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June 20th, 2002, 03:13 AM
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?

June 20th, 2002, 03:37 AM
Well, Orwell's Animal Farm was never consideerd cute or kiddy like! I say go for it, myself.

June 20th, 2002, 02:39 PM
And Watership Down is not a children's book, either.

June 20th, 2002, 05:10 PM
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.

June 20th, 2002, 05:18 PM
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.

June 20th, 2002, 07:15 PM
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.

June 20th, 2002, 07:36 PM
Do not underestimate the furry creatures of the world for they can bite down hard.

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.

June 21st, 2002, 01:34 AM
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....


At least this is nice: a sounding board to ensure the ideas you're getting isn't too stupid-sounding. ;)

June 21st, 2002, 01:57 AM
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.

June 21st, 2002, 02:02 AM
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!