just a quickie...!

Discussion in 'Writing' started by estranghero, Jun 20, 2002.

  1. estranghero

    estranghero Lord Deceiver

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    Just a question to all you writers out there on concept-creation.

    I have an idea of using animals as characters in a story but I'm somewhat wary of using this idea since talking animals are normally regarded as kiddie fare.

    The idea I'm thinking of are talking animals walking and acting like humans (like the rat-priests in Mary Gentle's "Rats and Gargoyle") including humans' bad habits, i.e. killing, gluttony, etc.

    However, I'm afraid that readers will think of "cute and cuddly" when they read my animal characters, like Brian Jacques' 'Redwall' novels.

    What do you think? Is it possible to develop this idea?
     
  2. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    Well, Orwell's Animal Farm was never consideerd cute or kiddy like! I say go for it, myself.
     
  3. Ladijen

    Ladijen mistress of pigeons

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    And Watership Down is not a children's book, either.
     
  4. Alucard

    Alucard Snazzy Dancer

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    It's all in how it's done. If it's written in a juvenile manner, then it will be recieved as such. But if you have a deep, well thought-out, thought provoking novel and it just happens to have animals as the main characters, it will work fine. But you may be a little more pressured to make sure it isn't mistaken as a kids book if you use this theme.
     
  5. gabador

    gabador Angellicus Halfus

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    Creatures that walk on four legs are not considered intelligent at all. But why aren't they?I have animals as some of my characters, I created them, and they are nearly indestructible(they're the baddies) but they are also intelligent. So don't use fluffy bunnies, but vicious, intelligent creatures as those characters. Or honourable, clever ones.
    I think it would be fun to read about them.
     
  6. enazwo

    enazwo Eloquence & Inebriation

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    Sir Gabador
    In reference to your not using fluffy bunnies, I must remind of you of the formiddable creature the heros face in Monty Python's The Holy Grail. If I recall correctly it required the use of the medeval equivalent of the atomic bomb, the Holy Hand Grenade.

    Do not underestimate the furry creatures of the world for they can bite down hard.
     
  7. Carmichael

    Carmichael Guest

    That's no lie. The rabbit I owned when I was a teenager got upset one day when I was trying to feed the little idiot and bit my hand. *&^%^$#!@##$^$%
    Needless to say, it blippin hurt. I've had dog bites and the occasional knife wound that didn't hurt that bad.
     
  8. estranghero

    estranghero Lord Deceiver

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    Thanks people. :)

    I know it can be done. Heck, I just keep reminding myself of Gentle's 'rat priests' and know it can be done. And then a mouse all dressed up like a monk and speaking with a Scottish accent comes waltzing in my brain....

    *sigh*

    At least this is nice: a sounding board to ensure the ideas you're getting isn't too stupid-sounding. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2002
  9. enazwo

    enazwo Eloquence & Inebriation

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    You may also want to have look see at Tad Williams " Tailchaser's Song", it should give you even more confidence it your creative ideas.
     
  10. Radthorne

    Radthorne Keeper of the Hikari

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    I writer I would recommend looking into is Diane Duane. In a number of her books she has anthropomorphized animals or aliens exceptionally well. I used her style as the model for my own sentient animals. The underlying key is to treat them like any other character, with feelings, emotions, backstory, etc. Then the reader will believe in them just as much as they do for what are, after all, "imaginary" human characters.

    My favorite Diane Duane book is a Star Trek one (forgot the title, sorry) in which she has a Horta as one of her characters. For those of you who don't know, a Horta is a rock creature: no limbs, no face (it used telepathic communication). Diane managed to bring this character to life, using essentially nothing at all but dialogue. Now that's talent!
     
  11. milamber_reborn

    milamber_reborn Barcelona!

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    Go to this community with some members from sffworld -

    http://communities.msn.com/thewritersassociation

    Look for Cinderfall in The Private Stock section. It's a clever short story by Penumbra with Reptilian characters in a murder mystery setting.
     
  12. Cadfael

    Cadfael Guest

    Sure it can be done... take a look at William Horwood's Duncton series of books... definitely not in the CS Lewis school of fluffy animals. This was actually about Moles, how more fluffy do you want... but the series does work...

