According to Wickipedia on birds, “The scientific consensus is that birds are a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved during the Mesozoic Era…Fossil evidence also demonstrates that birds and dinosaurs shared features such as hollow, pneumatized bones, gastroliths in the digestive system, nest building and brooding behaviors.” As well as Wickipedia on fish, “The evolution of fish began about 530 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion. Early fish from the fossil record are represented by a group of small, jawless, armoured fish known as ostracoderms.” This tells me the chickenfish has been around a bazillion years, has a beak not a jaw, is covered in feathers over armour plating, enjoys the benefit of a gizzard, clucks, builds nests, swims and fails at flying when falling off a cliff but is okay when it crashes into the ocean. I haven’t a clue why such an odd creature has a saga, but it must because it says so on my awake-dream list. I also could have been dreaming about a television commercial re-run starring Charlie the Tuna tasting like chicken. Either way, the chickenfish did not come into existence without thorough research.
Research is what makes the outlandish believable in a novel. Would Christine be as scary without Stephen King researching a 1958 four-door Red Plymouth Fury with the shiny chrome grill of a grimacing monster, wide white wall tires, double headlights and an engine revving to the tune of a demon’s growl? Would Lee Child’s brain child Jack Reacher be such a compelling and engaging character if he were not handsome, six-foot-four, blue eyed, homeless, ex-military policeman with commitment issues for clothes and people, a savior complex, battle scars, serious fighting skills and a folding tooth brush? I think not.
In a chickenfishes egg, if I want to make up a chickenfish with a saga and make it believable, all I have to do is start googling. Research is the key to making a novel believable and spell-binding even if there is a chickenfish trying to come to life in the pages.