1. Falconjudge
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    Falconjudge Member

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    Dinosaur story help

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Falconjudge, Jun 9, 2010.

    Well, about time I started seeking help instead of sitting on my ass.

    I'm intending to write a novel (a series of short stories online for practice and development first, though) involving Dinosaurs, but I appear to be quite stuck. To get a better picture of my issue, I should describe my setting, first...

    In year 1870, in the aftermath of the Civil War, strange things happened on Earth. Different Eras of history up to that point inexplicably merged together into one, changing the whole landscape, and changing the composition of the air, screwing with the weather systems. More than the weather, though, almost everyone with any kind of lung problem died in the new environment.

    Beyond that, strange creatures took the land from the current Fauna, and Dinosaurs moved in quickly. The story, almost all of it, takes place in Utah, 40 years after the catastrophe. American society has split drastically, and city-states and townships arose in place of the larger government after about 50% of the human population of the country died in the new air.

    The main character's name is Travis, and he is a hunter. His job is to make people feel safe by killing nearby dangerous animals living near towns. And... that's pretty much it.

    I've actually decided to offset the strange premise by playing it realistically; I've done a lot of research as to how dinosaurs lived, and where, and I've thought a lot about how the environment would be effected. For example, Beef is still popular, but it's far more expensive due to difficulties in transport, whereas sauropod and various herbivorous dinosaurs' meat is cheap, but rather bland and tough. Wolf packs have doubled in size to compete with packs of therapods, and bears have nearly become extinct.

    Herein lies the problem. I need conflict. The obvious is man vs. nature, but that will not work; realistically, dinosaurs are animals. They don't have some instinctive lust for human flesh, they would stick to their place, and humans to theirs, so the creatures wouldn't think one way or another about humans, since they're unknown and strange to them. They would only attack if afraid or desperate.

    So who do I use for the enemy? Who opposes the hero? I was thinking of maybe a monster-worshiping cult, but that seems stupid in a western setting. I need some human foe or problem...

    Also, names. What do humans call dinosaurs? Scientific names are out, they weren't decided on until the 20th century.

    I just need some help with deciding enemies, and what hicks would call certain kinds of dinosaurs...
     
  2. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    Well, as for what they would call the dinosaurs, it would probably be something descriptive of how the dinosaur looks or acts. Kind of like how the dinosaurs in Land Before Time referred to each other.
     
  3. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    Land before time-esque names are probably what the layman of the time would call a dino.

    You see something with three horns, what do you call it? Three horns. Three horned, triple horn, tri spike, something along those lines. Thats how the scientific names come about anyways. Triceratops? Three horned face. Tyrannosaurus? Tyrant Lizard. Velociraptor? Fast/speedy hunter/thief.


    As for conflict, the simplest would be territory, migration, feeding grounds, mating grounds, and watering holes.

    Carnivores would attack humans if they felt that their territory was being invaded. Migrating dinosaurs might need to migrate straight through a town. The town might reside right in the middle of a popular feeding grounds, attracting both large herds and predators. Same with watering holes. Mating grounds could also attract both herbivores and carnivores, but both would be much more aggressive.

    For a human enemy, a government type group could try to wipe out the dinos, which, being that they are some kind of food source, could stir up the towns people; maybe the hero learns that he really likes dinos. Maybe an opposing group of hunters comes to town, except they're more evilish or something.
     
  4. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Dinosaur means great lizard or something like that in Latin or Greek, idk which.

    Perhaps an impending civil war between the city-states of the fledgling human confederacy? Or some stronger, more established war-like empire birthed from the remnants of the former US military invade said confederacy. Sumtin lika dat.
     
  5. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    Or, should you decide to follow a wholly improbable, possibly racist, maybe hillarious, but definitely strange route, you could have a KKK-esque group who ride dinosaurs hunting down former slaves.
     
  6. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Nominated for book of the year.

    ........You could also make the main character perhaps end up with a pet DINO that he becomes quite attached to and then something happens that forces him to re-evaluate his profession and maybe he has to turn to killing people to save the dino population?

    Also, maybe not the KKK joke above, but dino-riding would be enjoyable to read about.
     
  7. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Or the hero's society is more or less at peace with the less-threatening dinosaur species, and hypothetical invaders seek to exterminate them all. The MC would then be fighting for beast and man. lalalalal blablabla
     
  8. Friday Redding
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    Friday Redding New Member

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    Just an idea, you could have the township that Travis lives in come under attack from perhaps some form of 'rebel' group, similar to raiders that attack townships and pillage, (and maybe they ride some dinosaurs to gain the upper hand?). The raiders could be attacking this particular village as it has something rare, or something they need, something valuable, anything really.

    Or you could have some semblance of the army wishing to take Travis' town as it is a strategic point and they wish to use it to gather some kind of resource or something, and they send the townspeople into dinosaur territory and Jack becomes somewhat of their leader and they start a guerilla war to retake their home?

    Mind you, these are all ideas I just came up with within the space of a few minutes... so...
     
  9. Falconjudge
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    Falconjudge Member

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    I like the "government crap" ideas, but I might have some trouble with a few of the others... While domesticating dinosaurs might be possible, it would require generations of breeding excessive aggression out, like with horses. This is 40 years after they showed up, too...

    Wanting to exterminate all dinosaurs in this setting is somewhat akin to destroying all mammals in our own; absolutely impossible. They are an integral part of the fauna.

    Being only 40 years after the event, I was thinking that in a slab of land like Utah, settlements would be few and far between, plus the relatively recent depopulation of the human race would add up to make serious threat of war unlikely at best... Not enough soldiers. And too much distance of treacherous landscape to march through.

    I didn't consider the slavery issue too much, though. Thank you, that could be interesting. But, I'm not really skilled or experienced enough to integrate such a huge moral and historical problem...

    Also, it should be noted that Travis already knows that dinosaurs are just animals- but killing them to quell fears in the common man is a nice way to earn a living.

    Anyways, thank you for all the feedback. The political aspect might work, I think... but I'm still not sure.
     

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