    He also did it gain with other books The Stonor Eagles, Callanish, and The Wolves of Time.

    As regards the 'fuffy bunnie' characters... Watership Down has alrady been mentioned, I am thinking more specifically about the Bigwig character... stupid name, but that bunnie was as hard as nails... a warrior.
     
  13. Miriamele

    Miriamele Witch of the Woods

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    Like enazwo said, check out Tailchaiser's Song by Tad Williams. All the characters in that book are animals (living like animals, they don't wear clothes or anything) but it's a very good story and might give you some ideas.

    I thought it was an enjoyable book, although you might not like it if you don't like cats. What kind of animals were you thinking of putting into your story?
     
  14. gabador

    gabador Angellicus Halfus

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    For some reason, I don't reckon redwall is very childish. Each one of the animal characters have a different style, accent, look, personality. So all you got to remember that animals are not the same as humans, and give them more instinct, and less intelligence. And just look at tarzan. How well did he pull off the animal characters? Just remember not to give them too many human characteristics...
     
  15. estranghero

    estranghero Lord Deceiver

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    Actually, Miri, I'm thinking of a fox. :D

    That's right, a fox. I'm revising a story I did for the group workshop on this forum and one idea I had was introducing animals as characters in the story. Kinda like animals on 2 legs interacting with people in a renaissance Italy setting or a fox wearing a musketeer's uniform. And I'm generally keeping the 'changed' animals to predators so my characters won't feel too guilty about eating their animal brethen. :p

    Funny enough, the suggestion of William's "Tailchaser's Song" is a strong suggestion of that fear I mentioned, i.e. that of 'cute and cuddly' animal stories. I guess I was kinda put off by the idea of cute, furry animals as the main protagonists (even though William's MS&T remains one of my most beloved fantasy series ever).

    I'm a bad person, I know. :(
     
  16. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    Sounds like a "furry" story.

    There is quite a "cult" of this type of writing about human shaped animals.

    A lot of magazines both with graphics and without.

    United Publications and Shanda Fantasy Arts are a couple that spring to mind

    A friend of mine writes these type of stories, for both adults and children.
     
  17. Miriamele

    Miriamele Witch of the Woods

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    I didn't think Tailchaser's Song was overly cute and cuddly.

    A fox sounds good though. Foxes seem to have a lot of personality as animals go. And wearing a musketeer uniform...I'm sorry but I have to say it--that's cute. But you can't entirely avoid of little bit of cuteness when animals are involved. It's just the images the story creates in the reader's mind. Maybe cuteness isn't the right word--whimsy, charm, maybe? That isn't all bad though.

    Are you going to post the story on here when it's done? I look forward to reading it.
     
  18. estranghero

    estranghero Lord Deceiver

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    I'm actually impressed by Jacques' different accents as he supposedly knows 'em real well and can speak a lot of them coming from England. And I actually read the 1st three books so I know how he writes. But still...

    Exactly. And with this connotation comes the idea that it's children's stories. Well, for me anyway.

    I wish I could post a picture of a fox-musketeer I did for kicks on this site, nothing great, kinda crude since I used only Paint. But it gets my point across that animals in human clothing look... 'cute'.

    P.S. Hey Holbrook, what kind of cult? :)
     
  19. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    Go here and have a look it explains the whole thing...

    http://www.furry.com/links.html

    in fact this one might be better to explain the "cult" thing

    http://www.confurence.com/

    Also this one

    http://www.furryinfo.org/


    My friend is a talented writer and historian and was getting no where with his stories with "human characters" He changed them to furry's and bam! He sold. Each of his animal characters has the nature of the animal etc but act like "normal" fantasy characters.....

    Strange what is out there...............
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2002
  20. Shanoncia

    Shanoncia The Last Druid

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    I thought that Brain Jaques Redwall series was quite brilliant actually, but I must confess I read it at a slightly younger age. I think writing a story like this isn't a question of having good enough skills as a writer to present the animal characters in a manor that one could take quite seriously, but being able to overcome the pessimism and stereotypes a basic audiance, or group of readers might possess.It might be the truth that you can't judge a book by it's cover, but the sad thing is most people do. If your heart is in it, go for it! But just be prepared to face promotional problems. GOOD LUCK !!! :D