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  1. oTTo
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    oTTo Member

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    Are Animals Setting?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by oTTo, Dec 4, 2015.

    I wanted to introduce a character while they were on a mounted animal, either a horse or something created that is horse like. What is the rule of thumb for introducing animals? Did Tolkien ever explain horses on Middle Earth? Does it matter? Do I say horse even if I imagine something slightly genetically altered for a different planetary environment? Is this even setting? These horses or the like are part of the setting, the scene, but not characters themselves.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Yes, it is setting, and to my knowledge there is no rule of thumb. I just finished a book (The Rose Society) where the creatures people rode on weren't clearly described other than they flew, people rode them and they were a wild species when not tamed by humans. It didn't detract too much from the story not having a clear picture of them.

    Horses and dragons are common in fantasy. I would think in a sci-fi story on another planet they should be a little different to make the world more interesting. But it all depends on what the story calls for.
     
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  3. peachalulu
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    I agree with Ginger especially given the type of story. The animals aren't just pets they're transportation kinda like a jeep in a modern novel. Unless the character has some affinity to the horse and calls it by name I'd treat it like background info.
     
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  4. oTTo
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    Great points. I guess it is me. I think to myself, before I type that the character climbs onto a horse, how did this animal get here? This planet isn't Earth, it isn't near Earth, it is still our "universe" (basically). So realistically, how does my character have this animal?

    Then I am here, wondering do I say he mounted a horse or that he clambered atop his mount and with a click of a command strode off? I think you are both right, a little less unless the animal is a real part of the story. Right now it is just about transportation, and I am thinking I will just say horse to save time of creating a new species.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    If it's another planet where this animal evolved, just give it a different name but write the scene as if it were a horse. Readers will figure it out.
     
  6. oTTo
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    The mare stood at the crest of the hill, head down in a patch of clover. Her purple mane blew in the wind, sparkling with hints of amber and gold. In the distance, a sound. The mare's eyes stand on end, and her head rises quickly to scan in that direction.

    Something like that you mean? Similar vernacular as I would a horse, but obvious differences?
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    Yeah, like that. :agreed:
     
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  8. BayView
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    How did your characters get there? Are they humans?

    This all goes into world-building, I'd say. You know the evolutionary history of your planet, at least roughly, so you know whether species (including humans) are native or introduced. If introduced, horses are no problem. If native - I'd worry more about your humans being human than your equines being equine.

    But maybe your humans are introduced b/c they are colonists who didn't bring horses?

    In that case, for me, I'd want to understand the ecosystem. Why did horses evolve the way they did on Earth? Were there similar conditions on your planet that would have led to similar animals evolving there? If so, great. But if you present me with a perma-frozen planet and tell me there's something similar to horses naturally living there, I'm going to have trouble believing it.
     
  9. oTTo
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    In the far future humans will extend our glorious civilization out to the stars. When possible I believe man will colonize other worlds. With us we would bring what we know will help, as well as adapt what is present. Given time, things can always go wrong. Suddenly we leap ahead generations, our glorious civilization isn't so glorious anymore and worlds are all over that know nothing of humans elsewhere. Leaves enough to the reader, leaves enough for later.
     
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  10. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    If your story was in the here and now would you spend a lot of time explaining and describing how a car, motorbike, or horse looks and works?

    For the reader to have faith in your tale/world then you have to have believe in it, and treat it as accepted. Perhaps your MC can wax lyrical on how superior their mounts' musculature/extra wings/blue colouration is to what was available when they were a kid.
     

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