pleases.
What have I done to our beloved cuttlefish? Well, I have used it as a starting point visually and plucked some of its cooler aspects into my Indigo Cuttle. Its high, animal intelligence is definitely something I wished to keep. The ‘tentacled’ mouth was another, as was the intermittent light shows on its flanks and legs. It all reeks of alienness (hell, cuttlefish have green-blue blood for heaven’s sake!), but alienness doused in the natural world. The dichotomy was perfect for this particular character. The costume of cuttlefish fit like a glove.
So…all hail the humble cuttlefish. I hope I do this small cephalopod justice in the final novel!