1. Quabajazzi
    Offline

    Quabajazzi Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0

    How to go about Animal characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Quabajazzi, Jul 10, 2012.

    In the drawing board, I've considered on numerous times to transfer my characters between humanized animals (animals that can speak, wear some clothing, blah bla) and people (generalized, there can be wizards, mutated, and occasionally speaking animals, but generally a human world, apposed to an animal world). How do you react or go about both writing and reading animal characters? Say my character Johnny Black might be turned into a black or brown cat (obviously whatever animal suits him best, not some random thing), is it often a no no to write about animals in that way? I often see movies where you can have animals that act that way but it might just be my reading habits but I don't tend to see many modern books about it. Yes yes there is Beatrice Potter and all that, but that's more of a human and animal world; I'm looking into more just animals. I'd like any opinions or words of wisdom on the matter.
     
  2. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    The best suggestion I can think to make, is to seek out and read other books staffed by anthropomorphised animals. Brian Jacques' Redwall series of fantasy novels come to mind immediately, and I'm confident there are a great many more. But I wouldn't have said it was necessarily a "no no". It all comes down, really, to execution, and in that sense it will be invaluable to see how other authors have done it.
     
  3. Quabajazzi
    Offline

    Quabajazzi Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks I'll google it as soon as possible!
     
  4. Ettina
    Offline

    Ettina Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    18
    If they were transformed into an animal, they'll probably still be human - just a human in an animal's body.

    If they are actually animals, my advice is to research that species as much as possible and figure out how they think. You may still have to anthropomorphise their perspective a bit just because you're a human writing in human terms, but get into their world as much as possible. For example, a cat will think in terms of hunting and stalking. Movement draws their attention, and they truly enjoy hunting. In addition, since they're solitary creatures, social concepts like cooperation can be hard for them to grasp (my cat never expects one human to flush her out for another to grab, for example, we've done this plenty of times and she's always surprised by it). Obviously a lion would understand cooperation better than most cats, but they'll have other ideas they don't get.
     
  5. Mr Mr
    Offline

    Mr Mr Active Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2011
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    London, UK
    I agree with Banzai, Redwall (my fav series) does it brilliantly. The animals act just like humans, but retain all the characteristics of the animal they are. For example the watervoles in the book act like people doing things like farming etc but they live in dens in the sides of rivers. Or the badgers who are larger than any of the other animals.

    It all depends on what you feel most comfortable doing. You could always do both. Johnny might be turned into a cat and spend the rest of the book with animals that act like humans. Have you seen the cat returns? The girl in that gets turned into a cat and sent to the cat world where they act just like humans.
     
  6. Quabajazzi
    Offline

    Quabajazzi Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ettina it's not part of the story them turning into animals or not, it's just a drawing board concept I've been considering. I've always wanted to write animal characters and found that while people were probably more flexible for my genres in ways, they lacked a sort of likability. At least in my writing. Mr Mr I think I'll keep experimenting with scenes and snippets until I find a writing go that I like and can write consistently. It's actually lots of fun.
     
  7. Kaidonni
    Offline

    Kaidonni Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    9
    Watership Down, enough said. If you want to write anthropomorphised animals, reading that book is a must. You don't necessarily have to go to the extremes Richard Adams did - he kept true to actual rabbit behaviour - but the more you read of the books that have done it well, the better you will be able to write yours.
     

Share This Page