1. ydkmy
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    ydkmy New Member

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    Creative ways to describe a wolf

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ydkmy, Oct 31, 2014.

    Hello everyone ~ I'm trying to bring a wolf to life in a piece but I am having difficulty.
    I'm no creative writing vet so my terminology may be juvenile ~ but I really like to stylishly describe what I'm writing about. For example, a wolf could be described as having a "nose to the wind". I'm trying to think of other mystical ways to describe the simple actions a wolf might take, how it sees prey, anticipates danger, or physical aspects of it like claws and fangs. Anything that a wolf is or would do. Maybe even something it would "say". Things that deal with pack mentality. Thank you for your help!
     
  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    "Like a dog, only 40,000 years ago."
     
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  3. jonahmann
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    jonahmann Active Member

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    Opeth calls them "pest-ridden jackals of the Earth."
    Beat me to it.
     
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  4. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Watch Ceasar Milan - The Dog Whisperer
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Watch wolf videos on YouTube or wherever you can find them. Look at what they ACTUALLY do, not all the cliched fantasy stuff.

    Watch how they run, what they look at AS they run. How do they behave around others of their kind? What is their predatory stance when they see their prey? Trust me, nature has more imagination than any of us do. Learn from nature. Watch what happens with real wolves. You'll get so many ideas!

    If you're trying to generate ideas from your own head only, you'll only be able to work with what's already there. If you don't understand wolves, you can't really write about them, except in the most general and stereotyped way. Even if your wolves in your story have supernatural elements (why do I suspect that??? :)) you can do worse than watch the real McCoy in order to get ideas for how to describe them.
     
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  6. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    First: look at and study their behaviors. They have a severe pack mentality, and their body language is quite extensive. In my opinion it's not such a good idea to call a wolf anything more than what it is: a wolf. But i also use the word canine, and dog only if it is an insult. Using their rank: Alpha, Beta, Delta, then Omega (in that order!!), will work as well. My wolves are also not just ordinary wolves, however, so I have the ability to call them Shifters, or just by their names, as well as their rank in this kind of society (Alpha, Prince, General, Captain, Lieutenant, Guard, Raider, and Scout).

    Examples (from my kind of wolf's perspective):

    Batos's hackles rose, and his muzzle curled back to expose pearl-white fangs. Ears shoved forward, tail held high, he circled his opponent. Both wolves paced stiffly, tails lashing as they waited for the other to make a move. Batos kept his weight evenly on all four legs, aware of the treacherous nature of the snow they stalked upon. If he set his weight wrong when he pounced, he could end up slipping and provide the one fatal opening for the other wolf to win this fight.

    Atskio snapped his jaws in an attempt to startle him, but the growl in Batos's chest kept growing and he didn't even blink. Who was this Raider to challenge him? To think he could defeat a Prince, let alone the son of Arrcafah? The growl evolved, fluctuated, and with a howl Batos lunged.

    * * *

    The Scout cowered before Arrcafah, golden eyes wide, tail tucked in and ears flat. He was already small by Shifter standards -with long limbs and too big paws. But that was what made him good at what he did. It was another matter entirely for the Alpha to not kill him for delivering the news.

    Example (from an ordinary wolf's perspective):

    Farrow yawned and looked up just in time for the pups to come tumbling out of the den, as well as one exhausted Alpha. Wagging his tail but aware to keep it low, he stood and licked the bottom of her jaw in greeting. You look tired. How about I play with them so you can eat?

    The she-wolf nipped his ear and wagged her tail as well. Thank you Farrow. She barked. Just be sure none stray too far from the den.




    Overall, so long as the general behavior of a wolf is there, you can pull off any number of creative things with it. I would advise that you watch several wolf documentaries. They tell you a lot about information as to what wolves have gone through, what they can survive, and as to how they behave in grater detail. I could go in a very long-winded rant as to every little nuance of how they act, but I think it would be better for you if you learn them on your own, so your writing is a lot smoother because of it.


     
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  7. Shayla
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    Shayla Member

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    Thinking about senses can often help when describing things.

    What does a wolf look like is an obvious one I'll leave to you!

    But how would a wolf feel to touch? Think of every part of a wolf you would touch; his ears, nose, back, neck, stomach, how would they each feel different? Think textures!

    What does a wolf smell like? Alone and in a pack? Can you smell the last dinner they had on their breath, do they smell like the ground they lie in, do they smell of fresh fur or dirty matted coats?

    What do you hear from a wolf? When they walk through grass or through forests are they loud or silent movers? Can you hear them breathing? Can you hear a growl at the back of their throat as they walk on. You could even get detailed - hearing the flare of their noses as they smell their prey, hearing their fur stand on end, hearing their coats brush past the trunks of trees.

    What do they think? Are they alert or do they stroll freely?

    Finally taste... - I won't ask you to imagine what they would taste like but maybe imagine what it's like for them to taste. Does all food taste the same? Do they lap up their food in a few swift gulps or take slow pleasure in their eating. Are there teeth sharp and jagged and their tongues rough?

    Play and experiment! Making brainstorms may help!
     
  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    It's actually interesting that you bring this up, because most of the common themes or lycanthropic fiction are based entirely on complete bullshit.

    For a start the constantly aggressive behavior that so many werewolf novels copy comes from a study of wolves held in captivity in 1975. It's results were never replicated, and most wolf researchers will tell you that conflicts over dominance (not even fight's, just conflicts) are very rare, and are usually confined only to body language.

    Wolves don't fight over dominance, mates, or food.They cooperate in a much more complex and subtle way then even humans and dogs, and (especially) far more then dogs and dogs.

    Alpha wolves have no problem with sharing their food with an omega. Alpha dogs do. We did not want to breed dogs to cooperate with us, we wanted to breed dogs who would take orders. And so dogs by themselves turn into a ridgedly hierarchical group constantly fighting against itself. Feral dogs don't form packs, they can barely get along in a group of four or more. The idea that a wolf pack of twelve would behave in such a self destructive manner is ridiculous. The constant struggle for dominance would rip the group apart faster then Yoko Ono did the Beatles.

    Wolves are just like packs of humans really. They cooperate, they help each other altruistically, and if they get fed up with what's going on they don't fight about it, they just leave. Most packs have a fairly fluid membership and a wolf might belong to as many as four different packs in his lifetime. The desire to belong to a group is another thing we bred into dogs.
     
  9. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Didn't intend to say that wolves always act the way I portray them. In my novel they only act this way sometimes (that particular scene was one of a Raider challenging the prince, to try and gain Alpha rank without directly challenging Arrcafah) because, one, they aren't actual wolves, and two, there are no females. They reproduce through humans or Imirri, and the Shifter blood is simply dominant, creating only males who can turn into wolves roughly the size of a small horse, if not larger.

    (It's also another thign that Shifters respect power, and encourage that if you are strogn enough, that you should challenge and gain rank through fighting others higher in rank than yourself)

    Their numbers also are much more vast than your average wolf pack, averaging around one to two thousand. The entire Shifter population in my book is all grouped in one Fortress, and that confined space, combined with their numbers, causes much aggression. Their social hierarchy has one large overlaying idea to it, but the total number of Shifters is also split into several smaller packs among the more dominant Shifters. Say, the Alpha could control the entirety of their race, but the two princes each have differing numbers of Shifters who prefer to take their orders, and on down through the rankings it goes to generals, captains, and so on.

    They also get a thrill out of fighting, similar to the seyans in dragon ball Z.
     
  10. Stephen Paden
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    Stephen Paden Member

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    A dog that had rolled around in the mud and then ravaged through bags of salt and pepper.
     

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