Coats of a Different Kind

Starling 12
2 min readApr 17, 2021

Idea: Power

Genre: Fantasy/Urban Legend

Pitch: There is a reoccurring theme in ancient myths; form-changing coats. Of swans that shed their feathers and become human, of foxes that shift their fur, and seals that transform into people. The seals specifically are called Selkies, and are particularly known for wearing coats that make them seals, while having a human body underneath. In their tradition legends, the Selkies may decide to hide away their selkskin to live as a human. Or, in other circumstances, their selkskin is stolen, and they are usually tied to the thief until they regain the skin somehow.

Despite the flexibility of this legend, it is tragically underused today. Transformation, alternate forms, and power-ups are certainly a popular trope, but it is not often that they are tied to a coat. Or that this coat could be used to control them if it fell into the wrong hands. This has a lot of potential for writers. And the transformation doesn’t have to be one of the animals of legend; it could be any creature, mythical or fantastical.

Of course, since the coat is such a vulnerability, the character would have to keep it a secret. They would often be on the run and keeping secrets from villains who want to catch their coats and use their power. And so long as the Selkie-creature is separated from their coat (which must happen in order to keep it hidden), they are stuck in a vulnerable human form. And, as in many popular stories today, they live a double life as a human and some form of animal, loving both. It is a rough balance, but a story with this kind of character would slowly come to discover their priorities and identity.

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