1. Tallandboring
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    Tallandboring Member

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    Different animals?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Tallandboring, Sep 17, 2011.

    How should I go about mentioning different animal species in my novel?
    Should I just refer to them by name and have that be that? Or would that be frustrating to the readers?

    If it helps, most animals aren't too different.
    There are Bullhawks (similar to an ostrich but a bit more bulky), Oksoars (Larger versions of yak), Synthedons (cow sized lizards), and Tigerwolves (orange wolves with black stripes).

    There are a few different animals though.
    There are these things called Rimwalkers (giant lizards with six spider like legs), and Skyraptors (a scaled down version of a dragon, i.e. no firebreathing, wings serve as front legs)

    Any insight is more than appreciated!
     
  2. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    Mention them by name. When you introduce them for the first time, give a brief description of what they look like. Incorporate your descriptions into their actions and your characters reactions upon seeing them. However, do not introduce animals just for the sake of having them in your story. Make them relevant to the plot rather than just as a "this would be cool if" moment.
     
  3. Tallandboring
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    Tallandboring Member

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    Yes, of course.
    The bullhawks are sort of used as horses, where as the oksoars pull heavy carts.
    Tigerwolves have an important role for a key scene, and rimwalkers have major roles throughout a certain section.
    Synthedons are only seen in the background, while skyraptors are only breifly mentioned.
     
  4. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    Weave their names and descriptions into your story. For example if one of your characters sees one put something like "Ahead I could see Oksoars roaming the valley, looking like masses of hair and horn" or somethin like that.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Slip in details naturally and in-passing in order to convey what they look like. Don't go on a huge infodump. With my characters, I'll insert mentions like "She pushed the sweaty strands of brown hair out of her face" in, say, a conversation scene or a scene where she's outside, and later mention eye color, etc.

    With non-human invented creatures, I'd imagine you'd need more work. With human characters, even if someone only knows a few details like eye and hair color, they can still imagine a person. Not so much with a fantasy creature that's totally new, so you'll have to put in more in-passing details, and earlier on in the story so the readers have a picture as they continue to read.

    Stay away from infodumps, though. Avoid long blocks of description whenever you can. Focus on the storytelling. :)
     
  6. chr0nic
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    chr0nic New Member

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    I agree- describe them well from the get-go, and then keep the description going when a scene involves them... at the moment I am (finally) reading the Harry Potter books. One of the characters, a Dementor, is mentioned at least once per book. Rowling describes it well (about its rotting flesh, the hovering movement etc.) but simply calls it by name for the rest of the book, though occasionally will throw in a sentence like "it reached its bony flesh arm out towards me" which helps to remind you of the image...

    And, to think of it, all her books seem to follow this protocol: being a fantasy book she creates a ton of new "things" and makes reference by name. Trust the readers. They are (hopefully) smart ;)
     
  7. Tallandboring
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    Tallandboring Member

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    Yeah, I know how bad info dumps can be
    I kept most the animals simple (tiger colored wolves, large shaggy beasts, large gray birds)
    The Rimwalkers are the troublesome ones to describe simply
     
  8. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    One thing that should be considered is whether the characters are seeing these creatures for the first time as well. If that's the case then you'll probably want to give a brief description. If it's something they'll be used to they won't pay as much attention to its appearance so it feels more natural if you simply work the descriptions in to the text more.
     
  9. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I'm a big believer of keeping things on a need to know basis in writing. No info dumps just info as needed.
     

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