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  1. #1
    Lord Deceiver estranghero's Avatar
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    Wink just a quickie...!

    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. #2
    Keeping The Equilibrium Erebus's Avatar
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    Well, Orwell's Animal Farm was never consideerd cute or kiddy like! I say go for it, myself.

  3. #3
    mistress of pigeons Ladijen's Avatar
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    And Watership Down is not a children's book, either.

  4. #4
    Snazzy Dancer Alucard's Avatar
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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. #5
    Angellicus Halfus gabador's Avatar
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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. #6
    Eloquence & Inebriation Moderator
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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. #7
    Carmichael
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    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.

  8. #8
    Lord Deceiver estranghero's Avatar
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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 by estranghero; June 21st, 2002 at 12:37 AM.

  9. #9
    Eloquence & Inebriation Moderator
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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. #10
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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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. #11
    Barcelona! milamber_reborn's Avatar
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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. #12
    Cadfael
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    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. #13
    Witch of the Woods Miriamele's Avatar
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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. #14
    Angellicus Halfus gabador's Avatar
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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. #15
    Lord Deceiver estranghero's Avatar
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    Actually, Miri, I'm thinking of a fox.

    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.

    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.

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